Amongst the lasers and a swarm of dancers, in the centre of Convent dels Àngels in Barcelona, Louisa Pillot, aka Louisahhh, is in her element. She commands the space and leaves us all wishing that it was 3 am and her set was going to last forever. Only a few hours earlier, we met her in the party organiser’s store, Sivasdescalzo, fresh off a flight from Paris repping Raar, her clothing line, and all smiles. 
Sivasdescalzo’s app launch offered a night to remember to the usual faces of Barcelona’s elite dancers, actors, models and fashion people. Louisahhh, whose music is better suited to a later set, still transported us to that moment leaving headliner Benji B to “land that” and redirect the music to a calmer space. Louisa may well be dressed in a short vinyl skirt, with her mini red quilted Off-White bag sitting next to the decks, but her energy is all-powerful regardless of what she wears. Far from being a token female DJ, Louisahhh is simply a talented artist we were lucky to share a night with.
In an interview, you say that the Misshapes parties in the early 2000s were where you found your sense of belonging as an awkward teenager. Was your love of music born in New York dance parties like that one?
No. Actually, it was born way prior to that because my dad worked in music for a long time. Especially because he was like a ‘boomer’ father, we had limited connection points; he’s kind of emotionally shut off. But we could always connect on music. I think my first concert was a rehearsal for a Pink Floyd tour when I was like 6, so it had percolated for a long time before that. But at the Misshapes – and similar parties around that time –, that was the first time I kind of finally found a sense of connection to peers around me. I had finally found my tribe.
The Misshapes look like they have had a resurgence recently, they restarted last year…
Oh shit, I didn’t know that – crazy!
…and are still putting on regular LGBTQ+ friendly nights in the United States. I was wondering if you would be interested in DJing for them?
The Misshapes really pioneered this ‘everything goes’ attitude – you can play Madonna into the Smiths into Missy Elliott; total mayhem. I think it’s since that point fifteen years ago that my personal style evolved into something that could be a little bit hard for that kind of audience in terms of industrial and techno. But I have reintroduced a lot of the tracks that I played in those days into my present set. So yeah, I would be super down and that’s really exciting, I’m super happy for them. It’s really nice they’re back.
Alongside DJing, you have launched your own clothing line, Raar. [Louisahh points to her t-shirt and growls ‘raar’] It’s a “punk brand for techno heads”, as you define it, created with fellow Paris-based DJ Maelstrom. Does the name stand for something?
Raar is the record label we are doing the merch with. It wasn’t necessary to have a brand but it’s been a really nice point of collab to have. It feels like everyone wants to rep their gang, and that was a really successful part of Bromance – to have a streetwear line with the label or make the physical element of the digital releases into clothing instead of records. We’re seeing how it goes. 
A lot of the t-shirts have ‘Silence is Violence’ written on them, from your newest single. I assume it relates to the lack of discourse and change regarding aggressive behaviours that are not called out – from sexual harassment in clubs to narrowly conceived line-ups. Is that true?
It’s interesting because we had actually written and recorded a demo version in 2016. I was in couples’ therapy, and the therapist told me and my then boyfriend that silence is violence, that you’re actually aggressing your partner when you freeze them out, which was news to me. It became a good hook in the track. Then, when we decided to release it. We realised that, lyrically, it was much more pertinent to the present moment than it ever was at the time. So there’s this idea that writing songs can be this weird premonition, and it happens quite often – that the social moment changes after the song is written. It’s a little bit uncomfortable actually.
It’s a bit like Black Mirror. 
Yeah, totally. 
You cite fellow DJ Paula Temple in an interview to highlight that we need to be redirecting questions about sexism in the music industry to those with the power to change it – promoters, booking agents, festival organizers, etc. Paula Temple says, “This is actually a problem that affects us that we did not create”. Would you say you’re a part of the technofeminism movement? 
Yes, I mean, I don’t think we really have a choice at this point! I love Paula. But I have definitely benefitted off the fact I am a woman because it makes me stand out. I work with a lot of male collaborators; I have never collaborated with a woman on production. So that makes me inspect my own behaviour, right?
