“Work hard, work smart. When you think you’re working hard, find the next gear and kick it up a notch – you never know what you’re capable of until you start to create something that’s your own.” -Lexie Jay (Featurette)
Last week we announced the upcoming Canadian Music Week performance dates for Canadian band Featurette. This week we bring an in-depth interview with the band in which they tell us about their classical beginnings, their inspirations, and their journey to find their own unique sound.
What (who) does your act consist of?
Lexie: Just the two of us: myself, Lexie Jay (Vocals, Keys) & Jon Fedorsen (Drums, synths)
How did you and your band meet?
Lexie: This one time, at band camp… we met teaching kids how to play music haha! Jon was teaching the drums and I was teaching violin, but we had both brought guitars up with us, so we decided to jam a bit. We both quickly learned we suck at being a folk duo, and traded our acoustic guitars for computers and synths, where we found our groove.
Where are you and your band from?
Lexie: Jon is from Mississauga originally, and I’m from Etobicoke – so Toronto/GTA if you will.
What type of music did you hear the most growing up?
Lexie:Jon had an older brother, so he listened to a lot of grunge and heavy metal under his influence, but there was a kid down the street that loved synth-pop and new wave, which was totally forbidden under his (much) older brother’s reign. Jon had a long-time secret love affair with sparkly synths that he had to keep secret for many, many years. Me, I’m from the 90s – girlbands and boybands all the way!
What was the first song that you ever sang?
Lexie: Oh god – it has to be the Spice Girls for sure.
What made you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in music?
Lexie: For me it wasn’t really a realization until I was in my third year at U of T – and it wasn’t that I didn’t want to pursue those goals as much as ‘Ho-ly &@#$… I’m about to finish my Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance, what have I done, and what am I going to do with *that*!’ Lucky for me I was already making music with Jon, so I deviated from the classical route I was on and swapped all those future auditions for writing my own parts. That was massively liberating and probably the first time I knew I was doing something that I couldn’t live without.
For Jon it was a little earlier – in middle school, if you didn’t take band you got a spare. But he was too much of a shit-disturber, and got sent back to band class with a pair of drumsticks in his hands!
How did you become involved in the type of music you play/sing now?
Lexie: It was a massive evolution. We started in folk (although that project never saw the light of day, dodged a bullet there!), went through an indie rock phase in our initial basement demos, took some music theatre-y turns (it was a dark time), and finally evolved into something a little more pop, but still super alternative. Lately the evolution has taken on a much more aggressive sound as our performances continue to drive and motivate the music we’re making. At all our shows now we’re playing basically 80% new material because our sound is evolving so quickly and distinctly now that we’re starting to find our footing.
For those who have never seen or heard your music before, how would you describe your music for the public audience?
Lexie: If you’ve heard what’s online, the album we have out now, I can almost promise you you’re in for an entirely different live performance. If you haven’t heard it at all, it’s fun electro-indie pop, but with a darker edge to it. These days, the stuff we’re writing now is much more forward. More aggressive and certainly darker – a little Phantogram, a little K Flay, got some Broods in there – you know the fun stuff 😉
Would you rather play live performances or be in the studio?
Lexie: Tough call! I guess you have two gears right? Like when I’m in performance mode, there’s no where else I’d rather be – I’m all geared up and ready to go all the time, high energy, super amped. But when we’re in writing mode it’s focused and a lower vibration – slower build. I think it comes in waves, and the balance between the two is very important.
What do you think your greatest accomplishment has been so far in your musical career?
Lexie: As a local Toronto band, who listens to Indie88 constantly, getting our song “Give A Little” on full rotation for months has been unreal. Every time it comes on I still don’t realize it’s not my iPod until Bookie plugs it!
If you had to categorize your music, what genre would it best fit?
Lexie: Electro-indie Pop is what we’re identifying as right now – but the meaning of the word ‘pop’ changes all the time. I think the most important thing to note is that just because we’ve got synths, does not mean we’ve got an 80’s sound. We’re channelling something a little more future than that, rather than the ‘throw back’ vibe.
What are your songs about and what general themes do they talk about?
Lexie: Lately, it’s super political. I think before, with what we have out on CRAVE, our debut LP, we did tell a love story, but it was from the first person perspective of this girl and her interpretation of the full cycle. She meets someone, falls in love, figures out it’s not going to work, breaks it off, and starts the healing process; she ultimately realizes that she’s got to love herself before she can love anyone else. I think it was the same old story, but maybe with a little more of the darker, less pretty side to it.
Why do you choose to focus on these themes?
Lexie: Honestly we wrote most of the songs individually, and then when we were figuring out how to arrange them for the album we realized we really did tell a story, just a little out of order. It was a combination of experiences that both Jon and I had with our past relationships, all mashed up into one story for a new character.
Are there any stories surrounding your songs that you’d care to share?
Lexie: When we thought we could be a folk duo (*pause for laughter*), a few of the ideas we pulled were from my little black song book from high school – had some songs already written, some poetry, that sort of thing. “Memorize”, from CRAVE was already in that little book, and it’s the first thing we recorded together. There is a demo, full tracked, that exists only the the darkest corner of our archives where Jon and I both sing on the acoustic track. Hold on for a sec while I go find and burn that quick.
**(Fun bonus fact, the bridge in Memorize on the album is the original vocal recording we tracked at band camp for that acoustic demo!)**
Does anyone in particular influence you?
Lexie: Whenever we need to get in the mood to write, we look to the prowess of Deadmau5, Moderat, Bjork, Radio Head, and more recently Flume and The Weekend. Although the songs don’t necessarily sound like that, that’s how we find our headspace when we want to be creative.
What has been the biggest challenge for you or the group?
Lexie: Coming from an opera program, it was finding my pop voice, for sure. I literally remember being in the studio tracking vocals for the album and one of our producers (Josh Sadlier-Brown) being like “cool cool, can you try it with less vibrato? Like straight-tone?” and my classical brain being like “omg, how to straight-tone…”
Music tends to appeal to everyone, young and old. Do you have any advice for the youth of today?
Lexie: Work hard, work smart. When you think you’re working hard, find the next gear and kick it up a notch – you never know what you’re capable of until you start to create something that’s your own.
Do you have other interests or talents you would like to share with us?
Lexie: Sometimes we paint stuff.
What do you do with your time away from music?
Lexie: There is no such thing as time away from music. (jk, not jk)
Please feel free to add any other information you want to share with fans and readers:
Our next show is our first ever headliner at Adelaide Hall on April 20th of Canadian Music Week! We’ve got 5 new songs and a bunch of surprises so definitely hit that one up: https://www.ticketfly.com/event/1414566-featurette-toronto/
xx FEATURETTE xx
We want to thank Featurette for taking some time from their busy schedule so that we could ge to know them better. Be sure to keep up with the band on social media and their website: