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NXNE Interview: NLX

While Giovanny was elbowing his way through packs of sweaty Canadians to get a close up look at Feist, I was using my Culture Blues All Access Pass (thanks for scoring that, intern) to get face time with some of the acts playing NXNE. In the first of what should be a week full of interviews, I sat down for coffee with NLX. The Canadian singer/musician currently based out of New York has an album out now – Bitch Get Fit – that she insists is not a work out tape. Her song Find Love also features in the indie film Off World that recently screened at Cannes. Besides debating whether or not Hank from Breaking Bad is inherently evil (I say yes, NLX says no), we made some time to actually discuss her music.


Culture Blues (CB):  For our readers that might not be familiar, could you describe your sound?

NLX:  It’s dark pop, essentially. It’s electronic dark pop – piano driven. It’s very melancholy. Someone once compared it to Trent Reznor with tits. It’s just heart-on-your sleeve storytelling with a little bit of a darker tone.

CB:  Is there an essential track we should be listening to off Bitch Get Fit?

NLX:  Oh, shit. Essential track? Can I look at the CD? [she looks at the CD] I’m really proud of the CD, I love it to pieces, so that’s really hard. I’d say Young Love. There’s Find Love and then there’s Young Love. Find Love is more epic and it’s the last song on the album so it’s like the light at the end of the tunnel. But the whole CD is a big, big story. I didn’t want to just put the first three amazing songs at the start, I wanted it to be like a story, something with a context. I’d say Young Love sort of sums a lot of that up.

CB:  Have you had a chance to check out any other bands around the festival?

NLX:  I saw some bands last night. I saw an amazing band – a friend of mine was playing a show at the Hard Rock – and I saw this amazing band from Ottawa. They’re called A Plot Against Me. It was part of this radio station’s money giveaway. They give a shitload of money away in Ottawa.

CB: Really? To what?

NLX:  Just to bands! It’s called the Big Money Shot giveaway. They gave this one kid $250,000. It’s crazy. But, A Plot Against Me was amazing. I like stuff that’s a little darker, a little more guttural. I like stuff that really makes me feel. They were really heavy.

CB:  You grew up in Toronto?

NLX:  No, I grew up in Hamilton.

CB:  Oh yeah – I read the bio, with the shadow of the smokestacks and— [note:  NLX’s official NXNE bio begins “Raised in the icy shadows of Canada’s steel city smoke stacks…”]

NLX:  [faux mysterious handwave]  Oooh. Fucking bios, man. Hamilton was a great city to grow up in. It was very blue collar. My parents were both immigrants and my dad worked at a steel factory his whole life and the steel factory bought us the dentist. It was a good time. Hamilton’s a really great music town. Daniel Lanois is from Hamilton. A lot of great musicians, a lot of great talent, but it’s a really blue collar town. I liken it to New York in the fact that - in Toronto there’s more gray when you get into the music scene, it’s not as cut and dry like it is in New York where people either do or don’t like you, it’s very black and white, and Hamilton’s the same way. In Toronto people are more like – maybe! I’ll try to like you! It’s a different energy.

CB:  How is it going from playing Hamilton to doing gigs in New York?

NLX:  Hamilton’s great to play in because it’s my home town and I think whether you live there any more or not it holds a special meaning. But I love living in New York, I love playing in New York, I love the vibe in New York.

CB:  Greatest Canadian musical export:  Celine Dion or Avril Lavigne?

NLX:  Wow. Why those two? Well, I’ll take Celine because I’m a sucker for a story. And I’m a sucker for anybody who loves their music, and what they do, and I love to hear about people’s journeys. She came from nothing, her family was like piss poor. She was one of what? Fifteen children?

CB:  I didn’t know that. Do they teach Celine Dion in school?

NLX:  No, no, no. If only! Maybe further ahead. I’m a geek that way when it comes to Nikolai Tesla or Celine Dion, I like to hear people’s stories. And she had a real interesting story. So my vote is with Celine, with Quebec. Wow. What would you say?

I turned off the tape here as I wanted no record to exist of my answering this question. But I said Avril.

Be sure to check out NLX on her website where you can keep tabs on her NYC summer shows and her upcoming USA/Canada mini-tour.

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