The disco-pop ballads of the 80s aren’t entirely dead, not according to Felix Lush at least. On his debut EP, State Of Mind, the 20-year-old songwriter sets his sights to a time when songs were just as big on melody as they were synths and drum machines.
Formerly a member of Sydney’s Bearhug and Claire & The Cops, Felix has used his solo project as a means to create music where no one else to tell him “nah, that’s shit”. The tracks touch on the experiences of new romances and the anxiety that follows, as well as some darker secrets. Blending pumping 80s drum machines and pop-driven guitar phrases to create bouncy, upbeat disco-pop anthems, State Of Mind is like a brusied candy apple.
Noisey: The title track is "State of Mind". What kind of headspace were you in when you wrote the songs on the EP?Felix Lush: This record happened by accident, to be honest. I had stopped playing in bands for the first time in a while but I was still writing all this music. I wasn’t doing much at the time, I was working in a job that bored me to death and had no one to play with so I just started recording.
You draw inspiration from a range of styles but what are your main influences?
This new project is kind of foreign territory for me, it’s the first time I’ve ever used drum machines which completely changes the sound of any music. I think the influence of the drum machine resulted in my pop inhibitions running free. I’ve been really getting into Australian bands like Lace Curtain, Holy Balm and Sex Tourists who have that 80s disco vibe with a bit of a darker feeling to it. I’ve also been listening to a lot of New Wave bands like the Cure, New Order and Moth which resulted me on putting chorus on about every guitar and bass track on the EP.
How does it differ from Claire & The Cops?
Claire & The Cops was an expression of a completely different side of my musical taste. I still love the garage scene and go to shows regularly but after we stopped playing, I started re-discovering old aspects of my music taste. I also didn’t have anyone to write music with on this project, I would usually write with Scarlet and Amy in Claire & The Cops but this time I had no one to tell me "Nah that’s shit”. That was probably one of the hardest things about doing a record on my own, the inability to get feedback. I think I probably annoyed my girlfriend by sending her like 14 messages a week with different versions of tracks.
“It's There” sounds like you're trying to tell us something. What's there, exactly?
At the time my friend was going through a really horrible break up and kept on questioning how her ex changed into this vile and emotionally abusive person. I guess I wrote "It’s There" about that inherent bubbling presence every “good” man has hiding under the surface. At the flick of a switch so many men’s sexist values of superiority and entitlement can be exposed, someone you thought you loved suddenly becomes the kind of hateful and culturally backwards arsehole you’ve never had the time for.
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