U n d e r t h e B l a k L i g h t w i t h T h e F r i x i o n
“If U Ever Wonder” was the first song that I heard from The Frixion, and I quickly checked them out. This international electro pop duo burst onto the scene in 2017 with the mesmerizing singer /songwriter Gene Serene on vocals and the synth wizardry of producer Lloyd Price. They remind me of everything that I liked about electro pop growing up as a teenager. “Heartbreak Disco” was the next song that I heard from them and it's a complete ear worm. Since first hearing them, every song has been a complete pleasure to experience. Their new single, “Starstruck Love”, is released today, September 15th. DJ Porl Young has joined them on this 4 minute 26 second ride of pop heaven. Gene has recently said in another interview of this song is “about the nature of love - one can pretend it doesn’t exist, walk away from it, even try to deny it forever – however pure love never wanes and the moment you’re confronted with that person again, it’s there - the emotion just as it always was like time travel." I was lucky enough to do a remix for “If U Ever Wonder” in 2017 and hope to have the honor of remixing for them again. For our album, 'Into the Void', Brian asked Gene to duet with him on "Vampires". Rumor has it that BlakLight has a demo of a Frixion song that potentially could turn into a collaboration. Wouldn’t that be a great collab, we think so. - Adam
How did The Frixion come together as a band?
Gene: I had just moved to Berlin when the news of Prince's death broke, exploding on social media. Both Lloyd and I were devastated, we had a lot of friends “in common”, though we didn’t know one another at all. We are both huge fans of Prince’s music - that night we both shared our favorite tracks - I remember sharing “Anna Stesia” and that’s how we began communicating. It wasn’t long before Lloyd sent some music, and I wrote “From Dusk ‘Til Dawn” which became our first single together. We have just been joined by Porl Young and his skills and musicianship have taken what we can create to new levels - that’s a really new thing, he produced “Startstruck Love,” our new single.
Lloyd: The Frixion was originally a project I used to remix other artists. I did some remixes for Massive Ego under the name. At the same time, I was producing with Massive Ego. I’d written a demo that I felt didn’t quite work for them. So, I just had it sitting around a while. At a similar time, a friend of mine, Rob Green, had put out a track. The vocal was really cool, so I asked him who it was. Turned out it was Gene. So, I approached her on Facebook and asked if she’d be interested in doing something. I sent her the demo and what came back was amazing. That turned out to be our first single, ”From Dusk ‘Til Dawn”.
“To Hell and Back” is a great song, what does this song mean to you?
Gene: I can’t speak for Lloyd on this one, but it’s no secret that I wrote and recorded the song at the end of a very difficult time. I was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer and had a year’s worth of chemo and radiotherapy; it was a really difficult time. So, a deeply personal and quite challenging song to perform live. Essentially the song is experiencing personal tragedy and making it through to the other side. Into a world with a future again.
How would you describe your sound?
Gene: It’s electronic pop for sure with big synths and darker deeper edges. Lloyd’s secretly funky so there’s always that element bubbling away underneath. We have recently added some live instrumentation to the production which gives it a good fresh feel. I would like to think within its recognizable sound, it’s pretty diverse. We have broody moody heartbreakers, more up-tempo celebrations, and all in between. I tend to sing close harmonies as well, so it’s quite a full sound. I try to give a nod lyrically to musicians and artists I like in the songs we write. Usually, you’ll find an album title or a quote from a song I love in each of the tracks.
Lloyd: In the early days someone likened us to Gary Numan meets Kylie Minogue. Not entirely sure about that, but made a good headline! A venue actually used that on their billboard once for a gig we did. I suppose we’re electro pop. We use electronic instruments/techniques to build our music and all the while Genie’s there giving it a very human touch. I think we’re very aware of making everything authentic. We don’t rush our stuff just to get something out there. It takes a bit of time to get what we want.
How did you come up with the name of your band?
Gene: Lloyd had done some remixes under The Frixion moniker and it felt silly to keep featuring me once we had written the first EP, so we decided to use that project name.
Lloyd: I just wanted something that stood out a bit for my project. I really should have Googled it first though as it turned out Frixion was some naff boy band. So we had to stick ‘The’ at the start to get round that. Obviously, the name is a play on the word ‘friction’ . That push and pull to make something unique was how I saw it originally.
What are your influences?
