Get to know London’s hottest new Electro Pop duo, Lejon. Charlie and Laurence share the same passion for electronic music, leading them to make full use of their creativity by taking part of a joint project. Somehow, I find a strong influence of synthesized music from the 80s in their productions. Find out much more about them, including their latest single “I Won’t Talk” in this exclusive interview.
1 – Do you remember the day you met each other?
C – It was about 7 years ago; I’d been playing drums for a blues artist who’d decided he wanted to add keys to the lineup, and turned up with Laurence to the rehearsal studio one day. We hit it off straight away! From there we both went onto session with various different artists together for a few years until one day Loz got me down to his open mic in Ealing, West London and played the first iteration of a Lejon song, which eventually turned into ‘If’, our third single. I was sold from that day and we’ve been producing and writting together as Lejon since then.
L – Nearly 7 years ago. It was a bleak damp day in Brent Cross. I saw Charlie across the room of dank, dark studio. It stunk but it was fine; we escaped for smoke breaks, go out and shoot the breeze over a cigarette and talk about our interests and what we were going to play.
2 – Since when did you have a passion for synths and Electro Pop melodies?
C – My love of all things synth started relatively late. Growing up I was always much more into rock music so guitars and big loud drums were my thing! Once I hit university and started studying production a lot more, I found the endless sounds and tones you can get from synthesis fascinating. That’s also the time I started listening to a lot more electronic music, and trying to recreate some of the sounds I was hearing.
L – My Ex got me into electronic music. I used to be a heavy jazz, funk and soul kid then discovered bridges between them and electronic. I think Jai Paul was my gateway drug.
3 – Personally, I think Laurence has a similar vocal range to Rick Astley, which is awesome. Have you ever been compared to him before?
L – No mate, have you..?
C – Ha! Actually, we usually get either Dan from Bastille or Michael McDonald!
L – Last week a well-known singer described us as “Years and Years meets Spandaux Ballet” which is what I think the world needs right now. 😉
4 – Let’s talk about your new single “I Won’t Talk”. How does it feel to have it out? How many hours did you spend in the studio?
C – It feels great to have it out! We’ve had it in our live set for the best part of a year now, so to finally have it finished and out there is great. Loz actually brought it as an almost fully formed song to the studio one day, so from there producing it up didn’t take that long (maybe 3 or so studio days). The longest bit turned out to be the mix stage, as our mix engineer Chris Hewitt from LA Sound Studios spent days tweaking the final mix – I’ve never seen so much automation in 2.5 minute tune!
L – Stoked, it’s a breakthrough in a new direction for us. It’s a testimony to how we’ve matured with writing, can’t wait for next year. “I Won’t Talk” was one of those songs that happened very quickly, I was alone in the studio one night and it just spilled out. I called a guitarist that same evening to come round and do all the string parts. The song sorta wrote itself when I look back on it. Ace when that happens.
5 – Why did you pick the song title “I Won’t Talk”?
L – Do you mean what’s the song about? I won’t talk I guess is a love letter to my past but from the “other” perspective. Whether or not it’s accurate is in rhetoric for the time being. None of us are perfect and I feel ‘I Won’t Talk’ is a vessel for that.
6 – Do you have plans to release an official music video?
C – Something is on the way…
7 – Are you already collecting new ideas for your next song? If that’s the case please tell us more!
C – We’ve got our next 3 single ready to go, so look out for them over the coming months. Beyond that we’re already writing our next collection of songs, this time trying to do some more writing with other people. We’ve just had a wicked couple of days writing with New York electro heads ‘French Horn Rebellion’ and have plans for more co-writes in the coming months too.
L – I’m always jotting stuff down. The next challenge is to write with other people which we’ve recently embarked on.
C – Only once, where we were invited by The Bearded Man/Armada to perform at Amsterdam Dance Event 2016. We ended up playing at The Melkveg on the Saturday night of the festival as part of the ‘Lost Frequencies and Friends’ night, playing alongside people like Jan Blomqvist and Pablo Nouvelle. Still one of our favourite gigs we’ve ever done. We’d love to go back and perform in Europe more in particular – European crowds have such a passion for the kind of music we make.
9 – What is the link that currently exists between you and the Armada imprint, The Bearded Man?
C – Nothing current. We only signed a three single deal with them, which covered our last three releases. For the foreseeable future we’re self-releasing our music via AWAL, the distribution partner for Kobalt Music. So far we love doing it this way – it’s a lot more work, but it’s worth it as it allows us to completely dictate everything we want to do and when. It’s great that artists can now be in complete control of their own music and careers.
10 – Last off, is there anything you would like to say to your fans?
C – Thank you for all the support you’ve shown us over the last three years. We genuinely couldn’t do it without people listening to and loving our music and what we do, so thank you.
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Exclusive Interview: Jenna x On Debut Single “When The Party’s Over..”
