Artist to Artist: Lauren Flax and Elizabeth Wight (Pale Blue)

The Pale Blue vocalist and Bunker NY family member talk ghosts, daily rituals and being an artist in lockdown.

Artist to Artist: Lauren Flax and Elizabeth Wight (Pale Blue)

The Pale Blue vocalist and Bunker NY family member talk ghosts, daily rituals and being an artist in lockdown.

Pale Blue - the collaborative guise of Mike Simonetti and Elizabeth Wight - and Brooklyn-based DJ and producer Lauren Flax recently teamed up on Pale Blue's latest offering Breathe, with Flax providing a remix of the title track after being asked by Simonetti, her "favorite DJ dad".

The EP, which is set for release on Simonetti's own 2MR imprint that he runs with Adam Gerrard of Captured Tracks, matches Elizabeth's powerful, bewitching vocals with elements of acid house, dreamy techno and spacial atmospheres; a fresh, melodic take on electronic music. 

2MR has been a home for the majority of Pale Blue's previous releases over the last five years, added to their other outings on Me Me Me and Crosstown Rebels, and will also be hosting Lauren Flax's upcoming EP, which treads a similar musical path as the remix she did for the duo.

Lauren's reputation as both a DJ and producer precedes her, from her close ties with NYC mainstay The Bunker to collaborations with the likes of Sia and Kim Ann Foxman, and releases for Unknown To The Unknown and Nervous Records.

Following the release of Pale Blue's Breathe, Elizabeth and Lauren have come together to discuss all manner of things, from ghosts and daily rituals to production processes and being an artist in lockdown...

Lauren Flax: What were your favorite band(s) in high school? 

Elizabeth Wight (Pale Blue)​: I graduated high school in the year 2000. My friend’s older siblings turned me on to Riot Grrrl bands on the KRS label as well as Portishead, The Jam and The Make-up. I also listened to Billie Holiday a lot. I got introduced to X by my friend’s “evil” step mom whom I thought was the coolest. Oh man I also loved Sonic Youth so much since middle school.

Lauren Flax: What knowledge & wisdom would the Young Elizabeth share with the adult Elizabeth, and vice-versa?

Elizabeth Wight (Pale Blue): Young me would probably tell me to go vintage shopping more and put a little more effort into my wardrobe. She would also probably tell me that my eyebrows are way too thick right now and that I should pluck them out and just draw on a thin line with my brown lip liner pencil.

The wisdom I would impart on a younger me would be that people will always have these wild ideals that come in the form of advice. Advice or suggestions can be very helpful and people usually come from a good place. However, Before taking someones advice ask yourself if you share a similar worldview, ideology or if the ultimate goal looks the same in theory or on paper. If you don't and you don't take the so-called "advice" don't let them make you feel guilty because in the end you always knew what was right for you.

Lauren Flax: Do you have daily rituals?

Elizabeth Wight (Pale Blue): Currently, my schedule is completely off as is everyone else’s. Before my only ritual was eat breakfast and drink tea in the morning around 6 am before I’d start my crazy day. I’m trying to work out some sort of daily routine like exercise, read, write/record and meditate, but instead do my work, binge watch TV, fall asleep at 4 AM and wake up at 2PM. Sometimes I miss the former structure but damn it’s nice to get 8 hours or more of sleep again.

Lauren Flax: Do you believe in ghosts? If so, have you experienced any?

Elizabeth Wight (Pale Blue): Yes and no. As a child I was an avid believer and went to the library almost every day to read about anything that had to do with the supernatural. I swore I saw ghosts. When I was around 12 I was living at my uncles house that was built in the 20s. There were always these stories about hauntings that were happening there because the ghosts didn’t like the remodeling being done. There was a door in the master bedroom that was sealed off to create a wall and my uncle complained that a ghost kept taking the painting down where the door was. There was one story I really believed that I would tell people often. I was probably 11 years old and one night I was asleep in the master bedroom where most of the hauntings happened and my friend was on the couch across from me. I woke up that night and saw a tall figure of a man standing in the corner of the room. I freaked out and couldn’t find the switch to turn on the light but my friend woke up to me hitting the wall trying to find the switch. Then she looked around and went back to sleep. I eventually passed out from fear and in the morning I asked my friend if she remembered anything from the night before. She said “yeah what were you doing standing in the corner of the room.” Looking back it was probably just the TV set on the stand that we thought was a ghost for sure.

