Five Questions With Elizabeth Leslie

Canadian indie darkwave dance-pop artist, Elizabeth Leslie has released a new single, “To The Next” along with a video for the release. The single is from the searingly insightful EP, Brave Animal.

“I wrote this song a few days after returning from a month-long trip to Europe,” Leslie explains for “To The Next” and its origins. “I went to the UK, where my family is from, and Germany.

I had always expected the trip to be as enchantingly foggy, rainy, and temperate as everyone always describes it, but it was spoiled by constant sun, above average (hot) temperatures, bleached yellow grass, and blatant tourism — everywhere. On returning, I realized what is truly at stake: not only is our ecosystem, precious wildlife, and ability to live as a race on this Earth being compromised, but so are our dreams. And dreams are what save us from intellectual death… Figuratively, they’re what keep us alive.

We are destroying everything that is beautiful in humanity and nature. We are destroying our history, our present, and our future all for empty, capitalistic gains… The illusion of ‘having it all’ while destroying it all. We are a highly delusional, self-destructing, patriarchal society on the brink of collapse. Living in our current age is anxiety provoking and depressing, which is why so many of us are experiencing mental health crises. We know something is wrong.”

Check out the video for “To The Next” below and find out more about Elizabeth via our Five Questions With segment.

Care to introduce yourself to our readers?

Hi, my name is Elizabeth Leslie. I am a Queer, non-binary singer-songwriter based in Toronto. I was born and raised in Nova Scotia, got an English Literature degree at Dalhousie University in Halifax, and then spent 8 ‘formative’ years in the Montreal music scene in various Indie bands. I went solo last year and released my first EP, Brave Animal, on Valentine’s day. My first single, “To the Next,” is about climate change and existential ennui in our contemporary capitalist culture. The latter tends to play a theme in my other songs as well.   

Tell us a bit about your music and writing style.

My music is a bit dark. Even when it is upbeat, there’s a sobering undertone to it all. As a music fan and as a musician/composer, I don’t necessarily want to hear happy music about ignoring everything and having a good time when our own world is literally crumbling around us. Inaction, in our age, is incredibly harmful, so the intention behind my songs is to be overtly political about it.

Lyrically, and conversationally, I’m a very direct person. I like to call people out on things and seek out the truth at its core. It can be a blessing and a curse– I assure you! I try to be a little more subtle and nuanced with lyrics. There is so much garbage music in the mainstream. I am trying to bring a depth and meaning back to it. Musically, I am a vintage synth junkie, something I inherited from assisting Chromeo back in 2009. (P-Thugg is a massive collector.) As a result, there is a lot of Juno 106 and other vintage synth sounds on the record. I like to incorporate layers of these warm analog sounds with dissonant guitars and grungy distorted bass lines. I’m very heavily influenced by post-punk and the Paris Ed Banger crew.

Do you have any upcoming shows? For someone who has yet to see you live, how would you explain your live performance?

Not at the moment, though it’s in the works. We’re currently auditioning drummers in Toronto for our live show. For live performance, you can expect psychedelic visuals, lots of haze and emotional intensity.

If you were asked to suggest only one of your songs for someone to hear, which would it be?

“You Don’t Know Me.” The song encapsulates a recurring theme in my life, and I’m sure the lives of many others. The feeling of never being truly known, yet judged based on appearances. It’s a toxic approach to the fostering of community and yet we are all guilty of it. We make so many assumptions about people based on the way they look or how they identify. We don’t give them a chance to show us who they really are. It divides us. It’s a feeling I feel on almost a daily basis as a Queer, non-binary person.

Canadian Beats is all about Canadian music, so who are your current favourite Canadian bands/ artists?

Odonis Odonis, High Priest, Zinnia, Zaki Ibrahim, Françoise

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