As if whispered from the lips of ancient goddesses, there’s a power, primal and deep, stirring from within – the Kundalini awakening, some might say. It’s a serpentine energy, coiled at the base, yearning to rise, to dance, to unfurl. When it moves, it’s as if the very stars themselves realign, celebrating the strength and grace intrinsic to feminine power. This energy whirls into a symphony; a raucous rebellion, a radiant force. It’s the universe, winking and nodding, reminding every woman of the divine spark she carries within.
This Mexican-American maven of music is known only by the mysterious moniker L, which admittedly embodies a multitude. L…Latina. Loud. Leader. Limitless. Liberated….Lynette. Lynette Ríos Padilla, that is: composer, producer, and songwriter. (And surfer.)
With a voice that’s both hauntingly melodic and fiercely stark, L weaves an intoxicating spell drenched in solitude, flights of fancy, and those little confessions that one whispers only in dimly-lit corners. Although diminutive in stature, do not be fooled: L is a formidable force of nature, clad in the armour of a warrior, wielding a whip; her unflinching eyes hidden behind dark lenses and the shade of her signature ‘CowDom’ hat.
This daring dame is ready to snatch what she wants without a hint of regret. In L’s cinematic display, there’s a boisterous celebration of all things womanly, a rise of something deeply primal, and a sultry defiance of societal shackles. She’s making it clear: the feminine divine, in all shapes and whims, is a delight waiting to be relished; the decadent Bacchanal always there for our taking, no matter the murmurs of the masses or the chatterboxes online.
In this exclusive interview with Post-Punk.com, L weighs in on her unique perspective as a Latina in the dark electronic scene, what fuels her songwriting and video themes, and much more.
Your music seamlessly integrates elements of darkwave, industrial, and EBM. What influenced your decision to bring these genres together?
These genres have felt like home since my adolescence; listening to alot of classic dark synth acts like Visage, Dead or Alive, and Depeche Mode. Over the last five years I dove head first, and quite frankly, head over heels into Boy Harsher, ADULT and Lebanon Hanover. In terms of Industrial and EBM, I also grew up with a heavy dosage of Front 242, Nitzer Ebb, DAF, and Funker Vogt. All of these musical elements from these artists have intertwined and inspired my music to foster the current sound of L.
I have a rather observant side, yet, assertive side. I like to spiritually fulfill both aspects of my personality by delivering a blend of these genres to better describe how I feel as an artist and to provide a sense of human connection. These genres are the most comfortable to me, and have influenced me to compose similar instrumental elements together over the years along with my developing vocal craftsmanship.
How do these genres embody the spirit of L in the dark electronic scene? And has the underground dark electronic scene shaped or influenced the sound and ethos of L?
Meeting and connecting with underground electronic artists in the dark electronic scene has kept me inspired. Being in the presence of like-minded artists is truly a gift to soak up and admire artistry within the dark electronic scene. Most importantly, I’ve felt grateful with the sound I’m producing, and blessed to find and fall into such a welcoming community of creatives. This project has evolved over the last couple years by not only being involved in the underground music scene, but also understanding other artists’ musical traits; it helps me understand how my sound coexists with the rest of the talent pool. A lot of people over the years have approached me expressing that I really bring a refreshing sound with signature classic EBM traits. There is a lot of Minimal Darkwave, Italo EBM, and Synthpop in the mix here these days. I greatly enjoy the diversity of the genres because allows me to flesh out individually and highlight myself by emphasizing classic EBM with modern Darkwave elements.
There has been a massive surge in darkwave, EBM and goth music from the Latino community. Does this genre resonate with your identity as a female Mexican-American artist?
As a Mexican-American, it feels good to be able to deeply connect in an alternative musical genre. It feels like home. A huge chunk of the Latino community in and out of the States has always been very dedicated to the goth music scene, and I think the reason why is we as a culture have embraced the dead, the odd, and the outcasts for many generations. Traditions like Day of the Dead, Santa Muerte, etc are essential to what makes such a rich culture for us, and sharing this music taste with our culture is what makes everything worthwhile. It gives us a sense of belonging. A sense of comfort, and in my case, safety yet freedom in my voice.
Your music highlights a strong juxtaposition between haunting, almost gentle melodies and intense aggression. This is also reflected in the symbolic armour that you wear: the rubber vests, the spikes, the cowgirl hat, the whip. What does all of this represent to you as an artist?
The physical embodiment of L not only reflects on the music instrumentation, but also the artistic vision for wardrobe. For the LONESTAR tour held just a few weeks ago, I dedicated myself to perform two sets back-to-back. One set in one city, and then onto the next city with the other set. Not only to keep myself on my toes throughout the tour as a performer, but to understand the dichotomy of L; like a true Gemini, there are 2 sides of L. A gentle melodic side, but also a raw aggression that needs to be released.
The armour style outfit (heavy-weighted material from OMORPHO) is an adherence to the genre of EBM. Paying tribute to Front 242, their outfits contain sports armour and are nonetheless an inspiration to personal joys of body music.
The CowDom outfit is a reflection of my LONESTAR chapter as an artist in order to highlight this specific era of L. The outfit is originally worn in the “LONESTAR” music video coming full circle, being worn on stage during the tour. The whip was an absolute sensation for the audiences around the states. The whip is a symbol of one’s gained control of their life.
