An Interview with producer LP Giobbi
From swirling electronic melodies to earworm stream-of-consciousness raps to climactic beats – all layered over booming house bass sequences, producer LP Giobbi – nee Leah Chisholm – has fused her upbringing in a musical household and background in jazz study to her EDM songwriting, creating a sound appropriately described as Pianohouse.
With a high-energy live performance which has taken her around the globe, one may very likely be surprised to learn that the producer jumping atop the decks and whipping the crowd into a sweaty mass-movement frenzy over a rush of chest-rattling dance beats came from a much quieter environment.
“My parents were following the Grateful Dead and went to a show in Eugene, Oregon and ended up loving the town. I’m as Oregon as they come. My backyard was an actual forest,” LP laughs in her breathlessly quick way of speaking.
She developed an interest in music while very young, eventually going on to study jazz at UC Berkeley.
While she pursued work in music, it all seemed a path very unlikely for her to eventually end up being named as one of Billboard’s Emerging Dance Artists, a nod she was given in October of 2019.
“10 years ago I used to play jazz piano at this bar in San Francisco,” she explains. “Back in the day, Latane Hughes was a good friend of mine. We were both just children and he took me to my first electronic show. We walked into this tiny nightclub and it was Tornado Wallace playing an afterparty at the Outside Lands Festival. I didn’t know what a DJ did, I didn’t understand the concept. I was like, ‘where is the music coming from?’” she laughs.
Hughes proceeded to break down the form of electronic music for her.
“He said this is body music, it’s not for your mind necessarily. And that really spoke to me. I had just spent the last four years studying jazz, the theory of it, intellectualizing it. This was about escaping your mind and going into your body, like meditating. It was something I think I really needed after so much technical studying.”
LP Giobbi admits that discovering this new style of music sent her down a rabbit hole of research. Around the same time, she landed a job with a large west coast concert promoter. Characteristic of a faithful type of blind confidence that she would carry with her into her musical career, she simply walked into the company’s office carrying a letter for its CEO and asked the front desk to see him. In the moment he took the letter and she was given the job on the spot.
While the she used the job as an opportunity to learn the behind the scenes workings of the business of music and entertainment, that short time would also be her only job before attempting to make the leap into music.
“When I first decided I wanted to be a musician, I knew nothing. I spent a lot of time wanting to be cool and accepted in the dance community. But you just can’t listen to that. It isn’t about if your work is good or bad, it’s about finding the people that will like your work.”
While she describes the trepidation that goes into taking a leap from the safety of terra firma business-as-usual into living as an artist and performer, her work and motivation has eventually put her into a position where she can challenge herself.
“It wasn’t until I found the dancefloor that I found that it’s really about being a part of something greater than yourself. I’ve really tried to find my place in this world and it’s showed me that my purpose is to be a conduit of joy and share moments of acceptance and love as much as I can through my music.”
These days, having established herself as an artist and songwriter who can fill and shake to the core entire rooms at clubs and festivals, LP Giobbi has taken that personality of perpetually pushing and leaping to a non-profit project of hers called Femme House, which seeks to provide the tools for women to exist comfortably in the electronic music scene.
“For me Femme House is probably the thing I do that I have the biggest passion for. When I moved to LA to make music, we were constantly in rooms with male producers. Now I was raised by hippie parents and grew up believing I could do anything, but there was no visual representation of me in those roles.” She created Femme House which offers monthly classes to help teach not only the actual instruments, but things such as the language spoken in the studio so that those involved can communicate comfortably and accurately.
Citing her Deadhead parents and a strong identification with women’s rights and activist engagement throughout her younger years, LP admits the question of whether the work she was doing performing music was enough crossed her mind.
“I wondered if I was making enough of an impact on the world. But my mom would always say that giving people an escape for an hour to feel joy is important work. So that kind of is always something that I come back to. And my mom, recently, gave me all of her Grateful Dead shirts, that she got when she was my age. I’ve been wearing those onstage recently when I tour, and It really feels like home.”
On that, LP has been working seemingly tirelessly to bring her brand music and community forward. While seeing a club of dancers in the throes of an ecstatic musical state during her set may betray the work and learning and leaps of faith it took for her to arrive here, she alludes to what she had to learn to arrive at this place.
“You have to find a way to let the negative fuel you, and a way to let the positive fuel you. We all have the capacity to restructure our brains and turn all the negative thoughts into positive thoughts.”
And in the end, she’s taken her unique path and come back to a place where those intellectual moments have a place in her music.
“In the beginning I really had to separate from it, to stop intellectualizing it. That was a challenge for me. And I’ve just recently started creeping back the jazz theory into my playing. I do a lot of improvising during my show and a lot of that technical skill I recall from my jazz days, and building on the jazz chords, I’m starting to write music with these chords in my songs.”
Tune into her Soundcloud to her a variety of her musical projects, and follow her Instagram to see what she’s up to…
Instagram – @lpgiobbi
or head to KWNKradio.org to listen to Nocturnal Transmissions and other freeform programming for the Reno area.