What are your names?
Lexie Jay & Jon Fedorsen
What is the duo’s name?
How did you come up with it?
Jon came up with FEATURETTE actually, he wanted to have a band that could create smaller EPs, because it takes so long for a full band to record and release an album. He was really into the idea of focusing on getting really well crafted releases that captured a moment in time, or an idea or a motive idea rather than diluting it across an entire album; think little bite sized nuggets of sound, like a mini feature – or in film, a ‘featurette’. I think we were pretty stoked when we realized that the name wasn’t already taken! Running with that idea, whether we’re writing a single, EP or an album in full, we’ve tried to make it so that there’s a storyline over the entire piece, or even over successive works. All the songs are linked, by key centre or imagery, or motifs we’ve used earlier in the record. Pretty nerdy stuff, we could get into it but people’s eyes tend to gaze over when we do!
What is your genre of music?
Electro Pop/Indie Pop/Dream Pop
Give us a little bio about you as a duo and individuals.
We make out-there electro pop beats that we want to share with the world. Jon comes from a background of visual art & jazz, and has been part of Canadian touring projects like Crash Parallel & FirexFire. Lexie is fresh out of Opera school and ready to break into the world of performance in a whole new light. We met teaching music at a band camp, where we jammed out on guitars, and quickly learned that folk wasn’t going to be our genre! We traded up for synths and drum machines and then we found our groove. Together we work to make outside the-box, heavy hitting, impact-ful music that looks at life a little differently. We take pride in our live performances, that we’ve lit up with an 8 foot tall LED light show in the shape of an F, we happen to be masters of DIY, which one must be when you’re an independent project! We’ve taken it on the road with us and played alongside Alessia Cara, Coleman Hell, Scott Helman, Ria Mae, Catey Shaw, Hayley Kiyoko & many more. FEATURETTE, for us, is about creating mini-soundscapes where our lyrical ideas live. Each song or album has a storyline, and whether we’re writing a single, EP or album, we carry our motifs through the work so that our imagery becomes more clear; it’s an obsession of ours to deliver that message to the audience. When we’re not making music we’re both really outdoorsy people, Jon loves baseball, hockey, and making red wine in random back alley garages (true story) and Lexie loves kayaking,cottage time and her cat, Babes. We both suck at social media but that doesn’t stop us from trying, and we have big dreams for FEATURETTE, and run a few businesses outside of the band. Lots of fun stuff 🙂
Describe each other in two words.
Lexie about Jon: Bombastic Bam-Bam
Jon about Lexie: Cat Lover
Lexie to Jon: Thanks Jon.
Are you a signed?
Nope, totally independent for the moment.
Your new single ‘Upside Down’ has been released, tell us more about it.
Upside Down is an ode to the modern decline. When Lexie was writing the lyrics, she couldn’t shake the imagery of Lady Liberty in bed with Donald Trump. We started writing that track last year – we were inspired by the concept of the ‘Upside Down’ in Stranger Things; another world that’s not all what it seems, parallel to ours, but much darker. Over the next year, in the changing political climate we’ve been witnessing with our neighbors to the south, in many ways we find ourselves in that parallel world right now. The headlines are darker than ever before, things are changing, and slowly, people are waking up to realize that it’s our responsibility to do something about it, not just place blame. This summer, we revisited the track, chopped it up, and re-sampled it – we basically flipped it on it’s head. Everything’s upside down, but it’s not just ‘them’, it’s all of us. It started very slowly, but when we rediscovered it this year and tore it apart, the song revealed itself to us quite quickly.
Describe the track in two words.
What was the writing process like?
We spend a lot of time on sound design before we start writing. It’s pretty interesting when
you’ve got a band of just 2 people, it’s a blended sound that comes from our two unique sets
of experiences, merging. The music is our collective experience imagined for this character that we’ve created for our live set (we call her ‘Featurette Girl’ haha), and the lyrics are her story. We’re inspired by our pasts, and the world surrounding us – lately politically focused, but not always. Sometimes it’s as simple as us finding the right sound, or creating a new one, and then thinking about what story that sound would tell. How it would move or sing, what it would say. We do a lot of listening when we’re creating, we’re searching for something new. This song was a real journey – it’s original version was a lot more organic, even acoustic at times, softer. Then we tore it up to match our feelings and the message we wanted to send and ended up with an entirely different product that we could never have made without each step we took to get there.
What was the recording process like?
Lexie: Great – the vocal performance aspect of this song was a real treat for me. For some of our earlier songs I really didn’t figure out how I wanted to portray them until after I had toured them around, but for this track, the connection was immediate. Pent up.
Who did you show first?
Our buddy Alex Wydner – he’s a friend we met at COCA (Canadian Organization for Campus
Activities) last year managing the band The Tourist Company, and he’s a friend of Dear Rouge
as well – a great set of ears, impossibly good memory/catalogue of music, and excellent
How has the response been?
Unreal actually, the response from the press has been great, so many interviews, reviews and the like, and we’ve been graced with two great Spotify adds: New Music Friday Canada, and Indie Allstars, so that should definitely help get it out there! Fans have been posting that they’re jamming to it on repeat, for a little indie project, we’re pretty stoked 🙂 It definitely gets us in the mood to write more!
Do you have any gigs coming up?
None that we can divulge! We have a bunch tracks up our sleeves that we’re planning on unleashing with some touring dates to support that 🙂 We’re also really overdue for a hometown show in Toronto, so standby for that.