Lauren Flax: Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Elizabeth Wight (Pale Blue): Performing is a really difficult experience for me. I am a really shy person. I get so nervous. I used to cope by drinking a lot really fast before I played. That helped with the nerves but compromised the performance. Now that I don’t drink I try to be alone as much as possible before I play so I can calm myself down. I don’t know if that counts as a ritual.

Lauren Flax: If you could solve one of earths problems right now, what would it be?

Elizabeth Wight (Pale Blue)​: There are so many problems that are equal in importance. I’ll go with three that complement each other! I would come up with a cure for this virus, delete Trump (erasing his ideology from human consciousness), and give everyone on this planet free healthcare because it is a human right not a privilege.

Lauren Flax: (If music is your only income) - Does it scare you to not have a traditional 401k or a sense of security for your later years in life?

Elizabeth Wight (Pale Blue)​: I was raised by musicians and I hated the financial instability. I was a ward of the court at 15 and don’t have parents I can run home to in case I fuck up. I would be lying if I said that didn’t play a part in my decision to finish school. I am approaching my final year of getting my Master’s Degree and to be honest I’ve been in school pretty much my entire time while in Pale Blue. I hope that provides some sort of financial security but who knows. Of equal importance to me is being a multifaceted person with a variety of avenues to pursue.

Lauren Flax: Are there any non-music artists inspiring you right now?

Elizabeth Wight (Pale Blue)​: I have been in this music, school, work, eat, barely sleep, repeat pattern that hasn’t allowed for much free time to explore the things I love. When I get stuck on a song or anything else I like to flip through this tiny book of photography by Andre Kertesz on my desk. That helps me escape a little.

Lauren Flax: For the ‘I Walk Alone At Night’, the track from the new EP, you wrote the lyrics after your experiences working for a rape trauma centre. How did that experience effect you and how do approach channelling that into your music?

Elizabeth Wight (Pale Blue)​: I had only my personal experience to draw from which is why I was interested in volunteering there. It made me so acutely aware of the various degrees of pain and suffering victims and survivors of sexual assault, trafficking, domestic violence and stalking go through that I got so angry. Anger is an emotion that I have a hard time allowing myself to feel. When I wrote these songs, I remember it was really easy for me. It was like an uninterrupted steady stream from my subconscious. I just let whatever I was thinking just pour into these songs and I’m grateful that I could find the words to say what I had to say. I had this idea in my head that if I volunteered as an advocate that it would help me heal from my own trauma while helping others. I don’t know if I really made a difference at all while I was there or if I healed at all or if I am having any positive impact by writing these songs, but I can say that I tried.

Elizabeth Wight (Pale Blue): This is really a strange time and since we have this giant elephant in the room (?) we should probably just go straight into it. How are you coping with all of this? What does life look like from where you are?

Lauren Flax: I’ll be honest, its very difficult. I feel like we are in the worlds waiting room, hoping our loved ones make it through this. Like most people, i’m scared for my family and friends. Being here at a time when we were losing 800 New Yorkers a day was maddening. Parts of the country might not even believe this pandemic is real while other parts are under attack. We are in an era defining moment though. I’m seeing people step up in ways our government has been incapable of. The sense of community, checking in with one another, helping neighbors with groceries, its kept my head up.

Elizabeth Wight (Pale Blue): There are moments I find myself saying this is the perfect time to be working on new music but I haven’t yet. Have you? I haven’t just yet either. I feel like I have to honor the process, you know?

