Los Angeles based Darkwave project L, one half of the duo Famblood, is the guise of musician Lynette Ríos Padilla, an artist who spans genres with her love for 1980s synth music, and theatrical and iconic stage personas.
Her music is more than just EBM, Industrial, and Darkwave, but yet unapologetically reconstructs the pop elements of her heroes and idols, through the lens of her experiences as a dark electronic artist in the LA area.
We spoke with L recently on what truly inspires her music, the differences between her two projects, and her relationship with the local label Crunch Pod.
But first, watch L’s video for “Pend”, a track from her debut solo album Discipline, which came out earlier this summer.
What is the difference between the artistic visions between Famblood and L?
L: Famblood is a cousin duo music project based in Southern California that focuses on creating electronic music within the darkwave, synthpunk, and EBM genres. The instruments mainly used are the recent Korgs, the Roland Tr8S tools along with various other virtual instruments that collaboratively create Famblood’s original sound/aesthetic. Some of the groups that inspired Famblood are Boy Harsher, ADULT., and Lebanon Hanover.
With this L project, the influences portray a deeper study into my past idols. At age 16, I went through a heavy Joan Jett phase and started learning about artists I believed were the masters of music, such as David Bowie, Klaus Nomi, Steve Strange, Pete Burns, and Madonna. Most of these artists have certain identifying traits illustrated through their music production. Their established ways of creating music is the example I am aspired to follow. The elements that intrigue me most are their music / artistic vision, clothes and stage presence. For L’s album, “Discipline”, the music styles chosen are EBM, Industrial, and Darkwave. The objective for L and this album is to celebrate the birth of a new artist in the dark electronic scene of Los Angeles.
As for both bands, the objectives are aligned; to be known—to go on tour and share our existence with the world, to continue to grow as artists, and connect with others on and off the stage.
Are you utilizing different methods between the two projects to create music?
L: Yes. The difference is really how I work with people. For Famblood, I work with my cousin. The relationship is mutual and we know now how to mold the clay by drawing from our own inspirations, and consistently following the next set of steps that we have developed over time. I usually start with my iPad, where I create a balanced structure, solid tempo, chorus, bridges, verses, done. Then, I would sit with Sam and discuss transferring the parts to the gear. During that process, we discuss sound design and ensemble balance. Lyrics are then explored before final vocal recording. Following this clear-cut process is a routine essential to Famblood.
For L though, I work with Karloz a bit differently. I wanted Karloz to really take his solid Manufactura style and elevate it, using what I had brought to the table, and honestly, I am really happy with the way it turned out. Some of the songs I had finished drafting before I had met Karloz were “The End” and “Fist 2 Fist (instrumental)” They’ve been in my back pocket for some time. I felt I had to finish a set of songs with him to legitimize L, but most importantly to really make the album as impactful as its potential allowed. I wanted each song at a level beyond I have ever pushed myself to be as a musician. I knew that bringing Karloz into the project would help solidify this L ensemble and overall production. Karloz and I would break down the songs and strategize approximately how much time it would take to develop each song while staying true to our inspiration and album theme every step of the way. I would send him the stems and we would go from there, I would endlessly write lyrics on my bed from 11 pm-3 am (usually the best time for my creative juices), and begin exploring verses and my own vocal styles once Karloz had sent demos. From beginning to end, I was being considerate of my audiences wanting to fit in the dark dance floors, belonging to the goth scene, but I also desired to stay my most true self behind the mic.
We hear echoes of Industrial EBM experimentalism such as found in the catalog of Australian Act SPK. Where are you drawing your influences from? Legacy Acts? Peers and contemporaries?