Jenna x emerges in 2021 with “When The Party’s Over..” which is an incredible debut single that plays equally as well at the party, at the afterparty, or the next morning. Definitely, the best asset is her melodious singing voice. Scroll down and learn more in this exclusive interview.
1 — First of all, how would you describe your sound?
My sound is constantly evolving within Pop, but it’s more cinematic. I envision each of my songs as a scene from a film and try to capture everything that would be there—the temperature of the sunlight, the scent in the air, the city sounds, and the words that are being spoken.
2 — Why did you pick “When The Party’s Over..” as your debut single?
It was the exact type of sound and message that I wanted to release as my debut single. I also think that it’s a good representation of me as an artist because it’s a song that I really tried to be honest with myself about, as well as the other parts of myself that I am revealing, like my inner thoughts, emotions, and philosophies.
3 — Is this song based on a personal experience?
Yes! The party in my song is both literal and figurative—I, like anyone else, have gone to a party or a large gathering just to fill the emptiness I was feeling inside, only to leave with a greater sense of loneliness. I’ve also felt like I have nowhere to go emotionally, which is the figurative part of the song.
4 — What’s your favorite line from it? Why?
The entire chorus is my favorite part, especially the “will there be anyone to watch me die / someone just shows me how to cry” part. I think they really capture the essence of the song and are the parts where I am the most direct with what I want to say. The second half of the chorus is almost like a cry for help you can’t ever let out.
For me, they usually come together but for this song, the lyrics came first. I had a clear idea of what I wanted the song to be about lyrically and then used the melody to fill in the blanks.
6 — Given the situation the world is in at the moment, do you miss partying?
I’m not the type to usually enjoy large parties, but I do really miss gatherings with my closest friends. But who knows—by the time this is all over I might be dying to go to a huge party.
7 — What makes you different from other singers?
I like to think of my music as very visual—I always try to paint a picture with my music and focus on what the music is painting. Each sound is like a color I use to paint the song, and the way they are delivered are the brushstrokes.
I think I had a lot of phases where I was into different types of music and different artists. I grew up listening to singer-songwriters like Stevie Wonder and The Beatles. I was always fascinated with how brilliant and revolutionary their melodies and lyrics were. Later in my teens, I had A Great Big World’s albums on repeat. A part of me is also in love with classical composers, like Elgar and Rachmaninoff. The second movement of Elgar’s Serenade for Strings is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve ever heard.
9 — When you’re not at the studio, how do you usually spend your time?
Usually prepping for studio time! But if I’m not working on music, I’ll watch movies or binge a show. Right now I’m on season 4 of Criminal Minds, and it’s been sucking me in. I’ve also been really busy these days with my new release and everything that goes along with it, but I’ll still find time to video chat with my friends and listen to my favorite albums on repeat.
10 — What are your plans for the upcoming months?
Working! I have an EP coming out in February, so I’m prepping for the release and other music that I’ll release during this year. The upcoming EP is part two of the story of loneliness I started telling with “When The Party’s Over..” and the more colorful, visual part of the story, so I’ll be working a lot on perfecting that. I also hope to be wherever I can be with my music, doing whatever I can to express myself through it.
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Dar.Ra Talks Latest Single And Confirms New Album In 2021 — Interview
Following the release of his latest single “Rise Like The Sun” along with its proper EP, Dar.Ra also plans to drop a new album in 2021. ‘Ballads For The Down-Trodden’ has been confirmed to be out by the end of January. In this exclusive interview, the British artist talks about the recent single, the most important details on the upcoming album, but also his various side projects, which include his own radio show.
1 – Can you reveal to us the name of your upcoming album?
I have two new projects out, a single called “Rise Like The Sun” with 6 killer remixes. One from Columbia and one from Sri Lanka from a killer Producer called Vidula who did the “Lights” remix from the new kinda normal album.
I did the other mixes which have a tribal House feel and an Ambient 6 am Chill Out mix. All mixes have a Sunshine title, from UK Sunshine mix, Indian Sun mix to Australian, Indonesian, USA, and Columbian mix. It’s all about not being dictated too in your time here and “Rising Like The Sun” every day of your life.
The other project is more of an alias back vibe and is a compilation of slower more Ballad type songs that I have had released over the years. I am doing a radio show called The Kusha Deep Radio show which is going out around the world through various Radio outlets and I did this show which featured some of the laid-back tracks I’ve done and I thought it would make a great album of torchlight songs. The album is 12 tracks long and is titled ‘Ballads For The Down-Trodden’ and is out later this month.
I am also working on a new album of songs for the spring with a new single planned for the first quarter of the year release.
2 – Were there specific things that helped you get creative?
I’m always inspired by life, it’s hard not to be unless you shut off from what’s going on around you. Even in the middle of a global pandemic, I had two singles out “Stand Up For The Heroes”, “Rise Like The Sun” and the ‘Whisky n Honey’ EP plus two remixes out. I also started doing a new project which is now syndicated around the world called The Kusha Deep Radio Show, which started off playing tracks that I had out over the past 25 years.
