Edward Burnett chats to Keiko and Floss from London based, female trio BAXTR about their latest single 'Feathers', their musical heroes and the best things about living in the English capital.
RnRR: Hey BAXTR, how are you girls doing? How best would you describe your act to new listeners?
FM: Kitsch, flamboyant, geek rock meets alt pop, with a pinch of Brit Pop swagger and new wave theatrics. Made by 3 nerdy girls.
KJ: We are a positive breath of dreamspace pop. Three friends making music together that we want to share with you. Think of us as your best friends cheering you on one song at a time.
RnRR: How did all of you meet each other? Is it your friendship that drives the band forward or the collective aim to “make it” in the musical world?
KJ: It’s always been about our friendship and also (now this might sound a bit woo woo) but the energy and magic we feel whenever we play music together. It’s that feeling of utter joy that drives us forward.
FM: I don't think you sound woo woo, Keiko! There are definitely mysterious forces at work when us 3 come together.
Many moons ago we tried to make this work, but the timing was off and what started as band just rolled into us moving to London, living together, becoming best friends, occasionally making a riotous noise and never actually releasing any music! We all went away, honed our individual crafts and now, years later, the stars have aligned, we're two singles deep and we're feeling the alchemy more than ever. Never say never, as they say!
RnRR: What’s your biggest aim when creating new music? Your latest single ‘Feathers’ has a focus on the theme of body positivity. Do you always have a message in mind when it comes to your songs?
FM: For me, writing is about being a kinda storytelling Rumplestiltskin, weaving your experience and perspective, good or bad, into something (hopefully) of worth for someone else. We write because it's cathartic and fun, and if our songs can bring joy or give someone a musical lens through which they can make sense of their experience or world, then it all feels worth so much more. Some songs will be more cryptic than others but there will always be a kernel of truth at the centre of all BAXTR songs, and that kernel will almost always be sugar coated or shared in a joyful way, whether that means energetic arrangements and instrumentation, or optimistic lyrics. I've been through a lot of ugly stuff; we all have, and we want to purge that stuff and Rumplestiltskin the hell outta it all, both for ourselves and for you. Even if a song's message is a bit heavy, we'll never be shoe gazers, as nice as our shoes may be.
RnRR: Growing up, who were your biggest musical inspirations and who convinced you all to go professional?
FM: As a kid, The Beatles, Abba and Free. As a teen, Foo Fighters, Aerosmith, Damon Albarn, Ben Folds and Imogen Heap, to name a few. I'm very lucky to come from a supportive creative family who, for better or worse (ha!), never tried to talk me out of doing music professionally. My Dad is a songwriter and he taught and inspired me a great deal, but outside of my family the first person to really help make me feel I may be able to write professionally was my friend Charlie. He works in music, heard my shoddy early demos and really held my hand as I entered the industry, giving me some great opportunities and advice.
KJ: Michael Jackson - his showmanship and attention to detail always blew my mind. The realisation that I *have* to drum not just that I *like* to was a big sign that I wanted to go pro.
RnRR: What are your future plans? Do you have any new releases on the way
KJ: Yes! We are raring to go! We have lots of songs and so it’s just a case of getting them recorded . If we have it our way you may hear two more songs before the end of the year.
FM: We have so many tunes stacked up ready to be recorded! The next two singles will be the last 2 from this first batch of four, and that will complete the first EP. We'd love to plan more, but being in a band costs money so we are pacing ourselves and doing a lot of stuff DIY for now.
RnRR: Staying on the theme of the future, where would you guys like to be in a year’s time? What’s your goal for when normality resumes following the pandemic?
KJ: We would love to gig of course and put on some really special shows. In a year it would be great to think we might have released an album.
FM: BAXTR are itching to get out gigging and want to work to make our live shows tight, magical and almost immersive. We've only been a band since June and want to continue to pump out singles, but at the rate things are going I don't think an album release is out of the question for next year!
RnRR: Speaking of the pandemic, what have you all been up to during lockdown other than music? Have you learnt any new talents or gained any hobbies?
KJ: I have been investing in my home studios and have bought a few new mics so I can record from home as best I can.
FM: I've been writing my elbows off, but other than music, I have used lockdown time to learn a bit of Japanese, こんにちは! and have become an amateur Olympic biscuit eater. I also like to make art so have been getting into some colourful messes too.
RnRR: Yes I hear they're added that category to the next Olympic Games! You guys currently live in London. What would you say the greatest thing is about English capital city and does your environment ever influence your music?
KJ: I grew up all over the place but settled in south London when I was 11 and it was great being able to go and see gigs in my teenage years.
FM: I love how culturally diverse and vibrant London is. For me the best thing about being in a bubbling hub of creative industries is being able to access and work with so many talented fellow musicians, and absorb so much live music. People and their stories mostly inspire me, but they can be found anywhere! We all live in London but we meet and make music in a place that exists between asleep and awake - Dreamspace; a metaphorical place of creativity, friendship and safety. Kinda like an omipresent joy mathmos, that looks different to each band member, but feels the same for us all. We "go" there when we make music and the idea of Dreamspace definitely inspires a feeling, which is imbued in our music.
RnRR: Finally and most importantly, the Spotlight signature question. If you were all stranded on a desert island and could only play one album ever again, what are you choosing and why?
KJ: Oooh tough one. I think because I’m a big MJ fan I would have to say 'History'.
FM: 'Jagged Little Pill' by Alanis Morrisette - not because I think it's the best album of all time, but it feels like an old friend. It's a powerful time machine for me. When I hear the opening chords I'm immediately transported back to happy times. She covers a lot of emotional ground on that album and I feel like she's singing words that I could've spoken at some point. We want our music to be a friend to people. That album makes me feel the way I'd like to make people feel with BAXTR's music; comforted, reflected, and inspired to feel as if you can be whoever, or whatever, you want to be.
RnRR: Thank you for your time BAXTR and all the best for the future, we will be sure to update our page with any news from your side of things.
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