Half French and half Taiwanese, Louise Chen grew up in Luxembourg where she developed a love of music through making DIY mixtapes of the latest hits for her relatives in Taiwan. She is one of the founders of the all-female DJ slash art collective Girls Girls Girls, a group that's breaking apart the male-dominated confines of Parisian creative scenes. GGG's aim is to have fun (girls just wanna have it, right?) and their residency at the Social Club has become an integral part of Parisian nightlife. Louise also runs a 100% Drake-only night and helms her own show on the French outpost of Rinse FM.
But Chen also has a passion for football that dates back to her childhood; growing up, she both played and watched the game. We spent time with Chen on the streets and in her Paris apartment to develop an understanding of how she came to appreciate football the way she does.
Dazed: When did you start to love football? Was it something you grew up around or did you ever play?
Louise Chen: I think my first memories of exciting football moments were of the World Cup in 1994. I would watch the games with my dad and listen to his commentary. My dad is Chinese so he wasn't really into football until he married my mum and lived in Europe for a bit. I remember his comments about the German Mannschaft ("impenetrable defense, it's a very robust team"); Italy ("all drama"), Brazil ("they play like dancers"). With hindsight I guess he was always quite on point, maybe because he was seeing the game with fresh eyes. My dad always asked for my gut feeling, which team I would bet on - that year Italy was playing against Brazil in the final and I bet on the "yellow ones". I was right and felt like I had won at a game myself. That's when I connected with football.
I grew up in Luxembourg and went to a European school, my friends were Danish, Portuguese, British, Belgian and Spanish, etc. During the Euros and World Cups, going to school was like going to war, everyone would rep their home country wearing flags, make-up, cussing at the opposing team or teasing the losers the next day. Watching football like this just makes you love it because you're living the events with such intensity! For Euro 2000, for example, everyone went to a Scottish pub to watch Italy versus France. Seeing as there were equally as many Italians and French peeps, they put two televisions at each end of the pub. The French supporters were watching the game with their backs against Italian supporters. You should have seen the joy when Trezeguet put the winning goal in, it was exponential because we could rub it into our Italian friends' faces!
What has the atmosphere been like in Paris since the tournament began? Have you noticed a change in the people, or on the streets?
Louise Chen: It's really cool, there's a pop-up sports bar called Le Ballon that opened near my house just for this World Cup. For France vs. Switzerland I went with a few friends and there were so many people that there was a roadblock! You can feel French people's faith and hope building up, it's nice, doesn't happen often to feel this bubbling in the air. With Piu Piu - my DJ partner in Girls Girls Girls - we're also trying to convert anti-footy friends and encouraging them get into the games. I feel like most of the games so far have all had surprising turn-arounds just like a thrilling Game of Thrones episode! As for Paris, the streets went wild when Algeria went through! Honking all night, no cabs anywhere, just a giant, happy, messy noise!
One of the things I love about World Cups is having an excuse to go round to my friends’ houses and party - is this something that you’ve done a lot?
Louise Chen: Yes absolutely! It often depends on the times of the matches but when the times allow it, it's definitely all about going to friends' houses and watching the game together and commenting on the game the entire time. The final of the World Cup 2006, I watched it at my best friend's house, a guy called Florent, who is my ultimate football partner. We worked together at a music PR agency in Paris and would sneak out to watch the afternoon games, bring each other the football newspaper the next morning (I've saved all the newspaper clippings of that year). For the final, it was only natural that him and his wife organised a gathering with food, drinks and good friends. When Zidane did his famous head butt on Materazzi, I remember looking around at everyone's astonished face. Florent and I shed a tear – we knew, with that move, it was over.
You’re a musician - do you see any similarities between football and art? Can football be counted as an art form?
Louise Chen: Football is an art form that I find very similar to dancing: discipline, hard work and that little extra something – talent!
You must be pleased with France’s performance so far. Do you have a favourite player?
Louise Chen: Paul Pogba because he's so young and refreshing. You can tell he just LOVES playing football and the only thing he's got on his mind is the game. Against Ecuador there a few actions where he got tackled and kept running, he was falling but couldn't care less about the foul, you could tell he just wanted to keep going, keep playing. That's such a rare and great energy, I really admire the focus and love of football or people that love their craft in general.
How will you celebrate if France win the Cup? Are people in Paris already thinking that far ahead?
Louise Chen: Turns out I have a DJ booking that night so there's a probability I'll play out victory tunes for a good hour and scream my joy down the mic or something. If France go all the way to the semi-finals I will already feel like it's a ma-hoo-sive achievement, one that's worth putting on face paint and wearing my Zidane shirt for a week.
So far, what’s been the most incredible moment of the tournament, and why?
Louise Chen: Honestly, this year, I feel the tournament is beyond exciting! All the games have had crazy turn arounds – Holland, Mexico, Uruguay against Italy, even Argentina versus Nigeria were all amazing games to watch! I love it when it's so surprising that you don't want the game to end and the score to settle. That's what it's about. The results matter, of course, but this year I feel the love of the game has taken over the world – be it players or supporters – and that makes me really happy.
Have you been out DJing during the tournament?
Louise Chen: Yes! Girls Girls Girls had a night in Grenoble a couple of weeks ago and Piu Piu in our crew is half-Uruguayan so we just HAD to watch the game between Uruguay and England. It was awesome because we managed to convert a friend into enjoying the game and we were cheering so much. Great fun!
If you could be any footballer, who would you be and why?
Louise Chen: Aw man, you already know, I would want to be Zinedine Zidane. He's iconic and yet he's the realest man ever! I mean come on, it was his ultimate game, the final of the World Cup 2006 and he headbutted an italian player, that was the last move of his career. What a legend! The man in him took over the player. Too real. Also, let's not forget he's technically a fantastic player, a real artist. I remember after beating Brazil in 2006 the news reporters were interviewing Brazilians and one said, "Zidane was the only Brazilian out there, how he played was beautiful!". And now he's about to become a trainer and train his very own son – Enzo Zidane. What a life! Let me say though, if I could go out with any football player that would have to be Thierry Henry! Va-va-voom!
Would you go out for dinner with Luis Suarez?
Louise Chen: "Hannibal" Luis Suarez? He'd probably eat me alive for dinner!
This summer, Louise Chen will be DJing at:
July 7th – Overdrive Infinity with Oneman, Scratcha DVA, Feadz, Moxie, Martelo, Piu Piu, Boston Bun
July 13th – with Baauer and Araabmuzik at Showcase, Paris
August 23rd – with Piu Piu, Para One, Riton, DVNO, Hossegor
September 7th – Girls Girls Girls at Le Bain, New York
September 12th – Girls Girls Girls with Toddla T, Roses Gabor and Manaré at XOYO, London
September 24th – Girls Girls Girls at YOYO, Paris
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