THIS interview sees me speak with Lexytron…
as she talks about her debut single, Blackmail. I ask her how she got into music and which artists she grew up around. I was eager to learn where she heads next and whether we can catch her on tour – she highlights a rising band we need to get behind.
Lexytron tells me which musician she’d support given the chance and what her favourite memory from her career so far is; the three albums that mean a lot to her; if she gets time to unwind away from music – she ends the interview by selecting a great song.
Hi, Lexytron. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi, Sam. It’s going well. I’ve played a couple of low-key shows in South East London this week with Marco Meloni, who has mixed my album. He had a former career as a recording artist in Italy and now produces, mixes and teaches music. He is so passionate, so versatile and it’s a joy playing with him.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Simply put, I am a girl musician who writes songs and sings them. I have recorded an eleven-track album called Something Blue, which I worked on with Mike, the lead guitarist of indie rock band City Reign. The album crosses genres and does not fit neatly into a musical box - I can’t help it. I learned Classical piano and violin from a young age but I have Rock ‘n’ Roll in my blood.
Blackmail is your debut single. Is there a story behind the song?
The song is open to interpretation. I have described it as the Devil’s take on a love song, which is alluded to in the music video. The overarching theme is unbalanced and unreciprocated lust which borders on obsession. The music helps lighten the somewhat shady undertones!
It is from your forthcoming album, Something Blue. What sort of themes inspired the music on the record?
Each song has its own theme but broadly - rejection, loneliness; lust, love and female empowerment with a spatter of social commentary.
How did music come into your life? Did you grow up around a lot of different stuff?
Music has always been around me. My dad used to play Beatles tapes to put me to sleep but I had no idea who they were at the time so I guess I was hypnotised. I remember being really scared of Eleanor Rigby - there’s some really chilling strings on that song – and it’s a wonder I didn’t have nightmares. He also had a lot of different music playing in the house and in the car. He is Greek so it was everything from Savopoulous, who is like the Greek Bob Dylan, to South American panpipe music via more traditional Rock ‘n’ Roll dad-music like Bruce Springsteen and 1960s compilations.
When did you decide to get into music? Was there a moment you knew it was for you?!
My mum sent me to piano lessons aged six as my sister was learning so, in a way, she made that choice for me. Apparently, I used to watch Fiddler on the Roof as a toddler and imitate playing the violin in the mirror, so I started to learn it too. The moment I remember consciously becoming a music ‘fan’ is when I was about seven and my dad put on Sounds of the Sixties on BBC2 on a Friday evening. It was the first time I had seen The Beatles. I think it was a black-and-white performance of She Loves You.
Something connected in my head and heart (perhaps from the earlier hypnosis) and he handed me over his tapes which I started to listen to in my bedroom while playing with my Barbies and Polly Pockets.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
The album is finished so, for the rest of the year, I want to get out and play for people and get the word out about ‘Lexytron’. I just want people to hear and enjoy the music!
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
I played The Prince of Greenwich and there were some Ukrainians in town. I have a song called Gypsy Blue which has an Eastern European folkish flavour to it and they lapped it up and started wooping, clapping and joining in. Given that they had never heard it before, it was a nice feeling! Making someone’s night or bringing meaning to a moment in their life, no matter how fleeting, makes it all worthwhile.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Rubber Soul by The Beatles
It’s always hard to pick a Beatles album, but this album walks the tightrope between Rock ‘n’ Roll and Folk and is easy on the ear but with a lot of depth. I don’t know how they managed it. Each song has its own personality and emotions. I think that is why I strive to write ‘different’-sounding songs and to not hide my feelings in them.
In My Life is so short but it says so much - it took me a while to learn to play the superfast harpsichord solo myself - and it is so intricate but delightful and poignant. I’d like that song played at my funeral, but I performed it at a friend’s wedding.
Funeral by Arcade Fire
Sonically, this is such a beautiful album. I am a big fan of the band, but this will always be their high-point for me because of where and when it hit me. I am from a small town but I have since lived in many different cities, including two capitals, so perhaps I connect to that feeling of escapism on a deeper level.
Neighborhood #1 in particular is so dramatic and uplifting in the way the music builds up. They are perhaps the best musicians I have seen live. There is so much going on the stage and so many instruments! They may have classical sensibilities, but to me they are Rock ‘n’ Roll.
American Idiot by Green Day
This is the album where I finally understood why all the cool kids at school liked Green Day (I then went all the way back to 39/Smooth and moved forwards) and also introduced me to the world of Punk music which I did not grow up on. My dad was more of an Old Grey Whistle Test kind of guy so it was not something I ever heard in my house and my other source of music was the charts and radio. The songs are ambitious in structure and message.
A song like Homecoming is a gas of Who-like proportions. Billie Joe is a lyricist with no pretension and he writes very autobiographically and without filter. I admire that greatly. I think the reason he is perhaps not given the same kudos as other Rock icons is because he is still alive and kicking and making music in various guises.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Why not aim high? Paul McCartney - just to have an opportunity to meet him and thank him.
I would put my mum’s home cooking on the rider. My mum is Persian and food is a big part of her culture. Her cooking is not just about good food but it represents giving love. That’s why I always have eating marathon when I go home as she goes overboard to compensate for me not being there all the time. If Paul tasted it, he’d definitely want to hang out with me more! Win-win.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
I’m a new artist so I could do with all the advice I can get - perhaps to support our fellow artists!
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
Yes. In support of the first single, I’m playing locally:
30th October - The Reliance, Shoreditch
3rd November - The Allsop Arms, Marylebone
7th November - Lyttelton Arms, Camden
11th November - Plough, Bloomsbury
I will be announcing some more shows, hopefully outside of London, once the next song and album comes out! Stay tuned.
How important is it being on stage and performing? Do you love playing your music to the crowds?
Hugely important and I am looking forward to getting to play more and more because I love it. It is great to see the reactions of people to the words you sing and the sounds you make. When the crowd gets that, their positive energy is intoxicating and invigorating! You don’t want it to stop.
IN THIS PHOTO: False Advertising
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
False Advertising – they rock.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I love cooking and eating - food is an event for me. I love exploring the city of London and beyond, given that I am a Northerner. I love travelling to other countries too. I have been very fortunate that I grew up getting to go to Greece almost every summer but I am making it my mission to see as much as I can while I’m in this world.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam - A 1000 Times