New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
Citing My Bloody Valentine, The Velvet
Underground and Taylor Swift
as just a few of his influences, Lailien is a Toronto-based songwriter and producer, already working with Manimal Records, (War Paint, Yoko Ono, Bat For Lashes, Moby), whose debut album ENSOULAR is setting new standards for pop music while giving irony a run for its money. Genre-hopping and genre-creating - it is perhaps unsurprising that Lailien's debut LP was written in part during an intense period of experimentation with psychedelics. Listening to the LP sounds something like walking through a fairground where all the rides have sped up and gone flying off the tracks…
Underlying this hyperactive artifice, however, Lailien's music reveals a mature talent for careful, poetic and intelligent song-writing. He is, after all, a University of Toronto graduate who at one point in his life was on his way to becoming a Professor of Literature. Teaming up with Grammy Award Winning co-producer Mark Zubek, the more intimate moments of the album are reminiscent of the likes of Bon Iver
Newsom, while his experimental pop lyricism sounds something like the Dirty Projectors
crossed with the Flaming Lips. The accompanying video for the first release from the album, Blue Love, is just as imaginative as his music - conceptualized by Lailien, shot by Mina A Solimon and directed by Zafir Ahmed of NRWFilms - it stars lead actress and former Miss Universe Canada delegate Chealse Sophia
"What happens when you love yourself or someone else unconditionally, with all your heart and soul, but you know that suffering will disrupt said love? Exploring the complex interrelationship between life and death, the song and video features principles of eternal reoccurrence, anti-matter spacetime, a multidimensional daemon and mystical psychopomps."
A cultural-omnivore, Lailien sites diverse influences such as Grimes, Animal Collective
Blake, as well as popstars such as Beyoncé and Lana Del Ray, and academic influences ranging from gender theorist Judith
Butler to modernist writer Virginia Woolf. If this all seems a bit too much to take in at once, Lailien would likely say that's the exact point of his music - except he probably wouldn't say it, he'd sing it - in a coded, head-spinning manner.