Who are Lycio?
Motivational Muses Exclusive Feature | by Anastasia Logan
Lycio are an alternative-pop trio from Birmingham, UK and bring their passions for music and women empowerment together. Originally formed in 2017 by keyboardist, Charlie Kelli and drummer Alex Lowe. These two were playing in other bands at the time but wanted to start a more contemporary project. They had already begun rehearsing and writing together but there was just one thing missing, a vocalist. Enter Genie Mendez. She replied to an advert and after a single jam session she became the final piece of the Lycio puzzle.
As for the name origins? That information is strictly confidential!
In terms of music, 2020 has already been a busy year for this trio. They have released two singles, "Nightfall" which dropped on April 3. and was followed by "Somebody" which make its debut on May 1. These singles are expressive and are filled with dynamic elements that come together to showcase the skills of all. "Nightfall" is slow, soulful and sexy. This is achieved by a delicate balance of electric textures and powerful vocals. All coming together to bring a human element into contemporary music. Intimacy is drawn in through the lyrics a process that Genie can explain best.
"When I wrote the lyrics, I wrote them in a headspace of raw sexuality, I wanted there to be an air of hunger throughout. Down to the way it’s sung, the drawl of my vocal. I want this track to make people feel things and feel a certain way."
"Somebody" introduces a difference approach and is characterized by a faster tempo that will have listeners dancing to a song of unrequited love. The topic is not one they usually explore, but it is done in a way that will be appreciated by all. A different writing process was approached with this single to keep listeners engaged which Genie can elaborate on.
"I’m rarely one to write about romance and our songs are usually entangled with expressions of my own mental health. So to have such a lyrically open chorus where I’m so clearly talking about unrequited love is definitely a first for us. Although I’ve still kept the verses dark and mysterious, this song is definitely about wanting someone so bad but them not quite wanting you back. Then you get this really catchy chorus, and I did want it to be as catchy as a Jess Glynne or Fickle Friends track, ‘cause they’re really good at grabbing the listener like that. So I hope you all enjoy listening to it the way we enjoy performing it.”
Their creative process involves jamming, resting and usage of a whiteboard to assist in visualizing different arrangements. Sometimes starting with a blank slate is the best option in order to construct the perfect piece.
"We usually jam for about 40 minutes coming up with a variety of different sections and textures, this also gives Genie time to write lyrics and melodic ideas as we go. Once we’re out of creative juice, we go away for a few days, go through the long jam, cut out all the junk while Genie sculpts the lyrics and melodies further. Then at the next rehearsal we’ll start piecing sections together around the lyrics and melodies trying out different arrangements and sections till we find something we feel portrays the best story for the track. The purchase of a big whiteboard has also been fundamental in helping us visualise different arrangements as we go."
Out of the previous projects they have created their favorite has been their debut single "Saharan King." It has been deemed one of the best tracks they have constructed in their time as a band. Up to this point they had been self producing tracks, so having the assistance of a producer made the process go smoothly. The track came together in a single, one hour session which is absolutely incredible. Make sure to give this track a listen!
Music is not the only thing this trio has achieved in their time as a band. They were approached by two separate vinyl companies, Flying Vinyl and We are Hurd!, to have A-Side records produced of their music.
"As an unsigned band, it’s a real honour and privilege to be approached by companies, on two occasions, who want to press our music to vinyl based purely on them loving our music and the quality of our stuff!"
On top of this, they also headlined at Sofar Sounds London for LOCK magazine. A magazine that advocates for women in all areas of the music industry. This was considered a high point for this group and their journey.
Life lessons can be found in any situation. For Lycio, music has taught them to be resilient and not give up when the creativity seems to escape them. Creative block has been experienced by many. The loss of inspiration can be demotivating but it is important to not lose sight of the journey.
"Sometimes you have to search for that bit of inspiration, you have to put some work into finding it and finding ways to get around that writer’s block or void of creativity, until, you find something that grabs you."
Obstacles will alway make their way into any form of collaborative effort, especially in music. Everyone has an individual opinion of how something should be or could be done. At times finding the best answer to these questions can prove difficult. Lycio has had their share of collaborative arguments but over time they have found a harmony in approaching the creative process that works well for all.
"When collaborating, you’re creating something together, it’s not one person’s vision, it’s a mix of all visions, and we have to understand that not one person will get their exact way. When this happens, we have to work as best we can to finding a mid-point, ideas from both sides merged as best they can until we find something we are all happy with."
Another significant challenge they have faced are people's response to having a female lead. While Genie gets attention for being a female lead, it is attention that is focused in the wrong direction. Genie and other female vocalists are more than that, they are vocal powerhouses who contribute immensely to the music community and it is important to focus deeper than what is on the surface.
"It's a horrible thing a lot of women in music face, the risk of being exploited or overlooked and we want to do all we can to challenge that attitude."
Women empowerment is an important cause for this group and they are determined to use their platform to spread the message. Everything Lycio does can be drawn into this issue, from the music they write to working alongside campaigns that advocate for women's issues. For Lycio actions speaker louder than words.
"We're constantly championing women in music by doing what we do: writing music that expresses female experiences, working with venues committed to safer gigs for women and marginalised genders and discussing issues that impact women on our social platforms. We’ve worked closely with NOT NORMAL NOT OK; a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues - from dance floor to dressing room. We will not work with people we believe ignore the clear issues present in the music industry, cutting ties if we think it is necessary. We think it is important to discuss and engage in these conversations around female empowerment and experiences, so hopefully we can use our platform to do that and to support causes that align with our views."
Looks like this feature is drawing to a close. Which means it is time for some fun facts!
How would everyone feel if Genie decided to not join the crew? It is true! Genie was a bit tentative about the project in the beginning. But in the end she decided to give Lycio a shot and from there they hit the ground running! For those who are fans of the paranormal, Alex's house is very much haunted and was given a shoutout in their song "Air PT.1." Lastly, nothing says band bonding much like weekly pizza hang out sessions! Well that was until their tummies decided it was no longer a good idea.
Lycio are combining advocacy with music and are doing in a way that is impactful for everyone. This trio have a bright future ahead of them and I cannot wait to see what they create in the future. Make sure to follow Lycio on all of their social media accounts to stay updated on all upcoming projects!
Advice from Lycio
1. Try something new.
2. Whiteboards are very useful.
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