Will you be releasing a new EP or Album?
Perhaps… 50/50 as to which one it will be.
Can you tell us anything if you are?
All we can tell you is that the songs have been written, the proverbial ink is dry, and we’re in
production right now. We’ve experimented a lot and now we feel we’ve getting close. We have some cool sounds that we’re almost ready to unleash that we couldn’t be more proud of. The format of the release is still a mystery even to us, but it’s really important for us that when we release a body of work, it tells a story though the whole record. It’s kind of our mantra, hence ‘FEATURETTE’ haha! Needless to say, we’ve got more for you coming 2018.
What made you go in to music?
Jon: I was a bad kid in grade school and I actually didn’t want to go into music. I wanted a free period in grade 7 to slack off with my friends so I said no to music. But in those free periods I was so annoying to my teachers that after around 2 weeks of goofing off, they forced me into band class, throwing a proverbial wrench in my ‘free period’ scheme. I guess they knew my ADD and hyperactivity would be best remedied with a pair of drums sticks, crash cymbals and timpani. The rest is history.
Lexie: I had always loved music so when I got a scholarship to the University of Toronto for Classical Voice, that wasn’t something I was about to turn down. Then when I finally got to the third year of my 4 year BMus degree, I remember distinctly being like: ‘oh shit… this means, I’m going to have a degree in music… what am I supposed to do with that?! That’s not practical at all!’ Then I crossed paths with Jon, and here we are.
Do you play any instruments?
Jon: Some piano, really bad guitar, even crappier bass, and all percussion & drums. I do a lot of programming and sequencing and love to nerd out on synth design. Can’t sing for shit but I try.
Lexie: Piano, slightly less bad guitar, lots of different vocal styles (Music Theatre, Opera, pop,
indie etc etc), violin, and I can make my way around a cello. Stuff with strings/chords really.
Who are your influences?
We’ve come to discover that our mutual influences are Björk, Phantogram, Deadmau5,
Moderat, Radiohead, and more recently Avec Sans, Tove Lo and K. Flay, Flume.
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
We’re both in the habit of having infinite voice memos in our phones, little snippets of ideas captured often at the most inopportune of moments. I’ve heard Jon’s ideas whispered into his phone in the back of a noisy club, I’ve jotted down ideas while driving! When the ideas start to pile up, we find ourselves back in the studio getting some of the good ones down. It’s a train you can’t stop and can’t get off until a song is realized. We know we have a good idea when we capture different versions of the same idea over and over again. That’s when you know it’s something to focus on. We also find inspiration in the world around us, politics, other music, nature, sounds we make; we’re super into sound design, that’s a huge interest of ours and a driving factor in our music.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
In 5 years we want to be touring Europe and the USA. We want to be headlining Canadian festivals that we’ve always looked up to and playing in international ones. We want to have cracked the top 5 in indie radio (maybe pop radio depending on where our writing is going) in Canada, and we want to be receiving international radio play as well. Big dreams, but we’re not going to stop until we get there.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
Jon: Love playing hockey, albeit poorly, and I love hanging around Kensington Market; huge
into food and drink, which includes making award winning wine in my brother’s garage!
Lexie: Hanging out with my cat is a fav of mine, and I’m a pretty crafty/DIY person, I love
making things. We both actually run a few businesses together as well, which is great because we can take our work on the road with us. They’re both local businesses in Toronto: Paint Nite & Plant Nite. Good times!
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more in to the music
Lexie: A New Error – Moderat – found that one while living in BC in taking a summer performance course in classical voice. Then I heard music that wasn’t like anything else I’d heard before and it made me believe I could make music that didn’t need to follow the rules too. That summer I learned Logic and headed back to the city motivated and ready to break the classical rules I’d spent so much time learning!
Jon: Everything in it’s Right Place – Radiohead – that was an eyeopener for me. I can remember being a kid and waiting for my brother to return from the record shop, he skipped school to line up for it and when we listened to it it blew our minds. When the album was done we looked at one another and played it again, trying to make sense of it all. It was a ballsy move by them, but it got me hooked into electronic music.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
Jon: Don’t sweat the small stuff, which is easier said than done!
Lexie: Be the constant in your life, others will stray and find themselves, but they’ll make their way back to you when they’re ready.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an
Be brave, and say what you’ve gotta say. I think that honesty goes a really long way in this
business. Honest music with an honest message that you actually believe in is going to hit
harder than any ‘trending’ sound or vibe. Don’t copy or chase sounds, let then influence you,
and then make your own way so that you’re creating something that’s your own.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
Jon: ‘There’s always room at the top’ – my Dad always used to say that. I think the longer you
think about it the more it starts to drive you. It makes you look forward, not back, which in
music is a good thing.
Lexie: Say ‘Yes’ to experiences. I changed my mindset coming out of Uni and started saying
‘yes’ where I’d always say ‘no’ before, for fear of the unknown. As soon as I started saying that, everything changed.
What TV show would you love to hear your music on?
Orphan Black, Handmaid’s Tale, Stranger Things – dark stuff sits well with us.
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Computer, vox pedal, in-ears, microphone, & ENERGYYYYYY!!!!!
You come off tour;
1/Where do you go?
Home to write more tracks, we’re super bad at taking time off.
2/Who do you see? Lexie: My cat! Jon: My wine! lol
3/What do you eat? Both: 100% – Vietnamese.