Pink Laces new single, Paradigm, is out now! We caught up with the musician to chat about the release and so much more.
Image: Sarah Carpenter
Last month, Pink Laces, the musical project of Elijah Hendrix Wahlberg, unveiled his new single, Paradigm. The track serves as the first taste of the musicians forthcoming debut album, Disclosures.
Conceptually, Paradigm navigates breaking away from preconceived ideas from society, instead speaking your own mind and presenting your true self to the world. Wahlberg aims to break away from peer pressure, family expectations, and living up to the demands triggered by social media on the track. Paradigm brings together sonic threads of electro-rock and psychedelic-pop, the tracks hypnotic chorus shimmers beneath Wahlberg's polished and mesmerising vocals.
The track arrives alongside a cinematic visual, directed by Erik Rojas (Chase Atlantic, Maisie Peters, Isaac Dunbar). Inspired by visual components of Blade Runner, we follow Wahlberg as he speeds through the streets of a futuristic city, trying to escape the spells cast by another.
Born into musical royalty, Wahlberg is the son of Donnie Wahlberg of New Kids On The Block and the nephew of Mark Wahlberg. The musician is forging his own path with Pink Laces, exisiting within the a synth-pop realm, weaving in sonic threads of psychedelia. Having begun as a duo, Wahlberg is now the sole creative force behind Pink Laces, introducing the project to the world with his debut EP, Shelf Life.
Paradigm is out now! Read our interview with Pink Laces below.
Tell us a bit about your musical background and what led you to pursuing a career in music…
I started drumming in 2011 and just got addicted to it. At some point I wanted to start recording myself playing so I put together a production setup. I slowly started getting better and better at producing and picked up other instruments as I developed. At one point, it just felt like serendipity. It just felt like what I was supposed to do, so I went all in.
You’ve grown up around the music industry. How do you think your observations from a young age helped shape your own approach to navigating a career in music?
My lessons from a young age were very mindset-based. I learned never to be too precious about anything. But super importantly, I learned to not be afraid of collaboration. Some people let pride get in the way of creating something incredible because they want to go it alone. You never know who you can connect with creatively so I never rule out the idea of collaborating with anyone.
Congratulations on the release of your new single Paradigm! Tell us a bit about the conceptual nature of the track and the inspiration behind it?
The track itself was actually initially started by my writing partner, Kevin Cofield. He was programming the bass line when I stepped in and we put the rest of the track together. Naturally, I sat down at the drum kit and laid the foundation down. Lyrically though, the song is about not conforming to the image that people want you to be, whether it’s a relationship or pressure from social settings. I mean my dad is a pop star. People are gonna expect things from me. What I’m saying in Paradigm is basically, “I’m making my image and my path mine and not yours.”
Your music leans towards synth-pop sonics with threads of psychedelia. What prompted and led you to this exploration of sound?
I just always loved the sound. Synthesis is wild and gives you so many options to create your own unique sounds. It was too tantalizing not to try out, and as soon as I did, I fell in love with it. But honestly, it’s just one of the instruments that I have in my repertoire. I can’t make music using instruments I don’t play so I kind of just painted myself into a corner.
Paradigm arrives alongside a cinematic visual, directed by Erik Rojas, and set in a futuristic realm. Can you walk us through your conceptual process for the clip and how involved are you with the development of the visuals?
When it came to the video, I think everybody that heard the song could see the song, so to speak, without there being any visual assets. It was just destined to be paired with a video that had that neo-noir edge. It was really easy to put together since we were all on the same page. My creative director, Noah Vera, had a few discussions with Erik on what we wanted to see on our end, and from there it all came together pretty easily.
What’s your favourite scene from the music video and why?
One specific shot I love is when I’m in the car, driving by the billboard with the actress, Rebecca, doing an ad for a made-up camera lens company. For context, a lot of my friends call me Lij as a play off Elijah, and we named the lens company LijCo. Lenses. It was a real inside easter egg, and seeing it finally be real was awesome.
What’s one line from Paradigm you find at times could be stuck in your head? Or a line that you come back to?
Well it’s weird because I’ve never had one of my own songs stuck in my head. But if I had to draw back to a certain line, it would probably be “Not your paradigm.” I’m nobody’s paradigm but my own because no matter what anybody thinks I am or should be, I’m the one paving my own path and molding my image if that makes sense.
If Paradigm was a piece of pre-existing visual art, which artwork would it be and why?
This is a great question. It would probably be an abstract self portrait of some sort: in the style of Picasso maybe. I love the way he represented people. I could make an argument that Paradigm draws parallels to Girl Before a Mirror (Pablo Picasso) in that when I look inward and reflect, I see what I am without any lenses, which is a hard sight. But I had to pull that vision out of myself to express my feelings in the song.
The track serves as the first taste of your debut album, Disclosures. What can listeners expect from the body of work as a whole?
Expect the album to be a greeting from me in a certain way. The album is going to be a real first step for Pink Laces.
With everything that’s been happening in the world touring has changed, what are your 2021 touring plans, what can fans expect from a live show?
I think I need a few more songs in the catalog before I can start touring; however, I want my live performances to be a very complete experience for fans. Expect the visuals to be on the same par as the music. I want to create a world when I tour and I want the fans to be stepping into that world when they arrive.
What are our chances we’ll see you performing in Australia when you are able to do so?
Australia is easily in my top touring destinations. If I get the opportunity, I’m taking it without thinking twice.
Daft Punk, Tame Impala, Beach House, Danger Mouse
Tyler, The Creator. The dude is a genius.
Album that has had the most impact on you?
This is tough. Either Discovery by Daft Punk or Black Holes and Revelations by Muse.
How do you define your musical style in 3 words?
Colorful, intimate & heartfelt.
Best song of 2021 so far?
Caution by Kaytranada. It’s kind of niche but I love his work.
If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?
Leave the whole Blade Runner franchise to me. I’ll take great care of it.
Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?
Miley Cyrus, easily. Embrace your real identity!
A song you would love to cover on tour?
Black by Danger Mouse
Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?
Bubba by Kaytranada
First concert you went to?
The first show I went to as a fan was Muse on their Drones Tour I think. I’ve been to a lot so it’s hard to keep track.
Best concert you have been to?
Mondo Cozmo at the subterranean in Chicago.
First album you ever bought?
Well aside from that U2 album that everyone was “gifted,” I think it was Black Holes and Revelations by Muse.
Would you rather be a Spice Girl or a Backstreet Boy?
Backstreet. I can’t turn down an opportunity to learn from AJ McLean.
If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be? OR What’s your favourite back street?
Ok, I’m going to answer the spice girls question for this one. Sorry I'm breaking the rules here. I’d be Lucky Spice considering I’d be lucky enough to pass the audition for the spice girls considering i’m a dude.
Most memorable show you’ve ever performed?
I played some shows in Japan for my high school concert band and those were insane.
Guilty music pleasure?
Doja Cat! She’s one of them for sure. I also like Snow because of that song Informer.
If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?
Anyone who will have me, honestly. Hopefully it’s someone in my genre.
An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.
I think it’s pretty ridiculous how untouchable Kanye is. People worship him. I love his work, of course, but it’s crazy seeing the influence he has.
What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?
I’d remind myself that I’m doing alright. All things considered, I improve every day as a musician. Everything I make, I feel like I can make something better a week later. I’d tell myself just to stay focused and keep working.
The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?
As soon as I started drumming, I knew it was for me.
Watch the visual for Paradigm below!