Sophie Lindinger and Marco Kleebauer are currently redefining the category of “Pop music from Austria.” But this would just be another box Leyya doesn’t fit into, because rigidity is not their thing. Whatever works, they say, and prefer to experiment.
At the sauna, you meet each other as strangers, but naked, just as you are, without the facade of clothing to hide behind, yet you still don’t know each other at all. It feels strange and odd, but yet familiar, almost like a déjà-vu. The feeling you get from Leyya’s recently released album Sauna is similar, so the analogy fits quite well as a title. After they drew international attention for their electronic-melancholic debut Spanish Disco, the new album presents a multicolored spectrum of sounds and moods, refering to various genres. The listener finds psychedelic basslines, quirky saxophone sounds, drum solos and organs not only harmoniously coexisting on a single album—they even form a melodic entity. The resulting sound makes it a lot of fun to listen to, despite it’s partial complexity. Visually complemented by colorful videos reminicent of pop art, Leyya create dream-like realities, leaving just enough space for interpretation. Warm, bold shades and Sophie’s voice work together and manage to satisfy the desire for authenticity and character in our digital age.
“Very often I am confronted with the notion that I, as a female, am providing only my voice to the project.”
What are you listening to?
Marco: Very modern music on one hand, true classics on the other. 60s, Funk, a lot of Stevie Wonder, Jackson 5. This stuff has a very unique charm. Even if some of it may seem odd in today’s context, those evergreens still carry a certain charisma we really like. We also listen to a lot of music together and still very much believe in the album.
Sophie: Playlists are for discovering new music. If I like a song, I maybe listen to the whole album.
Marco: Ideally, those are two seperate ways of listening to music. I listen to a playlist in a different mindset, you can’t expect the same. To truly understand an album as an entity, it’s important to listen to it from the beginning to the end. We kept that in mind when working on Sauna.
What was your musical upbringing like?
Sophie: I grew up with RnB and Pop, especially in the field of Singer-songwriter. A lot of female musicians have inspired me to write myself.
Marco: My parents have always actively listened to vinyl, and that is still relevant to me today.
In the video for Zoo you play with roles: we hear Sophie’s voice, but it seems Marco is singing. How do you work out the processes in general?
Sophie: Very often I am confronted with the notion that I, as a female, am providing only my voice to the project, especially in a duo formation. I write lyrics and Marco does the mix in the end, but we work together at all the steps in between — writing, recording, producing. We compliment each other, because we don’t want to repeat ourselves, and question the roles in every aspect.
Marco: As a producer I was told I have the technical know-how, but can’t handle the emotional level. I am able to operate the fader but I can also write a touching song. That’s what we are trying to address in this video on a deeper level, but it also just looks really funny. Our work can have this superficial effects, and that is fine as well.
What’s the idea behind your blog Whatever Works, where you discuss your songs one by one?
Marco: People asked us how our sounds come about. It’s rather easy to make music at home these days, so the studio is not as important anymore. We wanted to capture the energy of several musicians playing together in the studio, and if you still record all the sounds like that, it’s interesting and the product can have a personal touch. We are not perfectionistic and our way of making music is really naive. I want to show that it’s better to follow your instincts rather than rules. Since the way we work is a bit unconventional and I like to talk about it anyway, I thought even for non musicians it would be fun to read about it.