THE unpredictable nature of music means each day…
brings something new and unexpected. Leyya are a case in point, for sure! They are a brilliant duo based out of Vienna – Austria is not a nation I spent a lot of time investigating! Marco and Sophie tell me about their fantastic new single, Drumsolo – and the video behind it. I ask about the scene in Austria and details about their new track; how Leyya came to be – and the sort of sounds they are both into.
I learn about their future plans and whether we can expect to see them come to the U.K.; whether they have any aims for 2018; what they have planned for Christmas – and the albums that mean the most to them.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Hello. We are fine, thank you. We thought, that after finishing the album, we’re having a little time for other things but, apparently, that is not the case: we’re still very busy preparing the tour and the release.
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
Hey. We are Marco and Sophie from Vienna, Austria - and we are a duo who write and produce Pop music in different variations.
Tell me about the new track, Drumsolo. What is the story behind the song?
Drumsolo is probably our favourite track of all the tracks we have ever written as Leyya. On the one hand it’s kind of ‘complex’ music-theoretically but, on the other hand, the vocal-melody is very catchy and simple - so, you don’t even notice the track’s quirkiness and that‘s the unique point of the song.
It has a very upbeat and sun-kissed sound – but some darker undertones. Was it quite an easy song to get together?! Synth pads, saxophones and bass mixes with Marco Kleebauer’s drumming. How integral was the percussion to the spirit of the song?!
Marco: As always; we started out with a rather silly idea, just for fun. Sophie and I were like: ‘Music on the radio right now sounds always the same - hooks all over the place and the vocal melody is always reduced to one or two notes‘. Don’t get us wrong here; that’s just a matter of fact, even though we do like quite a lot of that kind of music. So; we thought: ‘Let’s do something nobody does right now; even if it’s not a good idea...like a drum-solo or something hilarious like that‘.
So; we recorded a two-bar drum-solo which, unintentionally, gave the rhythmic foundation of the whole track. After laughing about the fact that we just recorded a drum-solo, we worked on a vocal melody and realised, that it actually works.
So we kept it...
What do you hope people get out of it?
We want our songs to have different layers so that everyone can find their ‘space’ in that song. You can listen to it as a ‘simple’ Pop-song...but you can also dive a little deeper and realise that there is more to that. It is always important to us that a song doesn‘t lose its magic after hearing it two or three times - and that there is always something to discover every time you hear it.
Is there going to be more material coming next year? What do you guys have planned?
We‘re releasing our new album, Sauna, on January 26th.
We have worked very hard the last two years on that. We knew exactly what we wanted the album to sound like and made hundreds of sketches - we deleted afterwards - just to translate the exact ideas we had in our heads into these final songs. We are extremely happy with the result - and we can't wait for the people to finally hear it and to play them live.
How did you guys get together and form Leyya? Is there significance behind that name, too?
Sophie: Marco and I come from the same little town in Upper-Austria - where it is quite hard to find someone with the same musical interests. We always made music together and, at one point, where we finally found our sound, we decided to convert into a project. The name ‘Leyya‘ was originally the name of my singer-songwriter project that we just kept.
What sort of music were you both raised on? Did you discover music at a very young age?
In our village, we have a small music school that we both attended at an early age but, instead of joining traditional marching bands later - which was common in our village - we both concentrated more on ‘modern‘ music. I started writing songs (in English, although I almost didn‘t know a word) when I was eleven - just with an acoustic guitar and my voice. Marco played the drums and started to produce his own ‘Electronic’ tracks. We formed a Rock band together when we were around thirteen/fourteen and, when we grew older, our music grew with us.
We learned a lot just by experimenting with recording.
Vienna is where you are based. What is the city like in terms of music and opportunities?
We moved to Vienna a few years ago because, at home, we couldn’t really find an audience or someone to work with - and that kind of limits your creative output. Although Austria is very small in general; Vienna does have a little community and it is easier to reach certain people. But, still, most Austrian musicians concentrate on ‘expanding‘ a little bit and try to bring their music out of Austria as well...
We have loads of good musicians in Austria - but it seems as if the rest of the world fails to see that.
Who are the new artists you recommend we check out?
An Austrian band, who has just released an album that is amazing, is 5K HD.
IN THIS PHOTO: 5K HD/PHOTO CREDIT: Astrid Knie Photography
If you each had to select the one album that means the most to you; which would they be and why?
Marco: I‘d probably choose Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd
Because my parents used to play the album in the house back then, when I was a child. Actually, there is no ‘best album’ - but there‘s just a lot of memories attached to that specific record.
Sophie: Alabama Shakes’ Sound & Colour
This record has such a feeling to it without getting cheesy. Every instrument is on-point and Brittany‘s vocals always drive through my spine. It has inspired me a lot the last few years.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
I think it is very important to focus and stick to the music you believe in. There will always be people trying to change your sound or the way you make music just to fit in a certain scheme. Or people who say, you can‘t have success, because you‘re not mainstream enough.
It‘s important to believe in what you‘re doing and to withstand the pressure others give you and you maybe even give yourself.
What tour dates do you have approaching? Where can we see you play?
We‘re doing a small tour around Europe in February: Germany, Austria; Netherlands, Belgium etc. In March, we‘re playing in North America, Texas and Mexico.
We‘ll continue touring in April and May with some more dates in Europe (that we‘ll announce on our website).
Do you think you will come and perform in the U.K.? What do you think of the music we make over here?
We have already played a few times in the U.K. - only a month ago, actually. But, we‘re coming back, for sure.
Christmas is not too far away. Do you both have plans already - or will you be busy working?
We both are celebrating the holidays with our families but, until then, we‘ll be working towards the release - and try to start a few new things as well to keep ourselves and our creativity fresh.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Marco: Curtis Mayfield – Hard Times
Sophie: 5K HD - Gimme