Austrian duo, Sophie Lindinger and Marco Kleebauer, are making waves in the alternative music scene as they tour around Europe as the band Leyya; a quirky and creative twist on electronic indie-pop. Their second studio album Sauna is an eclectic mix of groovy and vibrant beats, which demonstrates a more light-hearted and funky vibe than its predecessor, Spanish Disco. Leyya really know how to mix it up, alternating between soft haunting vocals, catchy hooks and intriguing drum solos. The smooth and dreamy ambience of Sauna takes you on a journey as the album explores an array of unique sounds and textures in a world where "everything is the same". Despite their hectic schedule, I managed to chat to Leyya before their gig in the Waiting Room in London last week.
So you're playing tonight at the Waiting Room in London. Have you played there before?
No. We've played in London, yes, but this is our first time in the Waiting Room. It's a really nice, small venue. It's pretty sweet for a small club.
What kind of venues do you prefer playing in?
It depends, I guess. I think the most important thing is the audience. You can have a very cool and intimate audience with 800 people, and you can have the same thing with 100 people. It depends on how the audience reacts to the music.
Where are you looking forward to performing on tour? Anywhere you have never been?
I mean, there are so many cities that we have never been to that we will be going to within the next few weeks, so we are really looking forward to all of it. The thing is, normally we don't really have time to actually visit the city, so it depends on how much time we have. But we are going to play in Mexico and Austin in March, and we do have time to see a few places there. I am actually really looking forward to that.
Do you spend a while deciding what to wear before you play a gig, or does it really matter to you?
[Laughs] I don't think that we think a lot about what we are going to wear. Normally we just have a few pieces of clothes with us, because we don't have the room to bring a lot of clothes, so there are not that many options. We have like 4 or 5 outfits that we always use and then we just decide which one to use on that night. The most important thing is that we wear colours, and not just black and white clothes.
Right now you are on tour promoting your new album Sauna. How was the creative process behind Sauna different from when you created your first album, Spanish Disco?
Well the thing is, with the first album, it feels like you have time forever because nobody knows you and nobody is waiting for your music. With the second album, people actually want to hear your new music, so there is a little bit of pressure and you work differently. But we tried not to think about the pressure and we wanted to take our time. We actually postponed the release of our album three times or so, because we were not really happy with everything, and we wanted to make an album that were 100% happy with, which was a little bit harder than we thought. With the album, we tried to combine new ideas and create new ways of writing. We took ideas from everywhere; from different cultures, from different stories, and from different perspectives. We tried not to limit ourselves with sound. At first, we thought that we had to create the same sound that we created in the first album. But then at one point we decided not to do that, so we got creative and just did whatever came to our minds. I guess, that was a little bit different than what we did with the first one, because with the first one we had one sound in mind and we wanted to do exactly that, but with the second one we just tried and tried and whatever we liked, we kept. So we just played around and made stupid ideas with the songs.
What is the meaning behind the name Sauna, and why did you choose that as the album title?
We chose that name for a few different reasons. The first time we thought about the title Sauna, was when we were doing a recording a few years ago. We recorded a few instruments in a wooden cabin - like a small wooden house on a landside - and there were no windows and it was pretty hot; it was in summer. We posted a picture on social media and someone commented like, "haha the new album title is going to be Sauna". And I think that was the very first time that we heard that, and we thought, that's pretty cool actually. We didn't really think about it when we wrote the songs but when we were close to finishing the songs, we remembered that comment and we thought that Sauna is actually pretty cool, because the word looks quite round and it's a really nice word to say, and that's the idea that we want to create with the music as well; a nice, round, floating theme. And we liked the idea behind it; that people are in a sauna with no clothes, and they don't have material things to show. In that room, they are all naked; everyone is just the same. It's a pretty nice idea, and that's what we wanted to do with the music as well. We wanted to combine every sound, so we'd have a sound from one country and then another sound from one genre; and it would be like everything is the same.
The album artwork is gorgeous, who created it?
Thank you! I painted the woman on the cover and Marco did the collage of the rainbow and the blue background. We want to always create everything that stands for us, we want to make it ourselves as it represents us and we don't want someone else to do that because they mostly don't know what we want. So we just make it ourselves.
Which song from the album means the most to you?
Well, that's a hard question because we worked on every track for a long time and we did a lot for every song because we wanted to make it 100% perfect for us, and it's hard to say which one is the favourite out of that as each one is somehow special in our eyes. So I can't really decide but maybe I would say 'In Your Head', because I really like that its very smooth and soft in the beginning and in the end its very hard, loud and heavy. That's what I like; the combination of these two things.
Do you guys have a say in the production of the music videos?
We are involved in that, because again, it is something that represents us. We want to tell our story with everything that we do, so we try to involve ourselves in everything. If you work with someone making these videos, you always have to collaborate and work together. They have an idea and we have an idea, and then we combine these ideas into one video. So we are involved, and we don't want to publish something that someone else did for us. We want to say something with our work, and that includes our videos too.
After listening to your new album, it's evident that your sound is always evolving - are there any songs that you've recorded that you'd like to go back and change in any way?
I think we accept the album as it is. I mean, that's what we did a few years ago, and this is what we do now. You change as a person all the time and that's what you do when you make music; your music changes as well. I wouldn't say that I would do something differently with the songs. The song is how it is, that's how we wrote it back then, and we liked it back then, so it's okay!
Do you have plans to start writing a third album or will you both take a break after your tour?
We always make music and when we finished the album, we started making music again. That's how it works. But we don't really have a plan to release an album soon. We'll just make music and we'll see where it takes us, and maybe we'll make so many songs that we'll have an album again. But I think that it will take a while, because we are very critical about everything.
Leyya's album Sauna is available now to download.