INTERVIEW: Five Minutes With … Leyya
“Piecing together 60s pop with sitar sounds, electronic flourishes with a touch of brass, the pair’s songwriting is both fantastically broad and neatly concise.” – Clash Magazine
Vienna-based experimental pop duo Leyya employs a combination of melancholy and electronica in their music. Having garnered support from tastemakers such as Wonderland and Clash Magazine, they have already taken their unique sound across festival stages all over Europe, including Iceland Airwaves Music Festival and Eurosonic Noorderslag. With a sound described as “starting exactly where Portishead ended up” (Radio FM4), Leyya’s performance at Iceland Airwaves was called one of the “most exciting” on display.
They have recently shared their new single ‘Zoo’ via LasVegas Records/Universal Music. It was premiered by Pigeons & Planes who have tipped the single as “an Indie Summer Hit”.
We caught up with the dynamic duo for a chat….
Hi there, how are you and what are you up to today?
We’re good and currently working on our new album.
To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?
It is always hard to describe that, especially because our sound has changed over the time. When we started, we merged experimental electronic with singer/songwriter influences. Now, while working on our second album, we developed a rougher and more playful sound. We now focus on instruments and sounds from all over the world and combine them with our original way to make music. But one could say, that we are moving somewhere in-between pop music.
What are the 5 albums that have influenced you the most?
We get influenced by from so many things, sometimes it’s not even just music. But albums we have listened to when we were younger and still listen to today are:
Portishead – Third
Flying Lotus – Until the quiet comes
The beatles – Sgt. pepper’s lonely hearts club band
Angel olsen – My woman
Queens of the stone age – …like clockwork
Which other artists are you into at the moment and why?
Marco and I are listening to a lot of different music at the moment. We love to move a little bit outside the “radio-music” and discover more and more traditional music from around the world, but still appreciate a well-written pop song.
Are there any key pieces of equipment that you are using to define your sound?
Our list of equipment is always fluctuating, we never really keep something longer than we need. The only thing, that actually always stays the same and defines our sound is that we are playing and recording everything ourselves. So our hands and the way we play our instruments is decisive.
What would you say some of the challenges artists face today in the music industry?
There are so many good artists, that it’s really hard to stick out.
Where do you gather songwriting inspiration?
We get inspired by a lot of things. Surroundings, people, travelling, new music, new traditions, etc.
Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting your music together?
We start every song we write differently to freshen up the writing process and to never fall into old habits, but what stays is that we both write, record and produce together.The only things we do not change are me writing the lyrics and Marco doing the mixing of the songs. All the other parts are mixed up every time to keep it more spicy.
What’s the best gig you have ever done and why?
In Vienna we have a free 3-day-festival called ‘Popfest’, where we headlined the main stage last year.
And the worst?
When we started, we once got ‘booked’ to play at a small club in Vienna and the organizer didn’t make any effort to somehow get people to stop by. He thought that we are going to bring some anyway. We ended up playing in front of my sister and her boyfriend and my best friend. It was fun, though.
If you weren’t a musician what would you be?
There is no plan B and there never was. If we weren’t musicians we’d still be musicians.
Do you have any particular gigs or festivals that you dream about playing?
We don’t care what festival or stage we play, as long as the audience has fun we have fun to. Of course it is always really nice, when you play at a festival you always wanted to go to as a visitor but never had the chance to. Like Prima Vera Festival, that we’re playing in June.
Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?
We are currently working on our second album and are touring through europe in fall. There are still some dates to be announced.
CATCH LEYYA LIVE!
16th June – CH – 16. Stolze Openair, Zürich
17th June – DE – Modular Festival 2017, Augsburg
14th July – AT – Rock im Dorf Festival 2017, Schlierbach
15th July – AT – Leyya + Support Poolbar Festival, Feldkirch
20th July – AT – Acoustic Lakeside 2017, Sittersdorf
15th Aug – HU – Sziget Festival Official, Budapest
18th Aug – DE – MS Dockville 2017, Hamburg