Energy From The Darkness: An Interview with Featurette

by - March 09, 2023

If a frog is dropped into a pot of boiling water, it will naturally attempt to find its way out. If the water is tepid and slowly brought to a boil, a frog will not recognize the danger. It is a metaphor used to describe anything from climate change to abusive relationships, and for the band Featurette, it is the metaphor they are using on how to shake up the music industry.

For so long, songwriter Lexie Jay was caught up in the idea of songs she should be writing instead of songs she wanted to write. She found herself looking back on Featurette’s last album, Dream Riot, and feeling that her soul was not in it. She recognized that not only had she fallen into a deeper depression, but that she was wasting precious time by being caught up in it.

She took one of the songs from Dream Riot, “The Blame”, and gave it a stripped back makeover. She calls it “the exposed version” as the song as well as the music video paint a more detailed, darker picture on a previous relationship. The music video was self-directed and won two Canadian Independent Music Video awards.

By creating this new content, she knew that she needed to say goodbye to that version of her. She can even hear in the delivery of older songs just how mentally and physically tired she was. Releasing this version of “The Blame” helped put that girl to rest.

“I don’t need to be the victim anymore,” she said. “I don’t want to be this second fiddle thing; I just want to have fun and know what I am and really get into what makes me work. I was just playing the game as perfectly as I could and then I realized that the game was playing me, and it was my turn to take charge.”

The band’s first single of 2023, “Cocaine”, is what Jay calls “the party favor” of music to come. The song is an energy-fueled look at love obsession and the addictive qualities it possesses. It touches on her newfound enthusiasm for pushing boundaries and not being worried about the eventual downfall.

“I think in the new stuff I’ve got energy from the darkness now,” she said. “I carry myself differently now, having chosen to not be scared of the darkness. We all have our demons and I think a lot of people just suppress that stuff, but I just looked it in the eyes and said, ‘you want to sing about it?’”

Their next single, “Shibari”, refers to the contemporary art usage of Japanese bonding. It was written during a songwriting camp where another songwriter told Jay the story of how someone in passing casually suggested wanting to try shibari. Jay found the comment so uninhibited that she wrote the song within 10 minutes.

“What shibari is about for a lot of people is giving over control,” she said. “I’m a person who very much likes to be in control, that’s my entire personality; I’m incredibly uptight and I like things a certain way, and in this release of all these things that I’ve been exploring, this new persona that I am letting myself finally fucking be, I discovered that every time I challenge what my natural disposition is I end up in a comfortable and wonderful place that I very much enjoy. Giving over the idea of control would be a huge thing for me because it’s not at all natural to me, so shibari is the mental shibari; it’s something I would very much like to try. It’d be really cool to have your fate in somebody else’s hands for a moment and be ok with that. You are tied up mentally, emotionally; you can’t do anything about it.”

The frog that is the music industry has not noticed that Featurette has brought the water to a boil. “Cocaine” and “Shibari” are just the beginning of Jay’s freedom era - where she refuses to be anything more than herself, and all the potentially dark concepts that make their way into her music.

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