23 Sep 2020
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Lexytron - Newsletter Interview: Lexytron

18 Feb 2020 // An interview by Chris Chick

Lexytron, the new alternative rock outfit have been working on their debut album here in New
Zealand, Something Blue. Due to be released on all good streaming platforms on 20 March 2020, Something Blue crosses genres, flinging the dirt and danger of rock n roll against the bleeding heart and melody of Mozart.

The journey of Lexytron is an intriguing and inspiring one that took them all the way around the world from the UK to New Zealand. Chris from Muzic.net.nz had the privilege of talking to Lexy, the brains behind this magical journey, about how she got into music, what her main influences are and the impact music has on her.

You are originally from Manchester, UK, a vibrant city known for its music scene. How did you find your way over to Aotearoa?

Yes, I was born in Manchester, then moved across the Pennines around Sheffield and then moved back to Manchester as a young adult. It’s such a fabulous city for culture, particularly for music, and I spent many a late night hanging out in The Castle Hotel, which has the most amazing jukebox. My musical collaborator and partner in Lexytron, Mike, moved from London to Manchester just because he loved Manchester bands. I found my way to Aotearoa as one of those random opportunities in life came up, and we’d heard nothing but great things from friends about it. I’d lived in Stockholm, Sweden, for a year before and had the most wonderful time meeting some of the coolest people I know. I am a real believer in putting yourself in unfamiliar and uncomfortable situations as you often learn a lot about yourself and the world around you. I have been in Aotearoa for seven months now, and I couldn’t be happier! I’ve road-tripped quite a bit in the South Island and Auckland, but I know I’ve got a lot of ground to cover yet!

With your varied background of Greek, Persian, and English heritage, do these influence your music in a big way?

I would say, “Yes and no”. My record collection is probably no different to a lot of indie kids growing up in England, though I was probably the only seven year old listening to The Beatles in my class. My dad played a lot of British and American music from the 50's to 70's when I was growing up, whilst my sister was listening to Britpop, so rock n roll is in my DNA. Having said that, Dad used to play Savvopoulos, who is like the Greek Bob Dylan, as well as some more traditional Greek music around the house, but there was also classical music and bits of world music like Incantation, who played South American instruments. I think my parents’ cultures no doubt have coloured my personality, and I guess that feeds into the way I see the world and what I write lyrically.

Can you give a brief description to what your new release is about, and what was the driving force behind it?

My latest single is Tell The Vein, which I describe as a song about being the gatekeeper of your heart to stop feeling pain, grief and anger. However, it’s not just a love/heartbreak song but also an allegory about being an ‘outsider’ - maybe a social outcast or maybe a person who is returning from the verge of a nervous breakdown. Despite its darker tones and meaning, it’s a fun bit of power pop. 

That song comes from my forthcoming album Something Blue. I’ve been describing the record as crossing genres and an alternative girl’s guide to love, loss and lust, which I think is pretty accurate. Maybe your website will think differently when you review it, which is why I’m naturally inquisitive about reviews, simply because other people notice things you don’t or project aspects of themselves onto the lyrics, like we all do when we listen to music.

For the casual listener, why should they pick up a copy of your work?

Because Something Blue is an indie girl’s version of The White Album, as I don’t shy away from different styles within the structure of a pop record. We are multifaceted as people, and I’d like to think so is my ‘art’. You will find roaring riffs and distortion on a song like Blackmail and then an angelic choral arrangement on a song like The Veil Of Veronica. Plus, when I say ‘indie’ I mean ‘indie’ as it’s released on my own label ‘Persian Punk records’ - written by me, produced with Mike and mixed and mastered in London by a fellow musician, Marco - yet I think it is still intricate and polished. For example, the violins you hear on the album are not fake - that is me playing the violin! I played the record for an old friend and she said, ‘the album sounds like the same lead singer fronting lots of different bands’, which I saw as a good thing.

What was the journey like in regards to getting the sound you wanted?

Fun! I’d never made a record before and there was no rulebook and no need for me to be confined to the ‘indie rock’ genre. Mike had made two albums with his previous band City Reign but he had never actually produced anything, so it meant that there was a lot of experimenting going on too. Sometimes it was hard to capture the sound I had in my head because I didn’t know how to explain it. As a musician, I suppose I am classically-trained as opposed to Mike who grew up playing in bands, so I’d have to talk about things broadly and hope he got what I meant!

What was one positive and one challenging aspect of this project?

Other than the obvious constraints with making an indie record that I’ve touched on, Mike had the tendency to record lots of cool guitar parts as he’s a fab guitarist, so we had to be a bit ruthless when it came to mixing the record and trim some of the ‘fat’.

