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Premiere: Jaggers x Lines Share Single 'Soft Little Lights' + Interview

Premiere: Jaggers x Lines Share Single 'Soft Little Lights' + Interview

Interview by Fluffy / Friday 13th July, 2018 11:32AM

Dunedin 'trip-pop' duo Jaggers x Lines have been a force to be reckoned with over the past year, dropping a cathartic run of singles in the lead up to their imminent debut album Burn Cycle. The band is the creative partnership of Eliana Gray and Morgan Simile, we're thrilled to premiere their latest song 'Soft Little Lights', an incandescent blend of butt-shaking grooves and thought-provoking lyrics, recorded with guest vocalist Alexandra Selkirk-Hanna (of Beachware). Jaggers x Lines are celebrating the release of the tune tonight at Wellington's Caroline alongside sonic buds Namesake and Melting Faces. You can listen to their new single below, and read on for Gray's email interview with Fluffy about their forthcoming album, her contribution to Girls Rock! Camp Aotearoa and more...

Your new single ‘Soft Little Lights‘ drops today! Could you please talk a little about the inspiration behind the tune and how it came to be?

Every night during the time I wrote 'Soft Little Lights' I would smoke a cigarette out the window of my sun-room before bed and look at the stars. I have anxiety issues and one of the unhelpful coping mechanisms I've developed is paranoid thought cycles. Around this time it was the fear that every ciggie butt I dropped out the window would catch fire and the house would burn down while I was sleeping. That gave me the lines "flickering little embers, soft little lights. Blowing cross the damp ground, trying to spring to life." What the song really ended up being about is the ways I use relationships, obsessions and my lifestyle to burn myself to distract myself from difficult things in my life and attendant mental illness. Burning myself continually to the ground. But wanting to move beyond that and develop more sustainable ways to move through life. All that was written in studio with Morgan while he was getting started on the track's production. A big part of the inspiration behind the beats was our fixation on making something a bit smokier than 'Problem Drinking'.

Can you tell us a little about the single’s co-conspirator Alexandra Selkirk-Hanna, how did you meet up with her?

Alex and I met when we were paired as mentor partners at Girls Rock! Camp Aotearoa this year. We instantly clicked and I couldn't love and respect her more. We talked almost immediately about making music together so when we played in Tamaki Makaurau earlier this year I asked her if she would sing with me on a couple tracks, one of which was 'Soft Little Lights'. She comes up with the most beautiful vocal melodies and brought such a special energy to our set that it was the obvious choice to have the recording sound the same as it did that night. Everyone should also check out her amazing band Beachware!

The release of your debut album Burn Cycle is inching ever closer and we are getting well excited! Is there an underlying theme throughout the release?

There is! And it's pretty on the nose title-wise. Burn Cycle refers to much the same themes as 'Soft Little Lights' but is also an allusion to the way I feel sometimes about the process of healing from trauma (which I'm in the midst of) and the way I live my life. It's a pretty good snapshot of my thought processes over the last year. Our EP Letters is pretty emotionally brutal thematically and I love that Burn Cycle is coming from a different place both lyrically and sonically. The landscape here has a bit more distance from pain, a bit of light. I was also very emphatic about making big pop album. So that was where Morgan and I were looking beat-wise. We really wanted to make a record and a live set people could get down and get sweaty af to. And we've done that! The album will be out late August and I can't wait for everyone to hear it. It's tasty and I love it.

How did Jaggers x Lines come to combine their creative forces?

Morgan and I met eight years ago when he would DJ at the 'smallest bar in the world' (literally) where I worked. We talked casually for years about making music together in that tiny alley-way. Initially it was inspired by our mutual attraction to Sylvan Esso and wanting to make something like that. Then about a year ago, I'd just come back from overseas and things had quietened down a bit with my other band Terrified. One Facebook message later and we were in Morgan's studio. It was the next time we met up that we started recording Letters, which we completed over the next two weeks and we've never stopped.

You have been playing out of Otepoti a fair bit of late. Could you please tell us a little about your adventures outside of your hometown?

We went on tour to Poneke, Tamaki Makaurau and Otautahi after we released 'Slipstream'. It (and still is really) my first ever tour. We rang in the New Year playing at Twisted Frequencies Festival in Golden Bay which is one of my favourite sets we've ever played because it was outside and dancing outside is the best. Also Average Rap Band played a set that changed my life the next day so a good time all round. We came back up to Tamaki Makaurau in May for Double Whammy Fest organised by massive legends Worn Out Collective. In a couple weeks we'll be supporting Tash Sultana back home which is a huge buzz.

We understand you were a mentor at the recent Girls Rock! Camp Aotearoa. Can you tell us a little about that experience?

Girls Rock! Camp forever! Girls Rock! was one of the best weeks of my life and I think it is one of the best and most important things in the world for non-binary, gender non-conforming young people and girls to have safe, supported spaces to create, be empowered, be themselves and make music! I was given the privilege of supporting a group of five 11 - 14 year olds as they wrote a song and created a band together. The talent, drive and energy displayed by all the campers was mind blowing and I feel so blessed to have been able to be a part of it. Everyone support Girls Rock! It's the best!

Finally, if you could collaborate with any artist from across the world, who would it be?

I am going to instead create a supergroup and in my band will be: Karen O, Janelle Monae, Hayley Kiyoko, Kehlani, Harry Styles and Fiona Apple and Me and Morgan. Our live shows are gonna be Talking Heads / Prince level bananas. It's gonna be great.


'Soft Little Lights' is out now via iTunes, Apple Music and Spotify.


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Jaggers X Lines, Namesake, Melting Faces
Fri 13th Jul 9:00pm
Caroline 1 Manners st, Wellington, Wellington