LEFKADA's new single The Curator is out now! We chat to the duo about the release and more.
Image: Michael Nette / Migg Media.
Melbourne based duo LEFKADA have released their magnetic new single, The Curator. Influenced by their fascination with influencers, the song critiques the facade of social media and the frustrations of online presence.
Comprised of Tim Cox & Selene Messinis, set the tone from the outset, creating an upbeat groove with bass driven synth stabs, 808 claps, a bright electronic breakdown, with Messinis demanding vocals taking centre stage. All these elements coming together to produce a new electro-pop anthem from the duo.
With a background in jazz, R&B and hip-hop, LEFKADA draw from various experiences as a duo, and in their respective solo projects, having performed and written for some of Australia’s most hyped acts, including Woodes, and Melbourne collective NO ZU.
The Curator is out now! Read our interview with LEFKADA below.
Tell us a bit about how you began your musical journey…
We’ve grown up studying/playing music together all throughout school and uni, and when we graduated, we were ready to become hardcore jazz musicians. Since then we have been playing and touring professionally in various projects (in all sorts of genres), but came back together to form LEFKADA when we realised our shared love of this kind of bouncy electronic music!
Congratulations on the release of your new single, The Curator! The track was influenced by your fascination with “influencers” and the facade of social media. What started your fascination with the topic and could you tell us more about the conceptual nature of the song?
Particularly throughout the long COVID lockdown last year, social media became a very dominant force in people’s lives, and we started noticing people paying a lot of attention to the way they manipulated their online presence to show only perfectly curated snapshots of their lives. Sometimes this can be frustrating, because mental health and wellbeing has been closely linked to the online world (now more than ever!) and hiding behind fake facades and choosing to not be authentic can stop us from connecting with each other on a deeper level.
Who are your favourite influencers and what’s your favourite instagram photoshop fail?
I don’t know if we can have favourites after writing a song that judges them... Maybe some of the artists creating great online music content, e.g. Jacob Collier, Louis Cole, and DOMi & JD Beck
The track is complete with driven synth stabs, 808 claps and a bright electronic breakdown. How did you arrive at and craft the sonic soundscape present on release?
All the production definitely flowed out from that bass in the verses, it sets up the tone of the whole song. We always knew we wanted two distinct sections to fit with the idea of the lyrics, a very poppy, clean sound that morphs into something absolutely chaotic. So we spent a long time seeing how messed up we could make the drop while keeping it groovy! We definitely referenced a lot of that hyper-pop sound (Charli XCX, SOPHIE :( etc.)
Together you have a background in jazz, R&B and hip-hop, also working on your respective solo projects with writing credits for artists including Woodes, and Melbourne collective NO ZU. What are you both bringing to LEFKADA that sets you apart from other Aussie acts?
Coming from that more live music background, we put a lot of effort into making sure our live show is really strong. Sometimes with electronic music, the live show gets left behind, so you can end up with some really uninspiring dj sets. If you come and see our show we are trying to play as many parts as we can with just the two of us (vox, drums, synths etc etc). We are also very politically charged and love having a platform for voicing our views on topical social issues that we are really passionate about!
What messages do you hope listeners take away from the release?
The Curator is a tune aiming to critique content-culture and the way we use the internet to modify our realities. However, it has been written in the hopes that people will take social media slightly less seriously and start communicating on a more genuine level with one another, and also understand that there may be a darker side to people’s lives behind the screen.
If The Curator was a piece of visual art, which artwork would it be and why?
Something of Kota Yamaji’s - his work is very bright, colourful but surreal and a little random.
How did you land on the name ‘LEFKADA’?
It’s the name of the island in Greece where Selene’s dad is from!
Could you kind of talk us through your collaborative creative process when writing and recording songs?
In past years, I (Selene) used to do the majority of the songwriting and Tim used to do the majority of the production, but over the last year or so, the dynamic has become much more collaborative in terms of the overall songwriting. It varies a lot for each song, both in terms of who writes what, and also how we get to an idea in the first place, so it stops the writing becoming stale and too similar. Our sound has really evolved together over the years to reflect each of our tastes/influences.
Did you encounter any challenges whilst creating music during the COVID-19 pandemic, or did it allow you the time and space to immerse yourself within this musical project?
We were very fortunate to live together during lockdown, which allowed us to focus in and fully utilise our home studio; we were locked away for many hours in there!
Will we be seeing an EP or album anytime soon? And what can listeners expect from a full length body of work?
We are always writing lots and have things brewing that we are very excited to share in the future! If we thought about what our ideal body of work would sound like, it would have a huge variety of textures and themes, and interludes that connected many of the tracks.
Australia has a diverse and vibrant music scene, who are some of your favourite Aussie acts?
There’s way too many to name, this list could go on forever! Current favourites include Sampa, Odette, Hiatus Kaiyote, Plini, The Presets, Genesis Owusu and Kaiit. And we have to shout out our friends that we perform with: Woodes, Harper Bloom, NO ZU, Don Glori, Mildlife, Freeds and so many more!
The current pandemic has obviously put a halt to touring and performing live, what are your touring plans post pandemic? If any, what can people expect from one of your live shows?
We are itching to get out and play a bunch of shows because we thrive on stage! As we said earlier, our live show is just the two of us having heaps of fun and playing as many instruments as we can at the same time!
Biggest influences? Disclosure, NAO, Charli XCX
Dream collaboration? Jacob Collier - he’s an absolute wizard.
Album that has had the most impact on you? LEFKADA - Caracal (Disclosure) Tim - Voodoo (D’Angelo) Selene - Black Radio (Robert Glasper Experiment)
How do you define your musical style in 3 words? Intriguing, Bouncy, Political
A release you’re most looking forward to in 2021?
Hopefully SZA *fingers crossed*
If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?
The Super Mario movie that’s in the works!
Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?
Hannah Montana was a vibe on Saturday Disney!
Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?
Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 (Calvin Harris)
Best concert you have been to?
Tim - Snarky Puppy at the Forum, some of the funkiest, most insanely talented musicians around. Or James Blake at an arena in the Netherlands, earth-shattering bass and beautiful intimacy at the same show. Selene - Knower
Last concert you went to?
We played an open air festival in Don Glori’s band, with Ex-Olympian and Ausecuma Beats.
If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?
Selene - Ethnic Spice for sure hahaha Tim - I would just replace Ginger Spice!
Guilty music pleasure?
There’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure, because if it’s good, it’s good!
If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?
An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.
If we’re talking of all time, The Beatles.
What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?
Stop binge watching Netflix shows!
The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?
Probably back at high school, when we realised that maaayyybe a career in music wasn’t a totally preposterous idea, and also just going to gigs and seeing the profound influence that musicians had on an audience!