Interview with the Vienna-based newcomers Leyya

Podujatie Waves Bratislava 2015 sa uskutočnilo už pred viac ako 2 mesiacmi. Po prvýkrát na tomto showcaseovom podujatí vystúpili aj Leyya z Rakúska. Mladé duo, ktoré medzinárodne preslávil hit Superego. Rozprávali sme sa s frotnmankou Sophie o rakúskej nezávislej scéne, o hyperaktívnom Marcovi, druhej polovici Leyya, ktorý má ďalšie dva vlastné projekty, o ich hudbe a plánoch do budúcna. Rozhovor prinášame v originálnej a neskrátenej verzii.

Have you been in Slovakia before Waves Bratislava?

I have been once, but I was 10 so I can’t really remember that. But it is the first time we’ve been playing with the band in Slovakia, so it is quite nice. I’m really looking forward for that.

If I am right you’ve been playing in London few days ago.

Yes it is true. On Saturday, what is today… Friday, yeah, week ago we’ve been playing our first show in London ever and it was really cool. There have been many people and I think they really like it and I hope we will come back.

In which club it was?

The Old Blue Last, it is in the center of London and it is really funny house. It is like, very small but really high. So I think it was 4-5 floor tall, it was really interesting and people were really nice.

You have now tour in Europe?

Yes. We are supporting band called Metric, we have been about 2-3 weeks in Germany, in Amsterdam, and we do some shows in Austria, Germany, Switzerland. It is not real tour, just a few shows.

It is an Austrian band?

It is Canadian band, I think some kind of electro-pop. They are not so famous in Europe, but they are quite big in Canada (950,000 likes on Facebook).

I know that Leyya is a duo…

Yeah. Marco, unfortunately plays with his solo project Karma Art, and now he has a sound check so couldn’t be there.

How did you met him?

We know each other for about 10 years now, we came from the same town and it is very small town. So if there are people who listen and who like the same music you will meet them. We met 10 years ago and then we always make music together and somehow it later escalated to Leyya.

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LEYYA live, Photo: noisey.vice.com

Do you remember how did it start with Leyya project?

I had a single singing project, where was just me and guitar. Marco always supported me with a guitar for a life settings. I had my own name it was Sofie-El and it was not really creative so I thought: “Ok, I have to choose a new name” then it was Leyya. It was a time when we started doing electronic music. It was a single song guitar project at the beginning. Than, we we’re like let’s do something new and than we just kept the name. It has kind of flow.

And yeah, our first Leyya show was in our hometown directly at the city centre. It was open-air and it was really horrible, it was our first show, many people… Than we wrote an album and for a year long we’ve been figuring it out which sound we want to have, how we want to sound. When we had our first show, we really don’t know how to do that. It was just a beginning. Everyone start somewhere…

Why you the name Leyya?

I don’t know, it is name that you can really easily remember, but I want a name that just don’t make a sense, nothing like “wooden chair” or whatever. Something you remember a name that sounds, little bit like music, little bit more creative, little bit more special, little bit more mystical and than we kept it, we said: “If we will still like it a week later it is ok.” We kept it.  

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LEYYA live, photo: girlsandboyslikemusic.tumblr.com

I have a band too and the name is always changing.

Yeah because, the band name, if you still like it in a few weeks than keep it, and if you don’t want to hear it after few shows than just… No! Search a new one.

You moved from this small town to Vienna. Did it was a good decision?

Yeah, it was a good decision. Where I come from there is a music scene really really small, and I think we don’t have audience there. We thought if we want to do this music then let’s go to Vienna. Because there are really more people that you can meet, more people that you can work with. We move there 3 years ago and now we work together with lots of people, with labels, with booking agencies, with management thing and so on. It is good to be there because in the small city you don’t have that opportunity, that’s all.

What about the alternative music scene in Vienna?