I saw first-hand how much bloody hard work it is to make music! I’ve been a listener and an interpreter of music for much of my life that I did not appreciate the journey from writing a song through to recording it and then ‘finishing’ it. Yet, I am happy with the fact that I actually made a record. It’s like I had all these sketches, but I was able to add colour and detail to them that I didn’t have before.

Are you mindful of the potential influence you may have on people? And does this make you change the way you do things in anyway?

I think it would be bold of me to claim that I have a potential influence on people given that I’m certainly no Taylor Swift or Billie Eilish. However, on a very small-scale, I have seen that both the act of me making the album and releasing the songs has had a wee ripple effect on the people around me. For instance, I have seen other creative/musician friends start to pick their pens up or get back in the studio, and I know that one of my songs has really influenced a fan/friend who is battling mental illness. She has produced a really beautiful ‘doodle’ of some of my lyrics from a song called Gypsy Blue that I’ve played live a number of times, which says “You are my sunshine, you are my lifeline, you are my friend when I feel blue”. She also entered a cancer charity dance competition to one of my songs. Plus, I’ve received some ‘fan mail’ from some unexpected places like India where I didn't even realise I had a listenership! Things like that mean a lot to me. However, it will not change the way I do things in future. I am just being me, and like I’ve learned in life, those who like you will like you or love you, and those who don’t, won’t and that’s OK too!

As an artist, what is the impact of music on you personally?

Music always lifts me - whether it is because my spirits need lifting or because I am in the mood for dancing and blowing off some steam. When the shit hits the fan, I will just go play piano or mess around with my ukulele - and on some occasions, that has led to some of the songs on my album. Seeing a band live can be a life-altering experience - that’s how I met Mike, my collaborator, in a roundabout way, and some of the most fun people I’ve had the fortune of knowing. I don’t imagine I’d be half as interesting without music in my life - I’m sure a lot of artists say that! 

Where do you stand in regards to New Zealand music going into the new decade? Is it looking strong? Are there some challenges on the horizon?

I’m no expert yet on the music over here as I’m still discovering artists. I didn’t know who the Kiwi legend Dave Dobbyn was before I came here! However, I’ve been getting out and about and seeing new bands. I recently went to the Sawmill in Leigh, and I saw Surf Friends, who are signed to Flying Nun records. They were excellent and the best live band I’d seen in a long while - it was a pretty raucous rock n roll night as there was a stage invasion from a massive hen party called the Double Ds, who were wearing oversized bras on the outsides of their t-shirts, a bit like the Regina George look in Mean Girls. I wondered how a great band like that sustains their music ‘career’ in these difficult times where rock n roll is no longer at the forefront of the industry. Similarly, I recently played the same show as Geoff Ong, who is another fab local musician, and I was surprised to find out afterwards that he’d had hits in the New Zealand chart yet was not signed. I find this concerning that the industry, for some reason unknown to me, does not seem to be supporting an artist like that! On the other hand, The Beths are a great example of where things are looking strong - I caught them in London last year supporting Death Cab For Cutie and now they’re going to be part of The Hella Mega Tour! What an achievement!

Going forwards, what can we expect from Lexytron? Any exciting projects in the future?

I am looking forward to letting the music do the talking from the day Something Blue is released! It means that I am able to get back to writing, recording and playing music again. The next album will be recorded here in Aotearoa, so I’m really excited about meeting like-minded individuals and getting out and about with testing the songs around Auckland anywhere that’ll have me. I’m open to working with other artists here - whether it is playing a gig or getting in the studio - so perhaps I can use this interview as an open casting call! Hit me up on the socials - Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or my website www.lexytron.com if you like what I do!

Bonus fun question, if you could play your music in one place where would that be?

I’ve always been a fan of the concept of playing in unexpected places. I saw The Strokes play the Natural History Museum in London and Queens Of The Stone Age play in a bingo hall in Oxford. I’d be down with doing a gig in a beautiful historic church if it was back in England as the acoustics would be epic. Otherwise, like Blur sent their music to Mars, I’d be up for confusing some Martians! 

What are the important dates for us to remember in terms of releases and gigs coming up for you?

I am looking at live dates after the album’s release, so for now, the big date in your diaries should be 20 March 2020, which is the date you can hear Something Blue in full on all good online streaming platforms!

Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us, and from everyone here at Muzic.net.nz, all the best for your future here in New Zealand.

 

About Lexytron

“Half Greek, half Persian and half English” as she described herself age 5; Manchester-born Lexy found her identity in music early on as a pianist and violinist. Her debut album Something Blue crosses genres - flinging the dirt and danger of rock n roll against the bleeding heart and melody of Mozart - and is an alternative girl's guide to love, loss and lust.




Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Lexytron

Releases

Something Blue
Year: 2020
Type: Album

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