Recently, we got the chance to chat with breakout indie dream-pop artist LAYKE, and if you haven’t heard of her yet, allow us to introduce you and change your life forever. From stunning music videos to the origins of creativity, LAYKE is creating some gorgeous work. Check out what she has to say about her music here, and then listen to her stuff on repeat for the rest of the day. We promise, you won’t regret it.
Hey LAYKE, thanks so much for speaking with us! So to start out, your latest music video for “Beautiful War” is so visually stunning. What was the process of creating that music video like?
When I saw Tim Saccenti’s work, I knew I definitely wanted to work with him for this song. Then when I got the treatment, it was just perfect. I personally don’t like to really hinder people’s creativity when I work with them. I like them to take an idea and run with it and that’s exactly what he did.
We ended up shooting in the middle of the desert in Death Valley at Trona Pinnacles and it was the hottest day of the heat wave in July, so when I got to set at 6 P.M. for the sunset shots, it was literally 115 degrees. The crew and everyone just went above and beyond and I don’t know how we survived, but we did. We even wrapped a few hours early before sunrise and created magic. Other than the heat it was an amazing seamless experience. Sometimes you just set out to do something, and everything actually just falls into place, and that’s what happened here. It was magical.
How are you feeling about your upcoming debut EP?
I am really excited about this debut EP! My producer Adrian Gurvitz and I really spent a lot of time and care figuring out where we wanted to take the sound and how we wanted to craft it. We are just over the moon with the result.
I truly feel like I found myself in this writing and recording process. I feel like the music I’m making now is more honest and true to myself than I’ve ever made before, and I’m just excited to keep doing it. I hope everyone enjoys listening to it as much as I have enjoyed creating it.
What was the process of creating your album like? Should we expect more like “Beautiful War?”
When Adrian and I were creating this album, we always said there was the light to the dark in the writing process. There would be moments that were more dark and moody, and then there would be moments that were more light and ethereal.
I think you’re going to see a bit of both of that on this upcoming EP and the subsequent one we’re currently working on coming out in the spring. There are more crunchy, deeper moments, and there are also brighter moments within the tracks. I really like the balance that we’ve created.
I personally love when artists incorporate strings into their tracks. How did you decide to use such a powerful string section in your single?
We never set out or intended to put strings on the tracks. We never set out to do anything specific, really. We just let the tracks go where they needed to go. But when we finished, Adrian looked at me and just said, “we have to put live real actual strings on these tracks.”
They had come such a long way and really grown into something of their own and we knew we needed to do the tracks justice, so we decided to go to Rosie Danvers (Wired Strings) in London and she put the most amazing, beautiful strings with a full orchestra on the tracks and it just took everything to another level. She is just incredible! And Adrian knows exactly what each track needs. He is a genius. Working with him was an experience like nothing else and I will cherish it forever.
How did having art in your life affect the creation of your music? I see that you tried art school and wrote poetry as a child. Do you think this helped you form your musical identity?
I didn’t attend art school until I was 19 years old, and I grew up in Dallas, Texas in a very conservative upbringing, so honestly, individualism and creativity were not always fostered in that type of environment. But I was very lucky that my parents saw that I responded to the arts and saw that it was a good form of expression for me.
My parents got divorced when I was very young. I was the youngest of four girls and kind of got lost in the mix sometimes, so the arts were a good place for me to channel energy. I started dancing from a very young age (2.5 years old) and that eventually led into singing. Writing was always a place for me to go that was mine where I could express myself as well. I was always a very deep thinker and I had a lot to say and I didn’t know where and how to always say it and poetry was an outlet for me. I definitely think having an outlet led me towards where I am now for sure.
So you built your skills to become an excellent musician with a solid name. What’s the story behind that name, Layke?
Honestly Adrian and I went through so many names, so many different ideas. We wanted something one word and I wanted to start this project out with a new name that was different from anything that had ever been attached to me before, like my birth name, nicknames growing up, etc. because I feel like I shed one skin and I’m now walking in another through the creation of this album.
I’m truly more myself than I have ever been before and I’m truly comfortable and accepting of who I am for the first time in my life. I felt like that warranted something brand new to celebrate that. Everything I would think of just didn’t seem right, and Adrian and I always say we like to do things dead right or don’t do them at all. So I was watching random TV one night after the studio and there was a show on and one of the characters had that name. I called Adrian and I was like this speaks to me because its got something that’s fluid, has movement, and it’s ethereal. It just makes sense. But we decided we needed to spell it with a “Y” to make it unique, and he agreed and that was it!
If you got to collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
I’d like to work with Shirley Manson from Garbage. She’s a genius and I’ve been listening to them FOREVER. I also think our musical sensibilities would really lend to each other’s sounds. It would be really awesome… Shirley are you listening? Let’s do this!
I love your aesthetic on your social media channels. Do you enjoy playing with fashion or do you just have good taste?
I definitely like to have fun with fashion, and I hang out with a lot of people that are in the fashion industry– from models to designers to everyone. So, I’m lucky to be around a lot of very well-dressed people all the time and it allows me to get inspired. But as a little one, I was also a total punk rocker making my own clothes and shopping at thrift stores and putting studs and patches all over everything, so I think I’ve just kind of always been into creating my own aesthetic. And thank you for the compliment!
Finally, continuing on with your aesthetic, does the color purple mean anything to you and your music?
I’ve always gravitated towards purple, whether it be more saturated or lighter, or as I like to say, “steely lavender,” like my hair currently is. It’s just a color that looks great on me and I feel like it goes with everything I wear since I only wear black, neon, and iridescent generally. And it’s calming and serene. But I’ve been dying my hair since I was a kid. My hair has been every color under the sun except for blue. I’m not the biggest fan of blue on me, although I did do turquoise for a while, but other than that I’ve literally had every color you can name. Like I said before, I was a little punk rocker doing my DIY thing. I think the evolution of my hair has gotten to this color and this is definitely my favorite one and I’m sticking with it because it’s become a signature thing and it just feels right.
Check out LAYKE below and let us know what you think!
All Images: Jasmine Safaeian