I also started doing a TV show with a Washington DC-based journalist MJ Godfrey which is a cultural review show looking at things happening in the UK and the USA. I’ve also written the next album to follow up on 2019’s ‘New Kinda Normal’. If you stay open to ideas and let them flow it’s a natural vibe for staying creative.
3 – Are you discovering new sounds on this new record?
I explore different sounds all the time, I’m getting known for merging styles and creating new hybrids like Rock Step a vibe that featured on the ‘New Kinda Normal’ album which mixed the elements of Rock and EDM together which you can feel on tracks like “Nightstepper,” “The Beat” and “Heart Shape Pill.” There’s also a genre called Gothic Soul which you can hear on tracks like “The Lights” and “Whisky n Honey.” I was feeling the Latin vibe on “Rise Like The Sun.”
I wanted something uplifting that holds no allegiance to what’s happening in the charts but has a classic Santana vibe mixed with that Gothic style vocal.
The actual record itself is truly global, the mixes and mastering were done all over the world, the drums recorded in Italy, the Horns in Portugal, the rest in the UK. I love that about the technology vibe that you can work with people everywhere now.
4 – How many tracks will there be on the album?
The album ‘Ballads For The Down-Trodden’ has 12 tracks and “Rise Like The Sun” single has 6 mixes on it. The new album will have around 12 tracks on it as well, value for money I say!
5 – What themes will the new album explore?
The new album has some wide themes such as loyalty on a track called “No Time For Tears” which has a cool Rock vibe about it. There’s a track about power struggles with relationships on “Don’t Make Me Beg.” There’s a track about migrants looking for a safe place to call home on “Renegade Serenade.” At the moment, it’s looking very love-oriented in one way or another.
6 – Did you collaborate with other artists?
I do work with other artists when the vibe is right. I’m doing a track with a producer called KDX in the UK, a Deep House kinda groove.
7 – What makes your latest single “Rise Like The Sun” special to listeners?
It’s honest, it’s real and it’s played with passion.
8 – What exciting projects can we expect from your label Kusha Deep Records?
All the above and more.
9 – Can you tell us more about your 2021 tour?
We were supposed to be doing a US tour last year, not sure how things will pan out this year but would be good to get out on the road again for a bit.
10 – The global pandemic forced the music industry to try innovative things. What do you think about private live zoom concerts?
I played Rock the Lockdown back in May and we had a few thousand people all rocking out to the set. I also did a US online tour in the summer which broadcast shows into the venues from my studio. I’ve been doing lots of interviews from Brazil to America, Australia, and the UK online which is ace as you don’t have to drive anywhere. Less hit on the climate and you can hit so many more people with a live stream if it’s set up properly.
Nothing will take the place of a jam in front of people, but I think the live stream is here to say alongside the live gig. I love technology though so it’s all good in my book. Be safe out there and looking forward to partying with you all soon!
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Quickfire Interview With: SOUNDQ
Hailing from Krakow, the cultural capital of Poland, Kuba Kubica aka SOUNDQ carries the flag of innovation when it comes to producing electronic music. The interview below is very clear and gives you a deep insight into his art. Scroll down to read his answers.
1 – You’ve been composing songs since…
Year 2000. The year when computer records got screwed by the two 0s was the year when I started programming a dodgy Korg workstation.
2 – You got involved in the music realm because…
I found it liberating not to have to depict anything. To be able to express what I feel without saying or drawing what it was.
3 – Your sound is…
As incomplete as I am. There’s always at least one element causing some imbalance. You’re never quite sure if it all won’t fall apart.
4 – Your biggest inspiration is…
I am most creative when I’m deadbeat and stressed out. So, in a way, pressure inspires me – or rather makes my creative juices flow faster.
5 – People should listen to your new track “Bad Lot” because…
It offers a glimpse into a complete world – fatalistic, sexy, and dangerous.
6 – If you want to know who SOUNDQ is, listen to the track…
“Bad Lot.” And if you’ve heard it already, give “This Heart” a spin.
7 –Your most memorable career moment so far has been…
Crossing the Ural Mountains in -30 degrees Celsius to play a death metal gig in Jekaterynburg.
8 – Your dream is…
Long forgotten the moment I wake up.
9 – Your next release is called…
“Disco Turista Antifascista.”
That’s a tough one. I’ll go with “My Kingdom” by Future Sound of London.
11 – Your favourite place to write songs is…
I love coming up with ideas when I’m traveling. Not a lot of occasions for that in 2020 though.
12 – If you weren’t an artist, you’d probably be…
An Instagram influencer pretending he’s a XIXth Century French flaneur. All dressed in epoch clothes doing product placement for travel gear and shit.
13 – You’ll only stop making music if…
I don’t think I have it in me to stop.
14 – In a few years, you want to be…
Able to go out without a mask, play gigs, laugh together with large groups of people. Travel to big cities and get lost wandering through them.
15 – What are you doing for the rest of the day?
It’s evening already, so I’m going to be busy writing music till late.
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