Interview: Linn Elisabet (Acts of rebellion)

Interview by Helena Markos

I had the huge pleasure to interview the Swedish, Berlin-based artist Linn Elisabet, few weeks after their Fac ut Ardeat / Made to Burn LP, which is the fourth ‘act of rebellion’, released on their own imprint ‘Acts of Rebellion’. An LP showing Linn Elisabet’s trademark sound of ethereal, hard hitting techno, which transgresses the dance floor into a gender identity, and dance music rebellion.

Linn Elisabet also give us some background details on the album, which came alongside the ACT004 feat. MIT-Y, an online based interactive game and audio visual installation exploring hypocognition, linguistics and identity, beyond the bodily experience.

Linn Elisabet in this genuine and fearless sharing, reflect on the scene, their experience with sexism and transphobia, as well as how their queer identity and their past led them to eventually believe in their own personal style and claim their creative space; an act of rebellion so to speak.

Linn Elisabet through their music evoke deep and intense emotions, a powerful means to represent our at stake humanistic values; an ode to our freedom to be whoever we want to be. In other words, when the dance-floor becomes revolution and vice versa. Enjoy the marvellous read.

T.O.P: First of all, I want to thank you for dedicating to answer my questions. I want to ask you how is the pandemic and the current events in the world affecting you?

LINN ELISABET: Oh let’s just say I’ve had my ups and downs..! It is definitely a time for something different. I feel lucky to have my music, and I’ve spent a lot of time in the studio. The pandemic also enabled us to make the ACT004 online game. At first there was a music video planned, which couldn’t be done because of the restrictions. Then I started thinking what could be done instead, and the idea of making an online based game came to life.

I am missing many aspects of life before corona though, and I hope that this intense suffering and trauma that the world experiences at this point will be over soon. I still think it will make us stronger in many ways. So in the midst of all this crazy, I am trying to grow as much as possible from the experience.

T.O.P: Who is Linn Elisabet? Can you share a few things about your journey into electronic music?

LINN ELISABET: Linn Elisabet is my uncensored scream – everything I felt unable to be and express in the past. Before I started DJing and making music myself I was hiding in the collective of an orchestra or a choir (classically schooled in cello and song). I didn’t believe I was made to have my own voice back then. So I started working at labels, managements and PR agencies, promoting other artists and their dreams.

When I found alternative dance music however, there was this monster that came to life within me. I needed to express myself independently, and through electronic music I found my voice. The music and the culture around it made me feel like I was good enough, and that my story was worth telling. Linn Elisabet was born and still evolves. I am thrilled to see where they take me next.

T.O.P: You are about to release the magnificent LP ‘Fac ut Ardeat / Made to Burn’ on Acts of Rebellion. Fast paced techno for heated dance floors washed over by rebellious energy and not only. The record is quite versatile and overall very atmospheric. Do you want to speak about the creation of it and any particular meaning that it represents?

LINN ELISABET: This record is very dear to me in the way that it signifies another step of myself breaking free. I was tired of some unprofessionalism I had met in the past: transphobia, sexism, and people asking me to make more “functional” music (Wtf does functional mean anyway?

A good DJ should be able to play more advanced tracks than just a straight 4/4 kick in my opinion!). So I decided that I’d keep releasing with other labels very selectively, and complementary have a space where I could release whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, in whatever way I wanted it to be presented. I also feel that today’s attitudes are very oriented on hard/fast vs. ambient/sound designed techno.

I think the most beautiful music can mix elements and emotions all across the board, because after all that’s how our realities and lives look on an everyday basis. Intensity does not only come from making the hardest and fastest track, and beauty does not only come from slower paces, fragility and sound design.

All in all: to truly support an upcoming artist is to believe in their creative abilities and the worth it has in the world. Else we will just end up with cheap copies of each other, and I don’t think that’s what we want in the end.

T.O.P: Is there any person, moment or experience that has played a significant role for your expression and art?

LINN ELISABET: Indeed, and what they have in common was their ability to make me believe in myself and my individual expression. Main game changer for me was my Stockholm studio collective Drömfakulteten: a female and transgender space with not only the most inspiring artists but also a fiercely supportive attitude which enabled a healthy space of free expression and creativity. Secondly, there was Cari Lekebusch, who used to live only a block away from me back in Stockholm. We got in touch over my very first release and he was so generous inviting me over to his studio to teach me more about mixing and mastering. He never told me what I needed to change about myself creatively, which I felt most people tried doing back then, but instead supported me in my vision and enabled me to technically execute the ideas I had.

T.O.P: How would you describe your creative process? What inspires you most?

LINN ELISABET: To be fair: not thinking too much. The best music for me comes when I stop thinking and start feeling, and just let what’s inside take the form it wants to. Most of my music comes from the emotive aspects of being queer, what my place in the world really is, people I loved, people who hurt me… I feel it is important that I try and show the world what I believe identity and dance can be, beyond what society taught us is right and wrong.

T.O.P: How do you feel the electronic music world will emerge in a post-pandemic era?

LINN ELISABET: Good question. I don’t think it will change more than the effort of personal growth people put into themselves during this time. It’s impossible to say at this point beyond the people I interact with personally on a regular basis, but I am lucky to be surrounded by many openminded and kind people who have experienced a lot of pain and loss, but also learned a lot about themselves and their attitude towards other people the past 6 months. I hope as many people as possible have taken this time to evaluate their choices and the effect it has on marginalized people, as well as considered how they can change their attitudes and behaviour to make the scene more inclusive for the people who actually created it again.

T.O.P: What do you think are the major challenges that artists face today?

LINN ELISABET: In our genre I think there are 2 main aspects: pushing through the noise of the ether, and finding and embracing individual expression. I find it ironic that a genre which was made for free expression and breaking norms, became hijacked by people who forced new norms and conventions of what is “good” or “real” or “functional”. I think a lot of great music gets lost by the idea of how techno “should sound”. Thus I started calling my music alternative dance music instead.

T.O.P: Apart from your upcoming LP, any other projects to announce?

LINN ELISABET: Sure! There will be an album on Diffuse Reality in November, featuring remixes by Denise Rabe, Electric Indigo and Killawatt. Very excited to see how it will be received. I am also compiling a v/a for Acts Of Rebellion, to shift the focus from myself, to the change we can make from organising an army of transgressive rebels.

T.O.P: How would you describe yourself outside the venues and studio?

LINN ELISABET: Haha this one is funny. I know I express a very serious attitude as an artist. But as “just Linn” I am often kind of dorky which is a side of me that most people never get to see. Maybe I should invite to that part of myself more often, but it is also nice to have a life and identity which is not connected to the music and the artist profile so much.

T.O.P: Which piece of music or album would you suggest as a mind/soul healer?

LINN ELISABET: Oh that depends on the wound that needs to be healed! Here are some of my medicines:

Soothe/belong: A Winged Victory for the Sullen – The Undivided Five (Full Album 2019),

Julianna Barwick – Offing & After its own death: Side A · Nivhek

Liberate/believe: Kacy Hill – Foreign Fields (Yung Gud remix)

Thanks for having me ❤