Your songs touch upon themes of loneliness, fantasy, and deeply personal confessions. What drives you to explore these often vulnerable aspects of the human experience in your music?
I treat my lyrics like a personal diary. There are some things that I need to let out… and although I keep these thoughts within these dark themes, they are oh, so relatable. The translation from inner desires to personal lessons are so valuable to me. Sharing these thoughts to the world is by far the most vulnerable thing I’ve done in my life apart from sharing my flesh with someone else. The positive feedback I receive from fans telling me my lyrics have saved them from their troubles is one of my main goals. Human connection through L is extremely important to me. This goth scene is dark, morbid, and cold. It’s perfect for me to share what I truly feel and let others know they’re not alone.
“Bodyheat” paints a vivid picture of passion and longing. What inspired you to tackle the concept of desire so candidly in this song?
“Bodyheat” was passionately written for someone I dated back in Austin TX. I wanted to capture the very raw essence of how I felt every time I was under the sheets with this person. It was new, exciting and amazing. Like how any human functions, feelings change in time. But just like taking a picture, or painting a landscape, capturing the stillness of that time was the one thing I really did not want to let go of. The heat and anticipation was something I knew we could all relate to.
In “Bodyheat”, the video showcases the empowered woman making the “booty call”. Why was it important for you to reverse traditional gender roles in this narrative?
Reversing traditional gender roles in this music video is definitely a reflection of myself as an individual and a representation of all dominant women who take life by the hands and demand for what they want. The male pursuit of a woman is something we all have seen already, overdone and stereotypical. This female dominance creates excitement, and amusement on-set, shocking the viewers (especially the older folks). In today’s age, it does go both ways, some women make the first moves, and to those who do, I salute them.
The video for “Bodyheat” celebrates the sacred feminine, Kundalini’s ascension, and sensual liberation against societal norms. How did you envision this portrayal and its relevance in today’s socio-cultural environment?
That is a great question. To me, sex is a spiritual liberation. It’s a spiritual connection practice between two individuals (or more, if that suits you). During the act, the couple transfers electrical energies towards one another through the sacral chakra located in the naval area of our bodies. Hence the “Fire Return, Passion Burn” lines sung throughout the chorus. Though, still captivating the power of initiation and being an overall gentlewoman, it’s important to demonstrate respect while fulfilling our human needs.
By showcasing a variety of forms and proportions, you emphasize that all bodies are gifts of pleasure. How do you hope this message impacts viewers, and/or challenges societal or social media perceptions?
Emphasizing, encouraging and loving all body types in my music videos is so important to me. It’s a ground rule and must-have when putting my productions together. I always want to make sure we really reflect the diversity of our people instead of following through a narrow look society has normalized. If there is something I want to leave behind, it is showing that not everyone is tall and skinny and boring, but that I have a great support group that includes individuals that really shine in their own way. I believe other bands or artists are capable of that and putting a spotlight on what alternative really looks like. The weirder, the better, don’t you think?
Amen! Each stage in the “Bodyheat” video features a unique avatar. How did you come up with these representations, and what is the story behind them?
I stumbled upon an industrial warehouse in LA that had every concept’s backdrop. It truly felt like I found the Cinderella’s glass slipper, it just fit perfectly. I love when a production works great with the right people, the right vibes, and the overall studio setting. It was an amazing experience from start to finish. What mattered most to me was that everyone was playing and experimenting with their role. From studio preparations to the on-set times, Everyone was having a blast. It was a vibe where nobody was saying ‘no’. We all listened to everyone’s ideas and jumped from them. It was the ultimate collaborative experience I have yet produced. Each role was crucial to fulfill the artistic fruition of “Bodyheat.”
We had Mellow Code (Josh McVety and Michael German) play my EBM Destroyers; portraying the concept of strength and force. 80’s Baby (Neil Schwartz) was directing movement, fulfilling the concept of body empowerment over society TV standards. Ms Freeze (Miranda Sharp) balances out the heat throughout the sizzling track. L, myself unleashes the beast within the jail cell to complete the concept of the heat and lurings of desires itself. Julius Roman and myself brought in the heat in the hotel scene. ALL of these scenes were shot inside the industrial warehouse.
How was your experience working with 80s Baby and Clint Schwabedissen in creating the video? How did their visions align or differ from your own?
I absolutely loved working with Neil and Clint. I think I hit the jackpot as far as creative direction and teamwork went with this production. They’re amazing people to vibe with in and out of the sets. The most important thing to me is we all were on the same page every step of the way. They brought in ideas that I knew were better than mine, and it was exactly what I wanted…I would hire them again in a heartbeat.
After the powerful statement made with “Bodyheat,” what can your fans anticipate next? Are there other themes or musical genres you’re eager to explore in your upcoming work?
I am currently working on my third album.. and you can expect more EBM from me. If anything, more Industrial, too. I’ve been listening to a lot of Funker Vogt, Autodafeh, and AD:key lately. Another hint I will give is that I have been taking my German language classes more seriously than before, so expect some German vocals soon!
Will you be playing live any time soon?
New tours are in the works for the upcoming Winter and Fall of 2024. There will also be very last few performances peppered in this year in LA and San Diego.
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