X priest X may suggest a band with religious connotations, however, “priest” is actually lead singer Madeline's last name, and their music doesn’t so much touch on hallowed subjects as post-apocalyptic worlds which are simultaneously rooted in reality. To complement this lyrical bent the Florida duo—that’s Madeline and David Kazyk—make dreamy electro pop, backed by pulsing synths and topped off with Madeline's sugar-dusted vocals.
Below is the premiere of “Isn’t It So,” Madeline’s favorite track and the first official single off the duo’s EP, Samurai, (out 4.15 on Swedish label Emotion). We talked to the duo talk ballet, comparisons with Purity Ring, and their fascination with the moment when everything falls apart.
Noisey: You guys are from Florida and it’s really cool you signed with a Swedish label. Did you guys sign with a Swedish label because you love the music coming out of there? Is it kind of just a coincidence?
David: When you think of the history of music, that country has had so many amazing bands. I think we’re in pretty good company, but it wasn’t anything about the nationality. We just really liked these guys. They were really heartfelt and genuine about the music. This is kind of cliché, but it’s hard to find. It’s hard to find anyone in music that’s real: that’s in it for the right reasons.
Is there a theme that resonates throughout your Samurai EP?
David: I don’t know if there’s a real theme. I think there’s probably a theme, but I don’t know if I can articulate it. There’s not an intentional theme. Maybe we’re not objective enough to make that call [laughs].
Is there an unintentional theme—one that you see now that you made the music? Do you think there is one after writing and recording the music?
Madeline: Well, I think a lot of the music is really dreamy and post-apocalyptic: in a different world or realm. I think the songs all have a similar undertone for a lack of a better term. They are also their own entities. I don’t know how to put it into words. There is a similar flow in each of the songs.
David: It could be about relationships in every song for sure: different kinds of relationships. I think if there was a common theme, it would probably be that.
You have a background in modeling and dance. How have your other talents fueled your music career?
Madeline: I’ve been performing my whole life. I do remember singing with my parents in the car as a little kid. When Dave came to me about this project, it’s so cool because I’ve gotten to explore a new side of my creativity. I’ve been dancing for so long, so it’s been fun to evolve during this process and start to figure out a sound and how I enjoy singing. It’s so funny because I’m constantly hearing new music and Dave is sending me songs. It’s cool figuring out who I am as an artist—it’s been a process. I’m excited about the EP because everyone else will get to hear it, but I’m excited for everything in the future because I think I’ve already come so far since recording the songs that are about to be released.
What kind of dance do you specialize in? Will we see that in your live performances?
Madeline: I was classically trained in ballet. From that, I did modern and jazz. I don’t think that the actual technical dancing come through that much, but there’s that vocal movement, feeling the music and getting it into your body that I think helps me. There’s probably some stuff from my dance background that comes though.
Have you guys gotten comparisons to Purity Ring and Chvrches so far?
David and Madeline: Yeah.
I feel like some musicians would be flattered, others not so much. How do you guys feel about that?
Madeline: I think it’s a compliment because I like both of those artists but I still feel like we’re different from that. I see the comparison but I feel like we’re our own artist. People hear everything differently; it’s complicated.
David: For a while there, people were saying we’re the next Grimes, but I feel like we probably have more in common with Purity Ring than we do Grimes. I think anything with a strong, female lead singer kind of gets lumped into the same genre.
In the songwriting process, were there any personal stories that you put into the tracks, like in “Isn’t It So”?
David: The track you’re premiering is a mash-up of post-apocalyptic dream songs. It’s about people who have issues and go to drugs—heavy drug users. That’s pretty much what the whole song is about. I think Madeline and I have a fixation with what happens when everything falls apart. What happens when we’re all in that situation? It’s kind of a dreamy song and also a more realistic song about actual people.
Did you guys get any inspiration from post-apocalyptic books or movies?
David: None that I can think of specifically. I think we both like anything along those lines.
What do you picture in a post-apocalyptic world?
David: Much less people. [Laughs]
Madeline: I’m a huge Walking Dead fan, but Dave and I were talking about this; it’s like when you separate into groups. It’s like, “You take this, and I take that.” Everyone is losing people and losing friends. Everyone is trying to go on and live in this world. “Isn’t It So,” is actually my favorite song on the EP so I’m excited. I think it’s really relatable. I think I get a release when I sing it live.
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