L: SPK is an interesting group, I can see why you say that, there are some instruments used by them that definitely remind me of Discipline. Although my inspirations are kind of wide, some of my current inspirations are High-Functioning Flesh, Kontravoid, Front 242, Boy Harsher, Nitzer Ebb, and ADULT. As far as vocals, I experiment with clashing melodic and aggressive vocals combined. I think there is something rich about a woman’s tenor voice, creating chilling melodies and disturbing them with aggressive vocals creates a new mixture of feelings in my songs. These aggressive vocals developed when I pulled the nerve to start yelling more after watching a lot of artists like Joan Jett, Douglas McCarthy, and Richard 23. Although it was uncomfortable at first to be yelling in my room often, the more I grew accustomed the more the rhythm in my yelling would develop. The more I work on them even today, the more I feel comfortable and it empowers me, taking over me on the stage to unleash this aggressive side of me…
There have been a few Famblood shows I’ve come across where I was being called the Darkwave Madonna. Probably an overstatement haha. Although I don’t create pop music, I can understand the trait. I picked up the Confessions On A Dancefloor + Like A Virgin albums at 13 and there are some music production elements to this day I am completely blown away by. On stage presence, I once saw Front 242 and they brought the most energy I’ve felt in a long time, and I’m really driven by that. Much like Kontravoid and Boy Harsher, I really admire their minimal gear, through solid light staging and overall performance. I strive for that. I strive for excellence, and more.
Are there other sources besides music that you draw inspiration sonically?
L: The core inspirations in my music are definitely from personal experiences and late-night deep thoughts. I keep a dream/bullshit journal and write whatever keeps me up. Sometimes the inspiration comes from someone just coexisting. Sometimes they’re from dreams and personal experiences. With Famblood, I try to remain consistent with our theme, bringing back to our Mexican culture roots but overall I can pretty much vibe with my cousin and the production runs itself.
What themes are you exploring through your lyrics? What kind of Discipline, so to speak?
L: The theme Discipline was chosen mainly as a self-reminder to keep striving for what I want, and hope this message connects to anyone who is trying to find their purpose and motivation in their life. This would be the nudge, or the wake-up call album. I would dedicate this to the ones struggling but working their asses off. To me, this album is firing the torch to keep my bum lit, to keep growing and learning as an emerging artist, to remain hungry, and curious towards my artistry. Some of the songs carry out this message in various yet relatable ways. Whether it be with romance, or self-worth, or as an American civilian, I take the fundamentals of what defines discipline while mixing them with my deepest thoughts, expressing myself through the journey of album production, the duality of my identity really presents itself.
Can you tell us how this project started, and your work with Crunch Pod, and Karloz M. of Manufactura?
L: The idea of L initially came from a back cover sketch summer of 2017, it wasn’t anything tangible, just my daydreams taking over through sketches of my setup, my clothes, logos, etc. It wasn’t a huge priority at the time, but every little daily thought was added and soon elements started to pile up, so I began to sort this first album theme. I felt comfortable enough to share these thoughts with another person who can help me produce, I met Karloz Manufactura through a friend of mine who was DJing at the Lash in DTLA, Josh McVety from Mellow Code and I had wrapped up a collaboration album called Body Cuerpo summer of 2018. I was also wrapping up my debut album with Famblood at the time.
One October evening at Josh’s apartment, we were getting our makeup done and shooting for the album art. Karloz showed up to check out what we were doing, right then and there I met him and showed him the work with Famblood. Within the month, Famblood had been included in the Crunch Pod music family. Karloz made a killer remix of “DNA” and the production and sound was definitely close to what I was looking for “L”. I knew from then I just had to ask him to properly guide me and help me co-produce this Discipline album. Starting in early 2020, he and I strategized how we would tackle the album in order to release it by June. I focused on songs at certain times by breaking them apart and by April, we released “PEND”, squeezing in a music video release the same day as well as sharing the song to promoters to officially launch L into the world.
There are some synth-pop elements too. Almost as if this was recorded at Hansa Studios in the mid-80s. What do you think of the relationship between industrial, EBM, and Synthpop? Do they overlap, or are they mutually exclusive in your opinion?
L: I think the relationship between EBM, Industrial, and Synthpop has been minimally explored thus far. Those elements together can create various amounts of blended styles, taking elements from artists like early Ministry and Spetsnaz, Nitzer Ebb, they are aggressive like most of “L” is. I brought on melodic vocals to blend in with this edgy sound. I would say the sounds are exclusive but some synth-pop elements have been able to blend nicely.
I think that’s the exciting part. The main reason I am going down this route is that I believe these styles can be pushed a little further. I was very heavily influenced by the whole Wax Trax! Sounds, I feel that my take on those 3 styles for this project really has caught some attention on the dark dancefloors and promoters. I wish for this style of music to be heard more, and accepted by many wide audiences.
Upcoming L Livestream shows on Twitch:
- November TBD – Strict Tempo
- December 19th – Festival Luna Negra
Order L’s recently released album Discipline here.