The DJ behind the soundtracks for Dior, Chloé, and Gucci will get you on your feet this weekend
Louise Chen has the ability to get any crowd going with her soulful mix of R&B, hip-hop, disco, world music, jazz, house, and more. If you’ve attended one of Paris Fashion Week’s decadent parties, chances are that you’ve seen the Luxembourg-born, Paris-based Taiwanese-French DJ behind the decks playing for brands like Balmain, L’oreal, Chloé, Dior, and Miu Miu. Chen climbed the ranks playing records at bars in Paris during the aughts, but it wasn’t until 2010 that she thought about DJing professionally. Frustrated with a lack of parties in Paris that would make Chen get down on the dance floor, the DJ took matters into her own hands by creating a party thrown by women with an all-female roster of DJs called Girls Girls Girls. When Chen noticed there were no parties that played cross-genre sets, she followed with another night called Centertainment, where she invited names like Geo-Logy, Method Man, and Redman to perform. Now Chen plays regularly in Paris and around the world, and this summer, she’s on the festival circuit from Belgium to Morocco.
Chen created a summer playlist for Document that takes you from the soul-infused “Puppet,” Tyler, The Creator’s collaboration with Kanye West, to the feel-good, happy-in-love 1970s track “Together” by Disciple, to Bobby Boyd’s enchanting “How Do You Hang on to a Dream?” Document caught up with Chen to discuss what gets her going on the dance floor, what she likes to listen to in the summer, and where she’s playing through the end of the season.
Ann Binlot—What kind of music do you like to listen to in the summer?
Louise Chen—I mellow out in the summer and listen to downtempo R&B, soul, jazz, bossa nova, deep house, sleazy disco… I tend to also catch up on the releases of the year I haven’t had a chance to listen to yet, tends to be music I don’t play out, music that serves no ‘purpose’ for my DJing but really just feeds my listening pleasure. I re-charge in the summer.
Ann—What gets you dancing?
Louise—R&B, classic hip-hop, anything by The Neptunes, disco, and house never fail to get me moving! I have to admit it’s quite easy to get me up and running. I think early on in the evening, I like to sing along to songs and as it gets later in the night I want the beat to take over and put me in a trance, so house and techno will keep me dancing til the morning.
Ann—Tell me about the tracks you selected for your playlist.
Louise—There’s a few that I feel really encapsulate the summer mood like Waltaa, GoldLink and Tyler, The Creator’s tracks are the kinds of chords, beats, and tempos I have in mind when I think of the sun, the beach, BBQs, late-night hangs outside, and denim cut-offs! The soul tunes also remind me of summers passed and the special energy one gets from hot and bright sunny days. And then there’s a couple of new releases I’ve been listening to so much—that S3A tune and Emerson that’s been reissued not long ago, tunes I’ve been playing out, and finally some jazz and bossa to cool off.
Ann—What kinds of crowds are you playing for this summer?
Louise—This year I’m mainly playing festival crowds which is super exciting to me. I’ve been going to festivals since I was a teenager and this is definitely the summer it feels my dream are slowly becoming a reality! I played in Belgium at Dour Festival and that’s one I’d always wanted to go all my life. Then last weekend I played in Carpentras at Kolors festival, and my parents came out to see me for the first time and their first time at a festival! I still have a big one in Italy at Pyrex Arena August 14th in Santa Cesarea Terme and I’m ending August in Marrakech at Atlas Electronic with Kamaal Williams.
Ann—What’s on the horizon for you this fall?
Louise—I’m touring quite a bit this fall, although I am sure I’ll end up also playing one or two events during Fashion Week; I already have a calendar full of club nights, raves, and festivals. And then I plan to base myself in Taipei from November onwards, until the end of the year, to work on music and play around Asia a bit so I can come back to Europe in 2020 with new ideas and new music to release!