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Empress of

Empress Of exclusive mix

Robyn and Trent Reznor go head-to-head with J Dilla in this month’s Synth Hero mix

Empress Of’s lush, synthy music is known for its irreverance to any specific genre, bending the boundaries of electronica to produce trippy, on-the-edge pop tracks with a nostalgic, lo-fi sound. As the solo project of Honduran-American singer Lorely Rodriguez, she first garnered attention with a huge, mysterious catalogue of recorded snippets released as a 'Colourminutes' YouTube series. Now, she's calling on her intricate tastes for the Synth Hero radio show with a special guest mix. 

Rodriguez brings together her love of tailspinning drum machines, pumping dance, fuzzy shoegaze and everything in between, with special mentions for the likes of Canadian musical auteur Daphni, underground hip hop star J Dilla and Swedish dance-pop princess Robyn. Below, she tells us why each track has a special place in this diverse show.

DANZING – “NEU”

This song is a gateway drug to drum machines, synths and FX….basically an excuse to get weird. One of the first songs I discovered where I felt completely submerged in something new and exciting and sonically foreign.

HARMONIA – “WATUSSI”

I discovered this band, and especially this song, at the time when I was listening to a lot of Slow Dive, Cocteau Twins and Suicide. It holds a very special place in my heart. I would take the train from Montreal to NY a lot while listening to this song.

DAPHNI – “COS BER ZAM - NE NOYA”

Ok. Dan Snaith. I don't even know where to begin. I'm obsessed with him. Obviously I love Caribou, but Daphni is totally awesome and weird. I especially love the freedom taken with sampling and re-interpreting.

J DILLA – “WORKINONIT”

J Dilla is legend. The genius behind the MPC. The first time I heard “Donuts” I felt like I had taken drugs but I was totally sober. I think that was my body trying to digest something so refreshingly new.

PIONAL – “IT’S ALL OVER”

Ask anyone who knows me….I will talk up a storm about Pional. I've sat in front of many screens of YouTube links and Spotify streams gushing over this song and how perfect it is. IT'S PERFECT.

HOLDEN – “RENATA”

I got into this song (and this record) when it first came out and I was very confused by how it was made and what the sounds were…which is why I love it. I love being confused by music or art or film. If you told me the sounds on this record were planets being born or ants having conversations I would probably believe you.

FRANKIE KNUCKLES – “THE WHISTLE SONG”

The flute really drives me crazy in this song. The beat and the bass are so grounded while this flute just flies around like a bird. I put this song on when I just want to walk around town completely oblivious to things.

LITTLE DRAGON – “SHUFFLE A DREAM”

Wow. I'm always shocked by their synth sounds. So warm but so upfront and in your face. Kind of like Yukimi's voice.

NINE INCH NAILS ­– “CLOSER”

Ok obviously…I love Nine Inch Nails. Everything about this is perfection. I've listened to this song a million times and every time I feel like a boss. I'll always come back.

ROBYN – “CALL YOUR GIRLFRIEND”

I love Robyn. I love pop music. I love putting this song on at 4am so everyone can sing along.

OUTKAST – “PINK AND BLUE”

Where would we be without Outkast? I love artists who aren't afraid to be themselves. Andre 3000's vocals over that super classic drum machine loop, who else could pull that off?

LEON VYNEHALL ­– “BUTTERFLIES”

I really like Leon Vynehall's newest record. This isn't from it but I always play this song out because it feels like a sunrise song. It's like a splash of cold water to my face when I’ve been dancing all night.