Meet: Any Girl - Into The Black
We catch up with acclaimed West Aussie artist, songwriter & producer Reija Lee to find out about her exciting new chapter & premiere her stunning music video
Image credit: Mel Branson
For over a decade now, the name Reija Lee has been synonymous with ethereal, dreamy vocals over a wide range of electronic sounds, initially alongside the one and only Kito, before being signed to Diplo’s Mad Decent imprint. Huge EDM collabs followed, with a plenty of her hometown of Boorloo/Perth’s favourite genre, drum and bass, in the mix including featuring on her brother ShockOne’s tracks as well as teaming up with the likes of Zeds Dead, Paces, Metrik and more.
Now the time is right for Reija to step out as Any Girl, combining her modern electronic influences with her childhood love of guitar driven rock to take her music in a new direction. The first taste of this new direction, debut single Into The Black, sees this fusion of sounds combine in an addictive cut of dreamy indie pop, with driving drums alongside swirling synths and soaring guitars, while Reija’s heavenly vocals float above the mix.
Exploring the fear of the unknown when it comes to the end of a potential relationship, Reija explains “On the surface, Into The Black is a song about the dreaded ‘situationship’. But in a deeper sense, it’s about our fear of the unknown. The lyrics portray someone who would rather be in an unfulfilling relationship, simply because it’s what they know, and it’s better than their fear of being alone. But the uplifting feeling of the chorus and the lyric ‘in the black’ being used as a metaphor for intimacy, kind of poses the question of whether giving in is always such a bad thing. Change is scary, but sometimes comfort is just what is required in the moment.”
Into The Black comes alongside a stunning, cinematic music video (directed by renowned filmmaker Matsu) that features a narrative detailing these themes, interspersed with striking footage of Reija performing in a wild lighting installation. Filmed at The Ice Cream Factory’s Deep Freeze installation last year, the video sees Reija in this LED wonderland controlled by local lighting artist Beamhacker, surrounded by a myriad of lights pulsing in all manner of colours synchronised with the beats of the single.
With Any Girl launching Into The Black Friday, July 14 at El Grotto, we checked in with Reija to find out all about her new single and project as we premiere the video.
Congrats on the new project! What led to stepping away from Reija Lee the artist to Any Girl?
Honestly, the first reason that made me want to make the change is quite boring and to do with streaming algorithms! I have been featuring on drum n bass / EDM tracks for over a decade as Reija Lee and most of those tracks have around 5-7 million plays on Spotify. When I go to release independent pop music it just gets dwarfed by those numbers and is largely lost on a drum n bass audience. DnB will always hold a special place in my heart (and I will continue to feature on it!), but my solo music is so different genre wise so it felt like it made sense to separate the two and give my solo project the space it deserves.
Tell us about your new single Into The Black?
The story in the song is actually based on a friend of mine who I had seen shortly before writing the song - she was in this back and forth relationship/situationship - they both knew they were terrible together and wouldn’t last - but for some reason just kept going back to each other. It made me think about how hard embracing change is, and how humans have this tendency to opt for comfortability and familiarity even if it makes us miserable. It’s a basic human need to connect with other people and the fear of loneliness is so powerful that we will often forgo our own happiness in order to avoid it. The track came together so quickly - I had a session with Tim Commandeur at his studio in Sydney and we wrote and finished it in a day - I love when that happens and we both instantly knew we had created something special.
The single has an awesome music video with a wild lighting installation, how did this one come together?
I was actually planning to release a different track as the debut single for Any Girl and was in the process of planning the video - I was struggling with funding, things kept getting pushed back.. then I randomly got a call from Courtney [Producer], Josh [Beamhacker] and Matsu - I’ve known Josh and Matsu for years and worked with them both in the past… they said they had this light installation that Josh had built at Ice Cream Factory, they wanted to make a music video in it, and thought my music would be the perfect fit. I couldn’t believe my ears. I honestly feel like the universe made this video happen for me - it’s like you work so hard as an independent artist and sometimes it feels like you’re flogging a dead horse, but then the universe throws you a bone and you realise it hasn’t all been a waste of time. I took it as a sign that Into The Black was meant to be the debut single, and so now it is! I’m so proud of everyone for pulling it together as well - it was super last minute as the installation had to be taken down at the venue - we planned and shot the video all in one week. Everyone just pitched in and we all f*cking nailed it in my opinion haha - it’s just awesome to be able to show the world that sleepy little Perth is actually not that sleepy - we have some of the most amazing and talented creatives here and I’m so glad I was able to work with them on this video!
There’s a huge launch party for your debut show as Any Girl on July 14 at El Grotto - what can people expect on the night?
Okay so I may have let my creative ADHD brain get carried away and got Josh to build a full custom light installation for the show?! Hahaha - I couldn't help myself! We also have Little Guilt and Spacedive supporting who are both so amazing, and a DJ set to finish off the night on a high. In regards to the Any Girl show it’s a full live band, and I may have co-written one of my album tracks with a certain sibling of mine who is going to join me on stage to perform that! Rusty Clothing is also sponsoring the event so we have an awesome Any Girl/Rusty wardrobe pack to giveaway to one lucky winner - all you have to do is follow Any Girl on Spotify via this link. The presales for the show are now sold out, but we’ve put aside plenty of door tickets that will be available on the night :)
What have you been listening to lately?
Well on my search for a support act I honestly dove deep into Little Guilt - I’m low key obsessed with their song ‘Nowhere’. I’ve also got Ghost Care’s ‘Who’s Gonna Love You Now’ on repeat, and all of Laurel and Hatchie’s music are permanent mainstays in my Spotify playlists!
How can people best support your art?
Follow me on Spotify! (Or wherever you listen to music). As a new project I need to build my numbers from scratch on streaming platforms which can take a long time. Also, buying merch is a huge financial help for independent artists and helps us fund all our creative endeavours - you can find merch on my website. And of course stream Into The Black, watch the video, and come see the show!
What’s next for Any Girl?
Basically the album rollout! I’ll be releasing singles with more music videos for the rest of this year and then the album will drop early 2024. So plenty more music to come!