Interview: Fashion's new favourite DJs Lara Fraser and Laura Pradelska AKA "The Lallas"
A new element in the world of fashion parties and creative branding events includes a perfectly curated set list performed by celebrity DJs. “The Lallas” have played London Fashion Week parties, Cannes Film Festival, art gallery launches, and are currently radio presenters on Bugaloo Radio.
Performing as a DJ duo isn’t their only talent. Laura is an actress, known for her portrayal as Quaithe in the hit series Game of Thrones. Lara’s previous career was in luxury PR crafting creative storytelling for brands specifically in the hospitality sectors. Together the ladies formed “The Lallas” (an amalgamation of their first names). They’ve not only garnered a reputation for providing great energy in a party but they’ve done so as female entertainers in a male-driven industry. They are represented by The Books, proclaimed as the first all-female DJ agency, dedicated to supporting and empowering females in the music industry. Girl Power indeed!
Describe your backgrounds in music, fashion, et al of the creative industries.
Lara – I’ve always been into music. Starting in school I played Violin, Piano and Saxophone – it’s a huge regret of mine not keeping these up. However, DJing allows me to appreciate all the different elements that goes into a track. Some might think the many different hats we wear within the creative industry is confusing, but I think there is a beautiful ebb and flow between the sectors. Our radio show allows us to discover and champion new music, fashion is a whole scene, it’s the parties, people and collaborative energies. I’ve also begun producing and have my first single coming out soon called ‘Animal’ a collaboration with Art Bastian! Our separate careers are dynamic and forever changing.
Laura - I have loved DJing since I was about 12 years old and my parents bought me turntables. I played the piano as well. I grew up in Frankfurt which was heavily inletenced by Trance music from Sven Väth to Jam and Spoon and DJ Dag. When I started going out at 15 those were the DJ’s I used to listen to and go to their clubs. My fashion sense back then was very clubby meaning anything from short skirts, small tops and always Converse – it was all about dancing all night. As I got older and moved to the US I started listening more to rock music but stilll with a passion to techno.
How would you describe your style of performances?
Lara – We are both energetic. For me, DJing is all about spreading good vibes you have to dance, connect with the crowed. It is always an amazing thing when people from the crowd are having so much fun they want to jump on stage and do crazy things. As a DJ being organised is the main thing, as long as all your music is stored correctly and is accessible you can have fun on the night and go with the flow.
Laura – As Lara mentioned it is all about having a great time and giving people the chance to dance, be merry and escape for a few hours. Maybe we will play a song like ‘With a little bit of luck’ that reminds people of great times.
How long have you both been performing as “The Lallas”? How did you form?
We’ve only been a duo for just over a year, but we have travelled internationally playing at the most amazing events, club and gigs it almost seems surreal. Last year we packed in Cannes Film Festival, Monaco Grand Prix, all the Fashion Weeks, gallery openings, yacht parties and so much more that it feels a lot longer. We actually formed as an offshoot of the radio show we host together. Venues began requesting us to DJ, so we learned from the best and quickly became obsessed bringing amazing music to people and creating experiences. “The Lallas” is just a fun play on our names that people are forever getting confused by (Lara & Laura)!
In an era dominated by men in the music industries how important is it that you represent women as DJs?
It’s hugely important to the both of us. It’s crazy how there is still a view that males are ‘technically’ better and females get gigs as ‘window dressing’. We put so much time and energy in creating unique, perfect sets that fit perfectly to specific venues and crowds, that we both hope this contributes to a change in this way of thinking.
Who are musicians that influence your work or serve as an inspiration?
Lara – Definitely Madonna, she not only inspires me musically through her insane talent and diversity, but she is one of the few women in the music industry who has been consistent and held her relevance for decades. Cardi B to me is an example of hustle, she knows nothing is a given and is so raw, unapologetic. She worked so hard to realise her dream, which is important in a world where people often expect immediate gratification. But I also love Flume as a sound that inspires me when producing, Frank Ocean, Kanye, Calvin Harris… Ahhh the list goes on!
Laura - Oh there are soooo many. From The Eagles, The Doors to early Hip Hop like Public Enemy, Big Daddy Kane, Dre and Snoop. I love Electronica like Veronica Falls, Brigitte, Sia, The XX. It really depends what mood I am in. I do love singer/songwriters as I believe the words and the journey more when the artist has written them themselves like Fiona Apple or even Kesha.
What would be your “dream project” to contribute a soundtrack? If you could host a party what would be your “dream set list”?
Lara - I’d love to contribute a soundtrack to an action movie like Wonder Woman, I love seeing how music plays such an integral role in building a scene or moment in a movie. The track would go all in with the dramatics! My dream set list would always start with some classic 90’s hip hop, move onto dance and finish with some tropical house.
Laura - I would say a show stylised fashion film, like the ones Miu Miu produces. I would experiment with electro music and probably have The Bloom twins feature on it.
We’ve been witnessing a surge of women taking over roles previously occupied by men. What would you consider to be the benefits of this paradigm shift?
It’s not only the obvious benefits of being able to earn more money, it is the shift in mindset. It is the understanding of self-worth. It is breaking through the self-regulation that follows from being told you can’t do something. Equal job opportunities have a ripple effect into every part of both the male and female understanding of what being a female is.
How do you represent the female perspective in your work? Does it matter that you are females in a male dominated industry?
It really does, it’s funny because you ironically you get a lot of men portraying female perspectives in the industry. It’ll be the male producers, DJ’s etc being asked how they feel about female presence or imbalance. From our perspective it has taken a lot to be taken seriously, there has been so many instances where we have walked into jobs and heard ‘at least you’re hot’ or equally condescending comments. But when you show up and do a good job you slowly chip away at these prejudices. It’s by action not talk.
How are you supported by other artists and members of the creative industries?
Lara - We have been so lucky to experience really supportive artists who have always been generous in lending helping hands in advice and opportunities. A big shout out to Elle L an amazing singer who I am working on a few projects with and is teaching me a lot! Musically my manager has linked me with a diverse inner circle of artists including Sarkodie, Big Narstie, Camilla Destiny, Art Bastian who all pool together to lend a hand in their own different ways.
Laura - A lot of my friends are or have been DJ’s they have taught me the ins and outs of beat matching and I spend at least an hour everyday buying and searching for new music, even if it’s just for my pleasure.
Images: Jon Devo