I feel like I have definitely benefitted because dudes are more ready to work with a woman. I have had a step up because it’s easy to be ‘the first lady of techno’ if there’s like six other ladies and we just rotate. So I don’t think it’s fair for me to benefit off it and not be an advocate for equality in dance music. I’m not saying we should have women-only line-ups, but I think it would be cool to do 60/40, favouring women, for once.
Leading on from that, which female and non-binary DJs or nights should we be getting excited about right now? Rather than rotating around the same six!
That’s interesting. Obviously, I love Paula, she is the sickest. And Rebekah, Rebekah is amazing. But they are not new names. Who am I getting excited about? Jlin is one of my favourites, she’s such a badass and makes really brave music. But again, she got Wired Music of the year, so it’s not like it’s news. It’s funny because I feel like I don’t listen to that much new music. I listen to David Bowie by myself! For non-binary, I think Planningtorock is the raddest, but again, it came before me. Let’s come back to it.
Ok, let’s come back to it again.
Coming back to it: Azf, Sentimental Rave and 51717 are really coming up hard right now. It’s beautiful.
Powerful, punk icon Patti Smith inspired you to become a lyricist. As well as totally moving away from the ‘Ibiza sexy voice’, I hear a musical similarity between punk and your brand of techno – it is aggressive. What do you think about the two music genres – punk and techno?
Punk has been a tired cliché for a while. People think Avril Lavigne was a punk, and it’s like, no, Avril Lavigne was a corporate doll! So in order to make something that was truly more revolutionary and upsetting, it had to be a different kind of music, even moving into hardcore and gabber; this is the next wave. For me, the goal moving forward is to be like the ‘fourth wave ride girl’. It really isn’t about trying to impress people with how ‘cool’ the music is or how slick it sounds. It’s more aggressive and disruptive, and that feels like punk energy. 
I definitely agree!
(Whispers) It’s way more exciting.
What do you think your most punk moment has been?
For me, the most punk moment that I’m thinking of has been a slow burner. I have for my entire life carried around obsessive self-loathing and body shame, and really fucking hated the way I looked and hated the way I felt in my skin. Just now, even in the last several months or weeks, this is shifting. I feel like the most punk thing people can possibly do, especially in reaction to capitalism and neoliberal politics, is to actually love themselves. Maybe that sounds cliché, but I could have said crowd-surfing or whatever. But I think that being freed from the bondage of self is truly punk.
So, you are almost thirteen years sober going to rehab at twenty after cocaine and alcohol addiction, a testimony to your resilient personality and strong spirit succeeding in an industry that continues to be steeped in substance addiction. What keeps you going?
I am part of a mutual aid society. I take other people through the twelve steps of recovery, and being tied to that community keeps me awake to my own disease of addiction and really helps me stay humble with it. I don’t have this licked. I don’t. It’s really a day at a time. The days have got way more comfortable, and I don’t think about cocaine obsessively and crave drugs and alcohol, but that’s not what it comes looking like. It comes looking like my ego thinking that I’ve got too much going on to pass the message of recovery that I received forward. I feel like I am grounding in a power greater than myself – so it’s not really me or my resilience, it’s doing the daily work to get the daily freedom. 
Recently on Instagram, you released a video that talks about female empowerment. You talk about redefining roles of womanhood by living in the moment and embodying a “warrior queen” – that you have tattooed on the back of your head. Your definition of what it means to be a woman has evolved and broadened. What advice would you give to your younger self to start that process sooner?
Thank you for these beautiful questions. I can tell they are super thoughtful, and I really appreciate it. It’s not like ‘how did you get your name?’ and I’m like, ‘umm… I was on cocaine’. I think it’s been meaningful getting older. I just turned 33 and maybe that’s not a lot older but it feels older, and my parents are getting older too. They’re not dying, but it makes me think: when I’m on my death bed, do I want to be like ‘man, I wish I had spent more hours of the day hating myself”. No, fuck no!
The only time that I can accept myself is right now. I used to think that there was a point at which it would suddenly happen. I realised it happens now or it happens never, and that’s every now. The choice is: like myself or suffer. So I choose the former. And I would suggest my younger self to do the same, hopefully earlier, but you know, it happens when it happens.