In an industry when censorship, uniformity and mainstream are so widely celebrated, it’s ice-pool refreshing to be met with an artist who is so steel-mindedly set on doing things on her own terms.
Berghain cowboys. ASMR videos. Synthetic wigs. Enter the wonky and glorious world of Charlotte Adigéry.
A mish-mash melting pot of experimental DIY sounds infused into alt-pop, the music of the Belgian-Carribean artist is characterised by absolutely nothing at all, because with each release, you genuinely don’t know what you’re going to get. One thing’s for certain though: you are guaranteed a body-shaking propulsive beat and a rollicking good time.
Lyrics come out like a stream of consciousness with everything from: “I love synthetic wigs a lot” to “Squeaking leather / skin on skin”, and often sees her performing in Creole in a proud nod to her Martinique heritage. Signed to Soulwax’s DEEWEE label, she’s also toured with Neneh Cherry, with her EP “Zandoli” (a ref to the local name for a Caribbean lizard) dropping earlier this year.
It’s only up from here. We caught up with the singer ahead of her set at Lincolnshire’s Lost Village festival…
How did you first get into music?
My mum is a singer as well, so we always sang at home. I have a memory of singing when I was five – actually, it’s on the EP, you can hear it on the vinyl in the locked groove, a little recording of me when on this Fisher-Price thing. In my family, music was something we listened to to celebrate ourselves, to celebrate being together. I still use that when making music. I decided to make music with bands when I was 17, doing backing vocals, and when I was 20, I started my first band with some friends – my first time with lead vocals and as a front-performer. Professionally, I think when I was 21, I started getting paid, and then I started (my solo) music at that same age.
How much does your Belgian-Martinique heritage influence your music?
Martinique and Belgium are two important aspects of my identity. I’m incorporating both in them in my music because they are simply that: two aspects of my identity. By getting older and especially by making my own music, that Martinique side has gotten more intense and something I wanted to incorporate in my music, something that came naturally and also felt natural when creating music.
You often perform under the moniker WWWater – why? Who is Charlotte and who is WWWater?
WWWater is my first musical project in which I really explore my musical identity and needed to tell my own story, and not have any intention sound-wise. I knew I wanted something raw and organic, not too glossy. I didn’t want to overthink things. For me, it was just like this child exploring new toys. Writing for WWWater is somewhat therapeutic: following my own gut feeling and emotions, sharing my pain and anger. Charlotte is the observer who tells stories about things she saw, a little more glossy compared to WWWater. All of the Charlotte stuff is embedded in the DEEWEE world, written and recorded in their studios along with Bolis Pupul and the Soulwax brothers, so that kind of gives it a specific taste and universe The ideas often come from the demos that Bolis comes up with: the colours, the genre and the sounds then inspire me to write something. Sometimes that’s something I have noticed or experienced (like in ‘High Lights’). I’m not schizophrenic, I love both projects because I can channel other parts of myself in them.
“Cursed and Cussed” explores kink with masochistic mentions – what was this inspired by? What made you want to sing a whole song about this?
Bolis started to make the music and suddenly the image of a very handsome, muscular gay man in a latex cowboy outfit occurred in my mind. I could imagine this song blasting through the Berghain sound system at a mens only party. And I just started describing the men at the party. Dresscode: Cowboys, cursing and cussing. I’ve never experienced it myself but it was something I was curious about and really fun to write.