It is better, better than upper Austria, better than I came from and I think that people are more open for that. But I think we want to go more international because there are more people, audience in Germany or London, or whatever… But I think Vienna is a good start I guess.

Also it is near to Bratislava.

Yeah, so we drove here just about an hour. It is not so far. It is funny because it is closer than my hometown, so we had to drive hours to go home and one hour to get here. Funny.

On the song “Superego”: “I don’t really want to tell everyone what is my story behind it because everyone should have his own story to the song.”

What is the history around song “Superego”?

It is really funny because I had this question sometimes before. It doesn’t have a history. It was a song that we wrote and it was finished in one day. It was an idea that Marko had this melody “Mhmm” (sings the main motif) like this hamming thing, he said: “We have to do that, just sing something,”. And we did and we were working on it. After a day it was finished. It is not really special but, yeah, I do have a hidden stories to my lyrics. I really want to keep them open so people can make theyre own story about it. I don’t really want to tell everyone what is my story behind it because everyone should have his own story to this song.

Did you expect it will have so international success?

No, but it is good and we are very proud. We knew that it is the strongest song on the album, so we knew it will be a single and it will be also a good video. We did everything we can to show it people. We are proud.

You write all the lyrics?

Yeah. I write the lyrics. Because I am a singer and I want to sing something that I can relate to. If it will write someone else then it just wouldn’t fit.

Your new video for “I Want You”. Where it is this long street?

It is in Vienna (laughs). It’s funny. It really doesn’t look like Vienna, it was in the evening and we just filmed there about 30 minutes and it was: “Yeah let’s go there and see how the sun will be. Let’s meet at 6 and just do something, run up and down, sing and so on”. It was really funny, because it was no stress there. It was in Vienna in Meidling in the 12th. district. It is a special place because they are now working on it, it is going to be a student apartment thing, where students can live. Now it is empty.


What kind of music inspires you?

What inspires me. I do have a few. I like music that is from the heart and tells stories and where I can make my own version of the meaning of the song, what I said I wanna to do. Music that makes me be somewhere else. When I hear it than I can swift away. I like music like that. But I like music that is complex, I really like electronic music which does have a sound and no beats, it’s really special, I like that. I like rock bands too, I like Queens Of The Stone Age, they are really good. It is like very simple and really difficult. It just has to talk to me in the way so it is nothing specific. It is just everything that finds a way to me and I listen to.

Also you find an inspiration in movies or books?

Yeah. Of course, I find inspiration when I talk to people, I found inspiration when I am just alone, everything. If something happens to you and you are sad this inspires me too. Because I didn’t write a song because of this, because I am sad, because I am happy, whatever. So every situation is inspiring.

“Music is my full time job and the service thing is just to pay my apartment.”

What are you doing in your normal life? Music is enough for you to make money for a living?

Yeah. It would be very very good if it so. Marco is currently studying music and I am doing a waitress a few hours in a week like in the stories (laughs). I do work in food service 24 hours per week and the rest of my time I do music. And I concentrate on it and I work on it, maybe we can live of this sometime!

You are in this stage of between.

Yeah. I really hope, and I am concentrating on music. Music is my full time job and the service thing is just to pay my apartment.

Can you tell me more about the music scene in Vienna? Are there a lot of bands that you like and admire?

There are really really good bands in Vienna. I can say a few. I really like Hearts Hearts. I have been on them yesterday at Waves Vienna, and they are perfect, they are one of the best bands in the long time, really. I really like Bilderbuch, they are really big in Austria and Germany right now. They sing in german, they are really good. And than I like Mynth,  they are playing today in Bratislava.The band Robb they played yesterday in Vienna. Than side project by Marco and his third project Leyya, Ant Antic and Karma Art, yeah he is quite busy (laughs). They are really good, if it is Marco there, they must be good. I like Polkov they are playing in the same venue that we are playing. There are so many good bands in Vienna.

Questions: Krištof Budke, Verana Dobal

Leyya on Facebook and Sound Cloud

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