Audrey Napoleon Performs Like She Has Sex
Audrey Napoleon is a lot to look at: all ink black precision-cut hair, pale skin, black cat eyeliner, four inch gold heels and perfectly applied red lipstick. Sitting in front of a wall of windows a dozen floors above Hollywood on an overcast Friday morning, she's a perfectly assembled goth dream girl in black leather; Morticia Addams glam with a splash of ravens tattooed across her right collarbone. She did not, presumably, wake up looking this way. (Except for the ravens.)
"It's an armor, a defense mechanism," the 25-year-old DJ and producer says of her appearance. "Writing music is very vulnerable for me, so to go onstage and be Audrey Napoleon, I have to wear these ornamental egos."
Thus, the title of her debut EP out July 24, Ornamental Egos. The six tracks are an amalgamation of elastic electro house and female vocal-infused dance music that Napoleon calls "underground pop." Taking inspiration from "travelling, music, the patterns of the way people speak, the sounds of pots and pans in the kitchen," Napoleon spent six months recording the EP, routinely holing up in the studio for 12-16 hours a night, making everything perfect. (The exactness of that eyeliner is no accident.)
Gretchen Lanham Napoleon and her single #MySunrise were recently featured in Heineken's international Sunrise Belongs to Moderate Drinkers campaign.
After moving around during her teens (Houston, New York, London, Rome, Milan, her family's native Sicily), and moving to Playa del Rey with her musician father, Napoleon got a job waitressing at Hollywood's Geisha House. A longtime fan of seminal goth pop outfits like The Cure and Depeche Mode, Napoleon's musical world exploded when a fellow server brought her to Avalon to see UK-based DJ, producer and renowned turntablist James Zabiela. It was here that Napoleon heard the electronic siren call of L.A. clubland.
She set about learning the craft on turntables, beginning with vinyl before opting for Serato and then MIDI because records were "too fucking heavy." She played her first gig at Geisha House a short time later and was promptly fired for refusing to play anything but house. ("They wanted top 40.") With two gigs lined up, she quit serving to focus on DJing.