eLxAr is a multi layered project from Italian artists L & A based around music creation, graphic artworks and video game development.
L - Pianist, pixel artist, game and narrative designer, C# coder and Unity game developer.
A - Academic artistic background and in charge of every main artwork. Has a knack for poetry and singing.
Where did you grow up?
Does “in the world” count as an answer? I was born in Firenze (Florence) and lived there until I was 12. We then moved abroad to Malta where I lived until I turned 18. Since then I have moved in between many different cities all around Italy every 3-4 years.
I was born in Focsani (Romania), and lived there until I was 5 when my mother took me with her to Italy, and since then, I’ve stayed here.
What is one of the first songs you remember liking as a kid?
I used to listen to tons of Italian music as a kid. My parents had this super cool old vinyl player in the living room, so I would just sit in front of the speakers for hours listening to tracks by Adriano Celentano, Gianni Morandi. Massimo Ranieri or Mina. Italy had some absolutely outstanding singers at that time. I also really like a hybrid “classical/dance” band/orchestra called “Rondò Veneziano”. Even to this day I can’t recommend their music enough.
The first songs I heard are the most precious and the most painful! I first heard them on the day I left Romania, leaving behind my grandparents, especially my grandfather, who raised me! It was starting to snow, and in the car stereo, there was a tape with dance music like “ONE AND ONE" by Robert Miles and “MISSING" by Everything But The Girl which, even today, I listen to and sing from time to time.
What influenced you to get into music?
This is an interesting question because I actually have a double answer for it. When I was a kid and decided to start learning an instrument, the answer would definitely be “nothing”. I just really loved music and wanted to be able and play it. A couple of years ago, my rebirth as a musician was due to need and kind of casual. The job situation here in Italy is pretty dire, and I found myself in the situation of either creating a job for myself or starving to death. So, I decided to get into video game development since it was something I always wanted to do as a kid but never had the chance to. After studying design, pixel art, coding and how to use a game engine, I found myself in need of music but with no money to buy it. Even though I still had a repulsion towards music, I forced myself into learning production and guess what? I found out that being able to compose and produce my own music with no one stressing me out all the time was pretty fun! So I kept doing it more and more.
Definitely L. :P
At what age did you start playing/singing?
The first time I was 8. The daughter of a neighbour, named Ursula, was an excellent pianist studying at the conservatory, and she was my first ever teacher. I’ve studied as a pianist for many years but eventually, due to my parents forcing me to practice for hours and hours a day, I started to hate it and stopped. I did not play an instrument anymore for almost 20 years before starting again a couple years ago.
I started singing seriously in middle school. There was an hour of music a week, and we sang reading the scores. In high school, I switched to karaoke with friends, and a few months ago, I started training to sing for eLxAr in the future.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to yourself after finishing school?
Sadly none. I was not lucky enough to be able to finish school. My family was not the happy kind, and when I was 18, I literally had to flee my house and start caring for myself. That brought a lot of problems to my life that I still could not solve, sadly. I hope one day I might get back to studying.
Never finished all, and don’t regret leaving it...but if I have to say something to the young me, it would be, “Go to the principal, and report those teachers”.
What are some of your favorite songs at the moment?
That is a super hard question because I have tons of songs that I deeply love. I’d say that the ones stuck in my mind the most at the moment would be “I Don’t Live Here Anymore” by The War On Drugs, but I also really (and I mean REALLY) love the Bunny X album “Young and in Love”, and the Coastal album “Memories”. I listened to those two albums so many times it’s crazy.
Too many, but for when I draw, I prefer the epic / sad / goth instrumental, something like: “HEART OF DARKNESS by Secession Studios or “THE ETERNAL FOREST” by BrunuhVille ...
Do you listen to your own music?
Definitely too much. But I have to admit that only 10% of the time (maybe) it’s because I’m really proud of it. Most of the time I listen because I nitpick every element looking for ways to improve it.
Which musician would you like to collaborate with next?
Before answering there is one little story I have to tell. When I first started learning music production I went straight to uplifting trance and trained for months in between YouTube tutorials and production courses to get good at it. At some point during the process, I came across production courses by The Midnight, Timecop and Michael Oakley and even though I really loved the music, I just had to pass because I was too much into trance and did not want to switch genres. At a certain point, on the Sonic Academy platform, I was studying a production course for a song called “Keep me Believing”, by Craig Connelly and Megan McDuffee, together with a remix competition, so I decided to give it my best but I could not make anything decent, in fact I think my entry was voted as the worst ones of the entire competition. I had been doing trance for months nonstop at that point, morning to evening with almost no rest, and I thought that I would have been better off leaving it be for a while and try something else. So, I went back to The Midnight / Timecop / Michael Oakley courses and started getting more into synthwave. I enjoyed the process like never before when I was creating trance and as such my choice in what I REALLY wanted to produce was set. So, even though there are TONS of musicians I’d really love to collaborate with, from that moment onward one goal of mine has been to, one day, create a song together with Megan. My choice of getting into synthwave was made by doing a super awful remix of a song of hers, so now I really want to create an amazing original with her voice in it (no matter how crazy the reasoning might seem to me it's like closing a circle) :)
One day, when I’ll be good enough to sing for eLxAr, I’d love to sing as a duo with Kojette from Liquid Modern.
What is one of your favorite memories so far in your music career?
Our music career has only just begun but at this point in time it’s the first feedback and reactions to our debut album “Looking For The Sound”. Of course it wasn’t a hit, but it was the very first real production for us and was received way better than I could ever have expected!
What advice would you give to someone that is just starting to get into music?
One thing I really believe is that fame, popularity and money should not be the goal. The goal should be improvement and putting something out into the world that represents yourself and you vision/beliefs as best you can. If you put in the effort, those other “goals” will be a natural consequence at some point. So don’t stress out, don’t compare to others, and just enjoy your journey the best you can while improving every step along the way by following your own path at your own pace. I mean it’s not like I reached that point yet, but that is my belief :) And if we talk electronic production: don’t spend on plugins! Plugins are like shiny little toys. It’s not the plugin but the way you use it. There are tons of excellent plugins that are free and really, if you can’t create something decent with those even the most expensive ones will make little to no difference for you.
On the contrary: If you are talented enough to create something good with free ones then improving the quality of your plugins might actually start making a bit of a difference because you’ll have the necessary skills to correctly use them at that point.
Music and drawing can be created anywhere and with anything, as long as you don’t give up! Follow your emotions, let them flow from the mind to the body, to the throat, to the hands and feet; maybe it won’t be what you expected, but it will be a part of you...re-reading it seems it’s the same explanation of how to create a Horcrux (without killing anyone XD)
Be sure to check out eLxar's upcoming single "With You" which will be released on April 13.
‘With You’ is the second single from eLxAr’s upcoming album ‘Beyond The Emotions’ published by Retro Reverb Records. The track was created from a thought about the decisions we make in life: the exact moment we realise we belong to someone and it's not going to end.
Neaon's amazing lyrics and vocals bring this vision to life perfectly, blending with ethereal and dreamy synths to bring to life a song that delivers emotionally and creates a sensation of romance and love that will resonate with romantics everywhere.
‘With you’ is a love letter to love itself and to all the people that believe in real love, a depiction of the endless emotion shared by two people who will keep dancing together, no matter how hard the rain is pouring down around them.
Check out more of eLxAr's music on Bandcamp below:
Check out their latest YouTube video below: