When I was preparing this interview I discovered that despite forming in 2012, evidence of Perfume Production’s existence is pretty scarce. They have no recordings online, and there is no description of their music beyond the basic fact they play electronic instruments. Despite appearing to hardly exist, they still made Conrad from Standish/Carlyon list as a musical hot tip of 2013 in Crawlspace. He admitted, having witnessed their only two live performances ever the previous year, that he “cannot say with any authority what kind of band they are other than the best band”. Clearly they are onto something. We just don’t know what yet.
We spoke to the feminine and industrious ladies behind the mystique, as so far they've thrown even their closest allies off their scent. What we do know for sure is Perfume Production is Laila Sakini, the DJ brain behind Day Care and Girls Club, and celebrated graphic designer Clare Wohlnick. Originally from Perth Clare's played in hXm (Healing Crystal Meth), Desperate House, Mass Birth, Mental Powers, and Golden Staph before turning her attention to mysterious DJ crews.
THUMP: When did you realise you were destined to work together?
Clare: We formed a "band" because Laila wanted to play the support at her friend's gig. We met in 2005 when I lived in Melbourne for a little while but it wasn't until I moved back here in 2012 that we started to mess around with music equipment. By this time Laila was DJing a lot and I had started to collect a few machines. We both grew up going to raves in the late 90s, Laila in Melbourne and me in Perth. Laila was a respected dancer, and I was in my own world. We agreed that we wanted to work with this club/dance energy.
You're alway so ambiguous, what’s the deal?
Laila: We like the idea of ambiguity because each time we've played it has been really different. We play electronic music and use synthesizers and drum machines so there is obviously an electronic base. But nothing too dark or heavy and we are always trying to do something that is not too 4x4, kind of straight up dance style. Basically we try to break that down a bit just because we find the in between stuff a little more interesting.
Is there anybody that you look up to?
Laila: We don’t really talk about that. I mean if we explicitly talked about our idols I guess we would have some in common for sure. But we kind of have an implicit understanding that we are on the same page. When we play together it just sort of happens. We are just working on our own thing. A friend said a while ago, "Our theoretical band is finally coming to life". It’s kind of just like that. It’s like we are a concept. It’s just an idea we had that is happening and evolving, so it’s not really a strategic thing with a typical band I guess.
Considering your namesake, are there any specific scents you would like to permeate simultaneously with your music?
Laila: So many come to mind. For me it’s more visual, I think of images. I think Clare and I both agreed when we were young we both really liked the idea of perfume as a beautiful vessel. Maybe it’s a '90s thing and, I don’t know, there are all these connotations, things that are soft pink and domestic but sort of exotic.
Clare: Well I've thought about this before and I can't really select one smell. There is a creative visualisation practice called "colour breathing" that my grandmother gave me a book about. It's an "Emotional Freedom Technique" where you picture a specific colour according to how you want to feel: you imagine it surrounding your head then you breath it in and fill your body with this colour. Somehow I'd like to incorporate this into a performance. Not sure how yet.
My mum gave me Paris Hilton Tease perfume for Christmas. The tagline was: “A modern reinvention of timeless feminine allure, and a sophisticated compliment to any style or occasion." What would your tagline be?
Clare: 'A smell that you just heard'.
What’s the best environment for your music?
Laila: A really big beautiful nightclub. Really lush and a really great sound system that is super powerful! We have also thrown around the idea we could play in a shopping center at a perfume stand (laughs) that would be a good offshoot.
Lastly what are your plans to take over the world?
Laila: (laughs) We are getting together soon to make more music and we are going to be doing the live shows the way we have always done, which is different each time and just building on the last thing. We have been recording stuff and are just still experimenting. We don’t want to put something out just for the sake of it. We want to put something out that is right for us. There is a difference between playing live and recording. They are two completely different things for us. But both of those things we want to continue with and do more of them.
Check out the enigma for yourself of the Melbourne THUMP Presents party this Thursday. Perfume Production will join Tornado Wallace and Jake Blood, so make sure you RSVP here.