Had the wonderful opportunity to interview LESPHINXX!!! Really into their Lp right now… ENJOY!!!!
M.P. I was blasting your album as I road a bus through the Catskills today and I remembered we agreed to do an interview and as the trees changing leaves blurred your music took me over and I felt like today is the day! First, I just gotta say the reason I am so into your music is its energy. For me whenever I listen to your album I feel like I’m transforming into a teenage girl bursting with happiness and raving her life away and that’s like the greatest feeling ever. Is that intentional or am I just crazy?!
D.L.S. Thank you for listening to LESPHINXX while driving through the forest, especially during this time of year when nature makes it’s decent into the under world. The veil gets thinner and thinner this time of year, so this is the season for Lesphinxx music for sure. And yes many of our songs possess teenager vibes. I believe I am in a perpetual state of teenager but while deeply rooted in the wisdom of the crone.
I am really really excited that we are releasing our second Lp Ħaġar Qim later this Fall 2013 though Sisterjams. Ħaġar Qim (“Standing/Worshipping Stones”) is a megalithic goddess temple complex found on the Mediterranean island of Malta, dating from the Ġgantija phase (3600-3200 BC). My family on my father’s side is from Malta originally so this is like an homage to my roots and also to the cosmic mother.
M.P. Your album rides this fine line, for me, of complete accessibility and then I hear you in the background screaming, “harder, faster, more more more” and the tempo picks up and goes in really absurdly wonderful directions that I feel like so many people would love to dance to. Like “THZ DMZ” is just completely wonderful. Thank you! What’s “THZ DMZ” stand for? And how do you go about titling tracks? Where does Le Sphinxxx come from?
D.L.S. I’m really really happy that you love our music, thank you. “THZ DRMZ” stands for “These Dreams”. Danny remixed the vocals on “These Dreams” by Heart. Danny re-created the sensation/sound of going up and down on a roller coaster on the beat of this remix. This song is dedicated to his mother, Debbie.
When titling songs we usually will just take one or two words from the lyrics of a track. I’d like to say something more interesting like we use a baby name book or something. When it comes to writing lyrics I listen to the subconscious. I’ll quiet my waking thoughts and let things arise from the void. This isn’t always easy, flow really depends on a lot of things. Like astrological phenomenon , whether i feel energetically full or not. I really try to throw myself to a higher plane/dimension to receive melodies. Even if it’s just for a moment when i see a vision of some sorts and i feel like I’m soaring. In that moment I will find a melody and pull it down into a song.
I chose the name LESPHINXX because of the legend/symbolism surrounding the sphinx is to choose one’s own destiny. I happen to read about this in one of my favorite Joseph Campbell books, “The Power of the Myth”.
M.P. When I’ve explained to friends what your music is like I’ve said, “it’s like what I always wanted out of Grimes!” Does that seem like a fair way of describing you? I feel like you’re what Grimes wishes she sounded like, Grimes with some soul…. Since you go by Doorways I feel like you’re completely tapped into this, a psychic person ready to channel and help people do so too. Does that seem accurate? What else?!
Q5) Well I love Grimes but we are different creatures. She is like a dolphin and I’m more like a bat. Although we have similar sounding voices at times, LESPHINXX has a tendency to be a lot heavier and darker. Being that I go by Doorways well yes that is for a reason. I can’t remember where I was when I decided to change my name. But I do know that something gave me the name, it just appeared in my mind out of nowhere. That’s usually a good indicator that you are receiving information out side of your self. I can not say that I am a fully open & trained psychic. I often do have supernatural experiences though and this is a huge source of inspiration for my art and music. So it’s only natural for LESPHINXX fans to become inspired in such a way when they hear our songs or see us play live. It is my deepest intent to unlock and usher in sacred divine feminine energies we perform live or create art.
M.P. The first time I saw you perform you showed up an hour early and completely transformed the room you were playing it. It was Robot Moon Juice’s boyfriends last night in his old apartment and everyone came out in support of their eviction. I was exhausted as it was the end of gay pride weekend but still I went and I’m so glad for it! The times I’ve seen you live I’ve been blown away by your live presence. It manages to be casual and welcoming but you also really get people dancing. What is the motivation for your back up dancers wearing those masks?