Gene: OMG. Ok - there are the obvious ones - and the bands I saw live in my teens and twenties: Siouxie, Cardiacs, Dead Can Dance, Prince, Beatles, Nina Simone, The Cult, Zappa, Floyd, Brian Wilson, ELO, The The, Fuzztones, NIN/Trent Reznor, Carol King, Depeche, FSOL, The Clash, Goldfrapp, Air, Gentle People, Fiona Apple, Human League the list is endless... More recent stuff, Loving The Maria’s, King Princess, Mini Mansions (in fact anything Michael Shuman touches), Tame Impala, TEED, Alice Gift, Childish Gambino, Billie Eilish too, she’s done some great work.
Lloyd: For me there’s a lot of 80s electro. Afrika Bambaata, Cybotron, Warp 9… all that stuff that was on the Street Sounds albums. Herbie Hancock’s "Rockit"… that kind of thing. I also love Prince. Just a genius. Now it’s bands like Nine Inch Nails, The Anix, Boy Harsher. I also love what Jack White does these days. Later years there was the Detroit techno stuff. Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson. The tracks those guys produced in the early days were so inspiring.
Describe your creative process.
Gene: It really depends for me.... If I am writing alone, it’s either on the guitar, or with a simple loop and a synth. Sometimes I have a chorus all there in my head - then I work backwards. Mainly with this project, it’s been Lloyd sending me a backing idea and I write and record the melody and lyric idea and send it back and forth that way. It’s not been ideal. But it has worked. Some songs I had written already like “If U Ever Wonder” or “Magic”. In that case, Lloyd produced a full song arrangement and then I rerecorded the vocals. It would be nice to be more organic about it - which is what’s great about having Porl involved - it’s given us his talent and a way to work together to get that bigger sound. Living in two countries makes writing all together live difficult to arrange... but we are working on that!
Lloyd: It usually comes from a demo I’ve been messing with. Although there have been times Gene sends over a guitar demo and I’ve worked from that. Once the basics are there, I send it over to Gene and she does her thing. She’ll send the vocals back then I’ll probably play around with rhythm and maybe some new melodic parts. It’s a very fluid thing.
Are there any musicians that inspire you?
Gene: Did I already mention Michael Shuman? Lol I tend not to do the cult of personality, but there are of course artists that have inspired me! Besides Schuman, Billie (Holiday and Eilish) and Prince, I would have to say I admire many of the old great jazz singers like Connie Boswell or Ertha Kitt. I also admire the big performers like Ariana Grande or earlier artists like Janet Jackson or Siouxie Sioux who have such a huge sense of stage and showmanship... bands like Led Zeppellin, The Doors were IT for me as well. The Polyphonic Spree blew my mind when they arrived - I deeply admire Tim DeLaughter. Cardiacs were a massive influence to me in my early teens. Being a pondie and seeing so many shows over the years gave me the real understanding of the power of live performance and the community of music those days were amazing. Thinking about it though, I think I admire most artists simply for daring to do it, living it - being brave enough to stand up there and know they’re good enough - they feel it deep enough and bear their souls. Yeah - again far too many to mention.
Lloyd: I really think Brandon Smith of The Anix is great. He continually pushes and creates. Not only music, his design stuff is very cool too.
For people who aren't familiar with your band, what two songs would you suggest they listen to first and why?
Gene: I would say “Deceive a Believer” and our new single “Starstruck Love” It’s hard to choose though each one is a part of me.
Lloyd: I think the next single is “Starstruck Love" is definitely a listen. It’s got everything I like in there. It’s electro, it’s a bit disco and the vocal is awesome. And it introduces our new guy Porl as well. He’s given us a bit of a deeper sound. Another fave of mine is “We Walk a Line”. It shows a very different side of us. Whenever I hear it, I think it could nearly be the kind of thing Johnny Cash might sing!
If you and BlakLight had a child, what would you name it?
Lloyd: BlakFrixion? Does that sound a bit risqué though???
Are there any issues that are important to the band that you want people to know about?
Gene: I don’t know how to answer that one. From the perspective of an independent artist - it’s nothing easy getting your work out there and heard - it takes a whole ton of time, energy and talent from a lot more people than just the artists, often a labor of love, sometimes rewarded and even quite heartbreaking at times. I am thankful to all the people who are in tune with us, get into what we do, who enjoy our music -come to the shows, they who listen. That’s an important thing to share. A huge thank you to everyone who supports us in doing this it’s not just 2/3 people the list is longer than you think! In a broader sense of the world, it’s vital to keep in tune with the world in balance with nature. There are so many things being worked on, constantly at such speed - you can’t keep up... it’s good to become nature sometimes. I think it’s important to treat both the planet and all life as a treasure - to be nourished and protected. No war, love one another
Lloyd: Technology. The “always connected” idea that means it’s hard to get a moment to yourself sometimes. The value of going offline for a while to switch off of the madness of today’s world.