Lauren Flax: Life is very far from normal so doing normal things, like writing music, has felt impossible. I won’t force it, it will come. I haven’t DJ’d in a while but got the chance to really go deep for a Bunker Tea Dance last Sunday. I worked through a lot of grief, anger and sadness playing for nine hours. I wasn’t expecting to go that long, but it happened and it was cathartic. I woke up the next day and just felt like this rock around my heart was completely dissolved. I don’t know if my chest and heart felt the way it did because of having recovered from the virus or because of the fear of losing someone, but the next day I felt like myself again. Like magic. I’m hoping this will help jumpstart my creativity, too.

Elizabeth Wight (Pale Blue): What is your space that you write and/or record music like?

Lauren Flax: I graduated from a bedroom producer to a living room producer, so I’m not mad haha. My studio has grown quite a bit and I write mostly out of the box, so I did start building out a studio in my basement. Thats all come to a halt, as you can imagine. It was going to be a long process anyways, to build it out since it will be DIY, but any money I have now goes toward surviving this thing and helping out people that need it.

Elizabeth Wight (Pale Blue): Do you have anything that you keep around you like little good luck objects, talismans, or pictures that are set up in your space? If so why and what do they mean to you?

Lauren Flax: I have my little meditation area in my studio. I keep things like my grandfathers whisky decanter and my grandmother’s happy buddha in the alter there, along with crystals, so much selenite, blessed water from Doña Mariá Apaza, the last high priestess of the Inca Descendants Q’ero Nation, among some other gifts from friends. It helps keep the vibration high and clear while I’m writing.

Elizabeth Wight (Pale Blue): I noticed you celebrated three years sober this past February. There is this idea that some have that if they go sober they’ll lose their creative edge. Can you expand on how this accomplishment impacted your relationship to the various dimensions of making music?

Lauren Flax: This did the opposite for me. I was able to focus and really hone in on my creative spirit. After a certain amount of time away from alcohol I began to see more clearly in every sense. That includes creatively. With all the music I wrote, it ended up being a big turning point in my career so im very grateful.

Elizabeth Wight (Pale Blue): The remix you made on the Breathe E.P. is so rad and I’m honored that you took the time to make it. How did that all come to be?

Lauren Flax: Thank you so much, Elizabeth! I am so happy you like it, it was intimidating to remix! Its always harder for me to remix a song I love. My favorite DJ dad, your bandmate Mike Simonetti had asked me to do it. I think the first sketch I did just wasn’t right. I sent it over to mike and he gave me some input and I decided to scrap it and start over. I’m so happy I did because this remix ended up being a new style for me that I wanted to explore. I ended up writing an entire EP in the same vane as the remix. It’s called Out of Reality that Mike and 2MR will release. It was all so organic and wonderful. I wouldn’t have written this record had it not been for this remix!

Elizabeth Wight (Pale Blue): The songs all have to do with various forms of domestic abuse and what violence does to survivors and/or victims. Is this dancefloor appropriate? What are your thoughts on the subject matter of the record?

The Dancefloor is built for dealing with trauma. We work out more on the Dancefloor than I think any of us realize! Just the simple fact that music and dancing brings visceral joy, I think there is a fair amount of subconscious energetic clearing too. I also think putting that kind of energy into a song resonates easily with others that may have had similar experiences, even if it isn’t consciously realized. I also personally prefer darker subject matter, such as yours on the Dancefloor.

Elizabeth Wight (Pale Blue): Are you releasing anything soon?

Well I certainly was! But everything is on hold at the moment. Will record stores re-open? Will pressing plants still function? In my heart, I believe they will. But any releases are on hold until we get some answers. I do have a Truncate remix that is going to press still that should (fingers crossed) be out in June. Hoping to release the Out of Reality EP at some point this year. 

Elizabeth Wight (Pale Blue): This has been a time of deep reflection and an in-depth assessment of what things mean to me in every aspect of my life. That being said, how do you like your pizza? 

MICHIGAN STYLE. <3


Follow Pale Blue and Lauren Flax. Buy Breathe

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