Club Chai co-founder FOOZOOL (aka Lara Sarkissian) guides us through clattering rhythms, squealing vocals and gut-churning bass on this week’s FACT mix.
It’s tough to write about Lara Sarkissian without reeling off a litany of achievements. A founder member (alongside 8ULENTINA) of the Bay Area’s Club Chai club night, label and curatorial project, Sarkissian has spent the last few years finding innovative ways to fuse non-Western sounds with contemporary Western culture, melting her influences into pummeling club constructions.
Club Chai has become a focal point for the Bay’s club scene, a place to explore the space between binaries via performance and participation, and as FOOZOOL, Sarkissian has anchored the night with her urgent edits and cross-genre DJ sets. But that’s only scratching the surface.
Sarkissian also records music under her birth name, penning ambient and experimental tracks that explore her Armenian heritage and working on soundtracks for short films and audiovisual installations. And she’s also a filmmaker and producer: her latest project, JADDOLAND, a collaboration with director/cinematographer Nadia Shihab detailing “the search for belonging across generations”, debuts in October.
For her FACT mix, Sarkissian offers a colorful entry point into her world. Sultry jazz tumbles into traditional Armenian music before a pounding kick drum cuts through the fog, setting the stage for almost an hour of wobbly club edits, flutes and winding synthesizers, gut-churning bass and the occasional R&B vocal. This is what club music can represent when it’s untethered from toxic structures, and it’s something to be celebrated.