Denver producer, performer, and artist StéLouse—pronounced “stay loose”—proudly lives up to the term #genrekiller.
Inspired by everything from Metallica, Tool, and Pantera to AFI and The Prodigy, the long-haired electronic music maverick actually began his career playing guitar in rock bands, slogging it out on the road and developing a keen musical sensibility. In 2011, his band Boys won a Guitar Center competition, granting a $30,000 reward and a slot opening for Jane’s Addiction on the Nothing’s Shocking 20th anniversary tour.
“The funny thing is, we had already broken up by the time we got the news,” he laughs. “We decided to get back together for the tour. Out of the money, I bought a really nice MacBook, some programs, stuck my face in that thing, and taught myself how to produce. On tour, I made some of my first electronic productions.”
Needless to say, the group disbanded following the jaunt. However, StéLouse continued to diligently create electronic music, locking himself in the studio for marathon sessions.
“I was super ambitious and determined to learn,” he explains. “I quit hanging around with all of my friends. My girlfriend left me because all I did was make music on the computer. A few people thought I died for a while because I disappeared off the planet!”
In 2013, he posted an edit of Doja Cat’s “So High” on Soundcloud, and she reposted it. The production started to quickly catch fire. He built a steady following through constantly uploading new music and scored a deal with Australia’s Die High Records who would release his EP, The City, in 2014. All the while, his sound morphed into a hypnotic crossover hybrid.
“I’m a nineties kid,” he continues. “I was super into a lot of electronic music from the late nineties. It was something that I’d always loved. It just felt like the right time. I was eased into the style by electronic music with a rock attitude. It’s not just one thing.”
Off the strength of his inimitable style, he inked a deal with Casablanca Records in early 2016. Now, the single “It’s Over” featuring Andrew Paley of post-punk luminaries The Static Age illuminates the idiosyncrasies and intricacies of StéLouse. The song tempers rapturous synths, skittering keys, and a lush cinematic swell with Paley’s breathy vocals.
“The Static Age is one of my favorite bands ever,” he exclaims. “I hit up Andrew blindly on social media, and he agreed to sing on the track. The track has a deep meaning. One day when I woke up, one of my pet rats was very sick and dying. Given that emotional weight, I opened up the session, took those chords, and built the entire song. It’s about closure and loss, but not in such a depressing way.”
Ultimately, he’s got a slew of surprises in store within his music. “Music can become a soundtrack to your life at that moment,” he leaves off. “You can literally access all of these emotions and feelings. That’s what music means to me. I’d love to share that with listeners everywhere.”