Interview: Lexytron

Lexytron is an alternative singer originally from Manchester and of Persian and Greek descent, now based in New Zealand. She’s just released her debut album, Something Blue, an album where she experiments with multiple styles. If you like Regina Spektor and her anti-folk/indie pop music and you’re looking for someone new and up and coming, give this album a spin. It’s available to stream on Spotify. We’re lucky to have Lexy on the blog here to talk about her album and her story. She describes music as a marriage between creative writing and interpreting music, two things she started doing from a young age. She’s also a big fan of 60s music! If you want to learn more about her, keep on reading!

Angie Moon: How would you describe your music to a new listener?

Lexy: I have been saying ‘Something Blue’ is an alternative girl’s version of The White Album, as I flirt with different styles within the structure of a pop record. You will find heavier rock and punk sensibilities on tracks like ‘Blackmail’ and ‘Intermittent’ but then classical and folk influences on ‘Gypsy Blue’, which is like a Balkan-flavoured knees-up at Jay Gatsby’s pad, and ‘The Veil Of Veronica’ which is just me playing piano with a choral arrangement. I played the album for an old friend who told me that the album sounds like the same lead singer fronting lots of different bands, which I saw as a good thing.

Angie: How did you get started in making music?

Lexy: It was a happy accident actually. I started writing music when I got my first place. I embraced my newly-found freedom, as I could play music at any hour, but at the same time, I found that I had all these thoughts and no-one to communicate them to face-to-face.

I have always been an interpreter of music, from learning classical piano and violin as a little girl, and I used to like creative writing at school, so I just experimented by putting the two skills together. Whilst I’m sure if I go back to the first few songs now I’ll find they sucked, there must have been enough that wasn’t terrible which made me feel comfortable to carry on!

Angie: Which musicians were your biggest inspirations?

Lexy: The Beatles probably because they are the band that I’ve listened to most in my life, and they are the template for modern musicians. I love music from the 1960s from The Kinks to France Gall, so I expect that taste for pop hooks and melody runs through my songs.

Green Day are another inspiration because their songs led me to discover the original punk scene, and I expect some of the anger and directness of my lyrics were helped along by hearing that kind of freedom. Billie Joe Armstrong does not hold back and writes about everything from his panic disorder to slobbing around, watching the tube and masturbating.

Arcade Fire are another band I admire because they team their classical sensibilities with these dramatic escalating rock songs. Regina Spektor is also someone I looked at and thought I could do this – she played piano, has curly hair and is a daughter of immigrants like me.  It made me realise that pop musicians come in all packages.

Angie: What brought you to New Zealand?

Lexy: Maybe the fresh air? I guess it was one of those random opportunities that came up in life, and I moved with my partner and collaborator, Mike. I had just started to get out on the London live scene with my songs, but I found that a lot of my support had come from overseas blogs and radio stations – the rest of Europe and North and South America. I realised that I could still connect with fans  from all over without having to be physically in front of them, and I figured that I would be able to find opportunities here as there is an active music scene. Sometimes shaking things up means that you end up learning a lot about yourself and being inspired by new things. I am interested to see how my shifting perspectives affect the music I make next.

Angie: What are the differences between the music scenes in England versus in New Zealand?

Lexy: The venues in Auckland are very similar to the kind of venues you would get in a decent-sized English city and then smaller grittier venues like Whammy Bar and Wine Cellar. I went to a really interesting venue called The Sawmill which was like having The Leadmill (an iconic Sheffield venue) or Deaf Institute (in Manchester) but in the middle of the Peak District.

We went kayaking by day on the beach, watched a very sweaty raucous gig in the evening, and ended up camping in a field of strangely mooing cows by night.  That is probably where New Zealand is very different! I am still learning about the scene here so no doubt I will notice more differences as time goes on.

Angie: How does your heritage inspire your sound and songwriting?

Lexy: It is difficult to pick that apart, but what I can say is that my heritage has moulded my personality, and I guess that feeds into the way I see the world and what I write lyrically. For example, my experience of Persians and Greeks is that they can be very emotional people who love hard and speak their mind.

Musically speaking, my record collection is probably no different to a lot of other British indie kids, especially those with older siblings who were listening to Britpop and grunge. Having said that, Dad used to play Savvopoulos, who is like the Greek Bob Dylan, as well as Greek folk music around the house, plus classical music and sounds from all over really like South America, so it was a real melting pot.

Angie: What was writing and recording Something Blue like?

Lexy: Fun! I’d never made a record before plus there was no rulebook and no specification for me to make an indie rock record. 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. I learned how to play classical music as opposed to Mike who learned how to play rock n roll guitar, so I’d sing what I heard and talk broadly about the vibe I was going for and hope he knew how to create that sound.

The writing and song structure was done by me for when I entered the studio. I had all these sketches of the songs, and I just needed to fill in the colour and add detail.  The details like the additional instrumentation, backing vocals and some of the riffs were developed in the studio as we put the songs together.

Angie: What are the songs on your album about?

Lexy: From my perspective, the classic themes that unite the human experience – love, lust and loss plus rejection and isolation with a spatter of social commentary. It is not for me to say what each song is about individually because I feel that this would spoil it for the listener, whose job it is to interpret those songs and apply them to their life.

What I have been enjoying about the process of releasing the music is finding out what people think about the songs and the messages they have taken from them. For example, ‘The Veil Of Veronica’ was triggered after I saw a painting with this name in a gallery, but I received a wonderful interpretation of the song which is that it is about this post-truth era that we live in where ‘Fake News’ and ‘Alternative Facts’ are part of our vernacular. I am not saying that is what it is about, but I loved that interpretation.  I want my music to be a dialogue between me and the listener.

Angie: What are your goals for the year?

Lexy: Well, with the city of Auckland on lockdown for at least four weeks, I might be able to get going with some more songwriting and even start playing around in the studio on some demos. It would be wonderful to meet some other creative minds when the fog lifts who can get involved in the project over here. My live plans have taken a backseat for now, as I was in the midst of mapping some Kiwi dates, but one way or another, I will be doing something live for fans.

You can follow Lexytron on Facebook, Instagram, Bandcamp, and Twitter.

Shoutout to my friends Patrick and Matt for supporting the blog!

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