LP Walkthru: Nyxen - PXNK
The singer/ songwriter/ producer takes us track by track through the soundtrack to her life and career thus far.
Eora/ Sydney’s 90’s synthwave/ modern electronic artist Nyxen today releases her impressive debut LP titled; PXNK (pronounced punk). Bringing together early staples in her catalog with Tunnels and Nightmare, alongside new hits Silence In Motion and Fantasies, the new LP is 11-tracks of emotional lyricism, dynamic production, sensational melodies, and flourishes of retro aesthetics.
Self described as “an amalgamation of sounds and stories that have influenced my life.” the release is a soundtrack to Nyxen’s life and career thus far, continuing that “It’s about the contrast of discontent and hopefulness, the back and forth, the night and day. PXNK is the last few years of my life condensed into 41 minutes.” Grounded in infectious beats, driving bass lines, clean electric guitar plucks, atmospheric and at times melodic synths back the singer-songwriter-producers pop-tinged vocals that alternate between silky sweet, gritty, and powerfully soaring.
Out today, be sure to give PXNK a thorough listen as Nyxen takes us through what went into the LP track by track below.
Playing around with my Prophet, I got into a groove with an arp sound, which eventually became the first six seconds of Pxnk as you hear it now. I immediately associated the sound with scores by John Carpenter, Daft Punk, Vangelis and Don Davis, visualising cyberpunk styled scenes is not uncommon for me (big sci-fi fan).
Images of a smoke filled 2080 drove the backbone of this instrumental and it was important for me to nail these scenes sonically in order for that to meaningfully translate to the listener.
The song is littered with rave stabs, static broadcasts and low arpeggiated bass lines to pull you deeper into that high tech, low life world.
I wanted Synthetic to depict an acid trip where the spiralling thought that your dreams, desires and preconceptions of yourself might be artificial, backed by the subconscious comfort that none of it really matters.
Instrumentally Synethetic had to feel hypnotic in it’s progression, unravelling along with the lyrics pulling the listener further and further down the rabbit hole.
Silence In Motion
Silence In Motion is a fast paced journey into what it feels like to be an outsider. An introverted, over-thinker, idolizing the freedom and confidence they see in the people around them, wanting that for themselves.
I wrote Silence In Motion’s instrumental to the Jack Rabbit Slim’s dance scene in the movie ‘Pulp Fiction’. I would work on the song and then flick back to the Jack Rabbit’s scene to see the way the song made me feel paired with the movement of John Travolta and Uma Thurman. That’s where the original concept of ‘Silence in Motion’ stemmed from, movement and actions have the ability to be so loud when you take away sound.
Tunnels is a special release for me, it evolved over two years and is a pretty accurate depiction of my anxieties at the start of/ in relationships.
I’ve always been focused on conveying the emotion/ message of a song within the instrumentation and I feel that really shows with Tunnels. The guitars and drums have this feeling to them that really gets me and I could listen to the harmonies on solo for an eternity.
The first instrumental on the album! I always use imagery to help conecptualise the sound and tone of songs. Oceanview was based around the imagery of a delapitated Motel. Once full of life, now stands vacant and vandalised. This song is the sonic interpretation of how I would feel walking through the run down Oceanview picturing it’s lively past.
The Search is a real breath of fresh air on the album, I often write songs with a darker tone to them. PXNK and Synthetic are the night and The Search is the day.
The Search is about feeling unsatisfied but hopeful for what the future will bring, passing through the negative and emerging better on the other side.The first lines of the song are about seeing your future self and knowing everything is going to be okay. The Search is such a nice song to listen back to for me, because that younger version of myself was right.
Radio Silence is about the people that drift in and out of your life on their terms.
It was another song that started with an idea sparked from my Prophet Rev 2 synthesiser. I was filming myself while testing out sounds and actually still have the first spark of Radio Silence on video.
Like all the songs on the album I finished the production with Francis Xavier at his home studio, the best part about writing the album for me was the countless nights hanging out, refining the sounds and learning from a friend I really look up to.
I Wanna Know
I was a bit lost when I started writing I Wanna Know. I felt like the fun, happy version of myself was gone and I didnt recognise or like the person in the mirror anymore. I Wanna Know really focuses on those feelings and the apathetic attitude I had during that time. I Wanna Know was my internal battle, the knowledge that something was wrong and whether or not I was ready to try and pull myself back up.
Fantasies was one of the songs on the album that really grew on me, I almost stopped working on it but couldn’t stop returning to that main guitar riff. I feel like Fantasies is a meeting of my older releases with the sounds I’ve been exploring in more recent releases.
Lightyears was so fun to make, I wanted it to feel like a journey through space. I spent a lot of time digging for the right sample to use at the start of the song and ended up refreshing my knowledge on relativity in the process. I’ve played this song live a few times now and it’s fast becoming one of my favourite and most nerve-racking moments of the live set because I’m bouncing between all three of my synths at the same time.
I started writing Nightmare after having a massive writers block. I couldn’t seem to find inspiration for anything which was probably reflective of what I was going through at the time. I eventually broke the block the day I started Nightmare and it was mostly finished that evening. I think you can hear some of the frustration in the song, it’s slightly more aggressive than the other tracks on the record.
Nyxen’s debut album PXNK is out now via Tank Top Records/BMG.
Nyxen Upcoming Tour Dates
Sat 1st Oct - Grapevine Gathering, Swan Valley, WA
Sun 2nd Oct - Grapevine Gathering, McLaren Valley, SA
Sat 8th Oct - Grapevine Gathering, Yarra Valley, VIC
Sat 15th Oct - Grapevine Gathering, Hunter Valley, NSW
Sun 16th Oct - Grapevine Gathering, Mount Cotton, QLD
Mon 12th Dec - Forth Festival, Forth, TAS
Sat 24th Dec - Factory Festival, Perth, WA
Fri 30th Dec - Rhythm and Vines, Gisborne, NZ
Sat 31st Dec - Rolling Meadows, Waipara, NZ