‘Selfhood’ is the debut EP from Montreal DIY artist Everly Lux. Recorded and produced with a women/non-binary-only team, this 7-song journey is an ode to becoming and belonging to yourself. Using poetic lyrics, each song is a story that aims to dig deep into the dichotomies of love, grief, violence and reality.
PAN M 360 : Hey Everly, thanks for being here. Congratulations on the release of Selfhood. For your first release you already have such a strong artistic persona. Maybe you could tell us how it all came to be.
Everly Lux: Well this has all been really interesting to me because I wasn’t necessarily planning on releasing acoustic folk music. I wasn’t even listening to that much folk. I have always been a part of a lot of other projects, more pop sort of stuff. I played in an indie-rock band for a while but none of none of these projects really worked out, and then while I was studying music for about six years, I was kind of too busy to really think about an artistic identity and all that. Finally I hit some sort of crossroads and I said, okay, I’m going to try and get myself some grants and focus on my music for a year and in that time Everly Lux was created.
PAN M 360 : So was this folk style a new direction or something you’ve explored for a while by yourself?
Everly Lux: It’s sort of a recent thing. I think it was like in early 2021 that I wrote “Is it True” which is the one song that I’ve written that was different from anything else I had done. It felt like a new project, a new sound, a new identity. Soon after I went on a huge road trip. I drove to LA for three months and it was during this time that selfhood kind of began to take shape. This word just stuck to me, and then when I came back with all of this baggage I wrote all the other songs.
PAN M 360 : It’s interesting you call your album Selfhood when you took on a whole new persona of Everly Lux. How do you reconcile these two identities? Do you see Everly as your alter-ego or more your true self?
Everly Lux: Yeah, well, good question. I mean one of the themes of this album is truth, like there’s a lot of mentions of that and I think my take is that there are many truths and I feel Everly is just one of my true selves. Selfhood is not only about being your static self but it’s a behaviour, it’s an action, it’s an act of becoming yourself. So it implies change, it implies that it’s a process and something that will always need to be done.
PAN M 360 : Of course a big part of the Everly identity seems to be this weird and wonderful sort of aesthetic. So where does your draw to the surreal come from?
Everly Lux : I think I have always felt like an alien and I think that comes across musically too. I wanted to make something different and more experimental than most of the pop music I was hearing. I have a bachelor’s in contemporary music composition too, so I was exposed to super dissonant super weird stuff, but then that stuff was not very accessible because people don’t relate to it. So I wanted to like take that kind of dissonance and edge and put it into something more digestible and also beautiful. One of the most important things for me is originality, so I care a lot about doing something different.
PAN M 360 : How do you go about writing your songs? Do you have a process or not really?
Everly Lux : Yeah, I have many, like, different approaches, but I work a lot with titles. I will brainstorm until I arrive at some sort of word or concept. And then musically there’s always things I want to explore like oh I want to explore this key or this style. Sometimes I’ll get obsessed with one track from another artist and be like I want to do something like that. I feel melodies come naturally to me and chords is like the easy part, so I spend a lot of time on the lyrics and the poetry. It’s very important to me, I hope people read them. That’s why I make these booklets.
PAN M 360 : Did you have any qualms about writing in English versus French or anything like that?
Everly Lux : My first solo project was more bilingual for sure. I’ve always been into languages. I lived in Germany and I speak German and have even made some German music too. I think when I created Everly Lux there was some notion of like trying to make it financially sustainable and you know how the market is. But also just thinking about the artists I listen to and what languages they sing in, not too many of them are singing in French. The industry in Quebec too is just all the same dudes plugged into like three labels. I wanted to get away from that and so a big part of my vision is to work with female and non-binary artists.
PAN M 360 : We all know how dire the industry is these days. As a newly independent artist who do you see as an exemplar of what the independent musician can do in 2023?
Everly Lux : I think every artist has their preferences. Some artists really love studio recording and working on albums and others prefer to play live as much as possible. One artist I really like is Aldous Harding and she plays so much, I mean she tours like insane. And that’s kind of what I’d like to do, play shows like all the fucking time. A lot of artists I like are based in the UK, like Anna B Savage. She just released an album and it’s really amazing. Lisa O’Neil too, she’s in Ireland. And here, of course there’s Helena Deland. I admire what she’s achieved and she also tours a lot, she’s going on tour right now.
PAN M 360 : How did you feel about distributing your music? Did you have your reservations about putting it on streaming services?
Everly Lux : I don’t support Spotify, but everyone else uses that, so I put my music on there.
I think at this point I need to be visible, so the exposure is worth more than anything. It’s kind of like how it goes. You have to play shows.
PAN M 360 : And you have a show coming up soon?
Everly Lux : Yes, I have a show on Monday at Ursa with William Duval. His music is very touching and heartbreaking. And Holly McLachlan. It’s going be really lovely, we named the show ‘Folk-Arc in Three Acts’.
PAN M 360 : Will you be playing songs mostly off of Selfhood then?
Everly Lux : Yeah, but actually I’m going to play a new song that I just wrote this week. It’s really exciting for me right now because I’m going back into the creation phase of writing more music and I’m grateful that I’m not despising music after releasing my album. I’m just excited and enthusiastic in spite of everything, in spite of the industry, I’m glad.
PAN M 360 : We’re glad too. Thanks, Everly.