Podcast 606: Leah Floyeurs
Live from Freerotation.
Podcast 606: Leah Floyeurs
Live from Freerotation.
Susan Macdonald (a.k.a. Leah Floyeurs) left Brisbane, Australia for the United Kingdom in April 1993 intent on pursuing a career as a journalist in London. A trained pianist, after only a few months she found herself playing piano five nights a week in a 4-star hotel and working at HMV Records on Oxford Street during the day.
Celebrating her first New Year’s Eve away from home, she attended Steve Bicknell’s club Lost at The Vox in Brixton, having been invited by a friend she met at work—”the only person in the record store who was into electronic music and techno,” Floyeurs recalls. At the time, she had no idea what the music would be like other than the tracks played to her by her friend at the pre-drinks, one of which was Red Planet “Stardancer,” the first electronic record Floyeurs ever recalls hearing. Later that night, she saw Jeff Mills, then a Lost resident, for the first time, and was “blown away.” Opting to remain in the UK to explore electronic and DJing, she cancelled her flights home and prepared herself for an adventure.
Progress was fast. Through clubbing, she met many friends who owned records and decks, all inspired by clubs such as Vapourspace, Analogue City, Final Frontier at Club UK, Hardware, and of course Lost. Her work, temping with advertising and PR agencies, became less of a priority, so much so that in 1995 she decided to focus full-time on music, without even knowing how to mix records. “My flatmate had 1210 Technics and I practised with his records, playing solidly for about five hours a day for a whole month, until I got it,” she recalls. In March 1996, she played out in public for the first time, opening for Claude Young at a club called Choice in Belfast, and within three years she’d played around Europe, heavily influenced by the Detroit sound of the mid-late ’90s.
Soon thereafter, Floyeurs married Young but their divorce in 1999 led to a “traumatic time,” for her, and so she retreated into her insurance job, where her focus remained until 2011 when she finally plucked up the courage to play records again. Central to this decision was a chance meeting with an old friend who invited her to join his internet radio station, Timeline Music.
Quitting her job once again, she become Leah Floyeurs, an anagram of “Heal Yourself,” and began playing records on the station in May 2012, launching her two-hour show, “Leah with Sound.” She quickly gained a reputation for skills in effortlessly switching genres, touching on techno, house and electronica, with strong references to Detroit. It didn’t take long for Freerotation’s Steevio to take note and invite her to play his annual event in 2013—a “major turning point for me,” Floyeurs reflects. She’s now a resident at Freerotation and London clubs 50arc and Pink Elaphant, and has played all around the UK and throughout Europe.
Floyeurs’ XLR8R podcast is actually a recording of the last set she’s played, Freerotation 2019. It’s slick and hypnotic—the soundtrack to a sweaty and highly memorable evening at Baskerville Hall. Changes are fast and abrupt; it’s not easy to squeeze 27 tracks into 90 minutes, but Floyeurs has achieved this without ever feeling rushed. It goes without saying that it’s as high in energy as it is in tempo. Grab it now below.
What have you been up to recently?
I have taken a bit of a break from regular gigging this year to immerse myself in a Hellenistic Astrology course, so recently I have been knee-deep in ancient texts instead of records.
How did you get into music?
I was born musical I think, because when I was about four I got up to the family pianola to hit a few notes, and started making up patterns and copying what I heard on the radio. I played piano all through school but was useless at sight reading—I play by ear—so I only reached grade 4. Although I played piano as a job in London about 25 years ago, I’ve only owned one since the end of last year, and I am enjoying composing and playing every day. As a teenager in Australia, I was into hard rock and heavy metal. I must confess soul music passed me right by! Perhaps that is why I was instantly drawn to hard techno when I first heard it.
What can we expect with this podcast?
This podcast is my live DJ set at Freerotation this year, kept on hold especially for you. I played in the smaller sweatier Room 3, with brilliant sound, as always, ahead of a live set by Kerrie, and DJ sets from Blasha & Allatt and Tasha and Alex Downey. The room went off.
What’s next on the horizon musically?
Producing music is next on the agenda at 50Arc’s studio, Arc Studios in West London and we, 50Arc, have a gig at Eastern Bloc in Manchester at end of November. I have also joined a new DJ agency called brainsurgeryhq which is a collective of experienced, wise, and super-talented DJs who are proper heads, which is exciting. But first I need to get a major birthday out of the way next month and go travelling with my dear Mum. Then I am going to start all over again, again.
XLR8R has now joined Mixcloud Select, meaning that to download the podcast you will need to subscribe to our Select channel. The move to Mixcloud Select will ensure that all the producers with music featured in our mixes get paid. You can read more about it here.
01. Autechre “Foil” (Warp)
02. Convextion “Solum Ferrum” (Down Low Music)
03. Trus’me “Defunct (Truss Remix)” (Prime Numbers)
04. 1800HaightStreet “Manitoban” (Lobster Theremin)
05. Conforce “Scorched Earth” (Delsin)
06. Daribow “Immortal Soul” (Dystopian)
07. Mark Ambrose “Dusty Acid” (Crayon)
08. 1800HaightStreet “Permafrost” (Lobster Theremin)
09. Marcel Dettman “Translation One” (Ostgut Ton)
10. Slam “Life Between Life” (Soma Quality Recordings)
11. Dustmite “Advanced Persistent Threat” (Supervoid Records)
12. Vice “Noise Reduction” (Tresor)
13. A Sagittariun “Concrete Walls” (Elastic Dreams)
14. Zenker Brothers “Sample Predator” (Ilian Tape)
15. Jensen Interceptor “Haze” (Lone Romantic)
16. Dez Williams “Slave Driver” (Shiprec)
17. 1800HaightStreet “Endless” (Lobster Theremin)
18. Birth of Frequency “Beware” (Raw Raw Records)
19. Antigone “Printer’s Devil” (Pole Recordings)
20. 2AMFM “Pattern On The Floor” (Secret Studio Records)
21. Teste “The Wipe (5 AM Synaptic)” (Plus 8 Records)
22. 1800HaightStreet “Alone” (Lobster Theremin)
23. Newa “Artificial” (Klockworks)
24. Trevino “Jan Roller” (Fossil Archive)
25. 1800HaightStreet “Diagonal Iris” (Lobster Theremin)
26. Ben Sims “Retrovert (Claude Young Mix)” (Theory Recordings)
27. Shlomi Aber “Redox” (BPitch Control)