Leks Rivers - Interview
Until now, you probably haven’t heard of Leks Rivers (pronounced 'Lakes'). This is why I’m thrilled to share with you some of his music. Based in London, the 20 year old singer writes and produces his own music, giving him complete control of the creative process. Leks combines the attacking pace of Chance the Rapper, while maintaining the smooth and rhythmic sound of Frank Ocean. Leks is a fantastic lyricist with a beautiful voice who frequently uses dialogue in his music. During one of his tracks from Kid Noir, Leks begins “When I’m High" with a conversation between Saul (James Franco) and Dale (Seth Rogen) from Pineapple Express. In another track, “Castaway,” he adds an exchange between Dean and Emma from The Blue Lagoon. Over the past two years, Leks Rivers has released a little over half a dozen songs on his SoundCloud. This upcoming Monday (4/20) he will be releasing a new project titled Project Nomad. Below, check out my interview with Leks to learn about his influences, songwriting process, favorite verse, and more!
When did you begin making music?
I've been writing songs since I was little but I only ever started creating music seriously around 2 years ago. I'm sure my first ever recording is on a dusty cassette tape somewhere.
What’s your songwriting process?
I don't over think when I'm writing, i'll scribble down an idea that i like, hum a melody that sounds cool or if I'm lucky the whole song will just appear in my head instantaneously and I'll just run with it. That's what happened with “Soho Knights”. I talk about the stories I see in my mind, sometimes I'll put the pen down and right 30 songs in a week, Some weeks 1, it really varies. But I'll never run out of stories that's for sure. I think people will truly get the lyricism I include at a later point in time.
What is your favorite verse that you've ever dropped? Is there a deeper meaning behind this?
DO YOU TRUST ME WITH YOUR LIFE
IS THAT WHY YOU GAVE ME YOUR HEART YEARS AGO
IS THIS THE RIGHT TIME
FOR ME TELL TO YOU JUST HOW I'M FEELING
DO YOU STILL SEE BLACK AND WHITE
OR HAS YOUR VISION BECOME CLEARER
OVER TIME YOU WILL SEE I'M RIGHT
I GUESS YOU GET WHAT YOU DEAL IN.
DO YOU STILL SEE BLACK AND WHITE
WAIT HAVE YOU SEEN OUR CHILDREN?
Yeah I like that one.
(Lyric excerpt from “Dzed Digital”)
Who are your biggest influences? Musicians? Authors?
My biggest influences are all the beautiful men and women stacked neatly in my mums ottoman who paved the way for me and so many other kids to pursue our dreams in a field that wasn't always respected by the masses. James Brown because of his raw talent and presence. Whitney Houston's voice was in a different solar system. Jimi [Hendrix] for his suave coolness and insane guitar skills. Stevie Wonder is exactly what it says on the tin. Tupac is very important to me for who I am as a person not just musically. I hope I'm one of the kids that he spoke about influencing the world in some sort of way one day but we'll see lol.
How does being a producer influence your singing? And vice versa?
It's cool, it means that if I have an idea I know how to throw it down and get it sounding right for me. I'm a very independent person so I like to figure things out for myself, get my hands dirty and hopefully learn something pretty cool along the way. Singing is just something I've always been able to do so it's a blessings to combine new and old passions.
We’re excited for the rest of Project Nomad to come out very soon. What can we look forward to on this EP that adds to or differs from your previous work?
So am I, it was mad chill to make & I had fun which is what matters. I wanted to create art, I've done it, so now it's time to let everyone else join the party! I want people to look at each track as a scene from a movie and use the music as a backdrop for the images and visuals that each individual listener will experience through their own imagination. Expect the unexpected :)
If you could collaborate with one artist right now on a track, whether it’s for producing or singing, who would it be and why?
Bob Marley for sure, I feel like we would have caught the livest vibes, we'd kick wisdom and jam all day long!
Who are three artists that ourselves and our followers should be listening to?
Man like STORMZY!!!
Nao is out of the world!
King Krule is FCKD!
On an ending note, where do you hope to see your music and yourself in 3 years’ time?
My goal is to make and create whatever the fuck I want, I don't want boundaries I want the freedom to let what I've been given blossom & become a someone that I'm proud of! I'll be creating art and going on some crazy adventures! I just wanna leave MY mark! I wanna be happy!
By Ben Schechter