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Credit: @youraurelia

Get To Know: LUMI

Get acquainted with LUMI, the Seattle-based DJ and producer making a splash with her dark, stylish and introspective take on techno

Artists have different reasons for recreating themselves. LUMI can personally point to a few. “We’re constantly going through these growth cycles, and it almost feels like mine have been pretty quick,” the Finnish-American producer tells DJ Mag on an afternoon video call from Seattle, where she currently resides. “You’re growing and it’s uncomfortable, then you’re at the peak thinking, ‘Oh my god, I feel really good! Everything’s amazing! I found myself again!’, and then something happens and you’re right back to this phase of ‘okay, I need to be better here. I need to grow here. Now it’s uncomfortable again.’”

She rolls her crystal blue eyes and lets out a chuckling sigh, alluding to how challenging this game of mental ping-pong can be. “I’m just constantly making music about recreating myself, over and over again,” she says in summation. LUMI explores this notion on her HE.SHE.THEY. Records debut — a three-track EP aptly titled ‘Who Am I’, which landed on the inclusive imprint on 3rd May. Listen through the tunes, and it’s clear that the rising star is gliding toward yet another creative summit. Featuring her eclectic vocals and a shadowy palette of techno-licked textures, ‘Who Am I’ is indeed a departure from her ‘Look The Other Way’ EP, which graced Sian’s Octopus Recordings earlier this year.

“The first EP was definitely more soft and groovy,” she shares of its aura. “This one has a grittier feel to it.” Both collections bear a dark aesthetic, but ‘Who Am I’ explores a new edge, starting with a title track that asks the existential question in succession. LUMI’s distorted voice floats above an ultra-crisp composition of choppy synths and driving drums, resulting in a cut that bores its way into your head and stays there. ‘Higher’ and ‘Hold Me’ are similarly hypnotising, with the latter closing the EP on a more melodic note.

Photo of LUMI wearing a yellow cropped rain jacket and holding a fish in a reflective blue room
Credit: @youraurelia

The project’s concept also nods to LUMI’s experience growing up within multiple cultures. Born in America, LUMI spent much of her youth moving back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean, living between Helsinki and a varied list of US states, including Texas, Florida, and Washington. “I’ve just developed this sense of being able to adapt to anywhere,” she explains of a key benefit of her cross-continental upbringing. “A lot of Finnish people are super shy, really timid, and they are more nervous to talk to people and maybe leave their home country, but I thrive on that. I’ve learned to become very extroverted.” This adaptability is proving to be an asset in her newfound career, too.

LUMI found herself with unexpected free time when Finland went into lockdown in 2020. To offset the monotony of her full-time job, she turned to music, reigniting a passion for self-expression that began percolating during childhood, back when she, her sister, and best friend performed Miley Cyrus covers at home. “I was spending hours and hours and hours just DJing all night, every night making sure I honed in on the skill, and producing, too — I started both at the same time,” the self-taught artist explains of pandemic-era sessions. “I wanted to be good and it pissed me off that I wasn’t, so I just made sure I learned it, basically.”

Her surrounding environment and other unprecedented circumstances likely had an impact on her signature sound. “[Finland] is a dark place, it’s a cold place, and I was there during those two years, so it kind of makes sense,” she shares of why her discography isn’t quite as bubbly as Miley’s. But fast-forward to just a few years later, and LUMI’s found her place in the sun. She’ll make her Day Trip Festival debut in Long Beach, California on 22nd June, where she’ll no doubt still be riding high on the thrill of releasing with one of her dream labels. “They’re legendary,” she says of HE.SHE.THEY. “They’re so accepting of everyone — no matter who you are, no matter what you represent.”

Living all over the world meant there were times when LUMI didn’t always feel a sense of belonging. In those moments, she turned toward adaptation, and eventually recreation. “This is definitely a place where everyone feels welcome,” she adds. Well, LUMI, in that case, please stay awhile.