D.L.S. Oh yeah ! I love Robot Moonjuice he is a good friend of mine lots of Love to him and his music career. He is actually on the cover of our first LP Athame, running in the nude through Cypress Hills Cemetery. The photograph was taken by our great friend photographer Ishmail Thoth Ra. When we play live we usually play through out the DIY circuit and bring along a pop up installation. Our current installation is a sort of a neo – ancient Egyptian temple which I created out of spray paint and dollar store goods. We are more of an art group then just a band. Lyfty Sirena and Uniska Wahala Kano are the dancers / performance artists in LESPHINXX whom are actual permanent members of this group. When they perform they are more like channels for other-worldy expression. We are like a band of mythological entities. Moon girl is going to haunt you !
M.P. Also, what is the process of making music versus performing music like for you? Is one side of the process more enjoyable or more of the focus for you?
D.L.S. song writing vs playing live …. There is a huge difference between writing songs and performing live. I enjoy both art forms but playing live and being on tour is definitely more fun. If I’m lucky I’ll write a song in a day. Sometimes a song will come through a telephone or through a window. Just like that it will show up in a connection with a person or even the wind will give me a song. But usually I’ll start with a beat and a bass line and sort of chant over it for a few hours. I will play synths / guitars over it for another few hours. Lurking for the right sounds / mix etc etc. Finally I will listen back to about 20 – ish different melodies per instrument and pick out what sounds most moving . My ears will not settle for anything too easy or boring. It’s like mining for crystals. I have to get through all this dead-ness in my aura, tear it open, jump off the high dive. When I hit a wall with a song that I’m really into is when I’ll hand it over to Danny. He ends up adding really dope beats sounds etc. It’s kind of like writing music would be baking the cake and then playing live is eating it up and having a food fight. Playing live is very ceremonial for us. We always burn sage at shows, transform a space with all of our weird art. We bring a portal with us in a suitcase along with strobe lights fog machine incense. We never know what’s going to come through. It could be anything from spirits, to fairies. This may sound ridiculous but the portal is alive and well. This is our deepest intent there for it is.
M.P. Your music has this very ethereal, almost supernatural quality, as it also taps into a range of emotions and drives. A lot of the songs are so simple but also seemingly reach so far, which is everything. Songs like “Is He It” completely transcends me and bring a smile to my face every time. What is the story behind the song and whose the guy singing with you? Is he it?! I guess what I’m asking you is, how personal are these songs? They seem really personal. And if they are, I feel like that’s why they’re so charged.
D.L.S. About “is He it ?” Well that’s me and Danny singing. This track is about questioning & destroying self-doubt. It’s about him literally writing a song to prove that he can write a song. I believe all of our songs are very personal.
M.P. Can you tell us a little about where you come from, what music has inspired your craft, why you started making music?
We are all from NY. My family is from Queens, Jackson Heights and Astoria. I lived in queens as a kid and then we moved to Nassau on Long Island where I grew up in West Hempstead. Lyfty is also from Long Island / Wantagh and her family is from Guatamala. Danny’s family is from Brooklyn/Manhattan/L.I. And finally Uniska is from Jamaica Queens. On both sides of my family there are a tons of artists and musicians, My grandparents play music, my great grand parents, my parents, my uncles, aunts, cousins, siblings. It’s in my blood for sure, i am very blessed. Music really would seize my entire being even when i was a little girl. Finally when i was a teenager I picked up a guitar and stared to play like mostly punk stuff. And just continued to pay attention to this really bright and burning feeling that music gave me. I basically answered the call.
D.L.S. My favorite bands would be Siouxsie and the Banshees, Crystal Castles, Blonde Redhead. I love a lot of goth music like VNV Nation, BlutEngel. I grew up listening to tons of riot grrrl like Babes in Toyland, Bikini Kill, Heavens to Betsy, Sleater KInney, L7, Hole, Lunachicks. I’m also totally in love with many of the current girl groups here in Bushwick, BK wear I live; like Gluuu, Dark Sister, Culttastic, Oriana Gold just to name a few. We are going to start up a monthly festival called Temple of Kali, featuring all music + art by woman. We are aiming to make it as big as Lollapalooza.
Now go buy the Lp!