Dynamic alt-pop trio Lycio has been creating waves with BBC Radio, including airplay from BBC presenters Will Wolstenholme, Louise Brierly, and Jack Parker, as well as performing an acoustic session for BBC Introducing West Midlands. The trio has also performed for Chris Evans’ CarFest for BBC Children in Need in 2017 and 2018. Their single ‘Evil People’ featured on BBC 6 Tom Robinson’s Fresh Favs and premiered via the fashion and lifestyle magazine Blanc Mag.
Lycio consists of lead singer Genie Mendez, Keyboardist Charlie Kellie, and drummer Alex Lowe. The subject matter of Lycio’s music revolves around Mendez expressing her thoughts on mental health. Lycio aim is to empower other females entering the female industry.
We find out the finer details about Lycio in the brief Q+A below.
Tell us about your band, how long have you guys been performing together? What did inspire you to start?
We started back in 2016, we’ll never forget the date – 23 rd June – because we had our first ever jam as the three of us, on what was controversially the day of the EU Referendum! Genie had replied to an advert from Alex and Charlie; who were looking to start an electronic three-piece – think Jack Garratt meets London Grammar via Little Dragon. One of Genie’s biggest inspirations, Alt-J, were listed as a ‘for fans of’ on the advert – this definitely got her attention! Alex and Charlie were looking for a unique voice; and Genie was actually the first person we met up with and immediately wanted her on board. We got on so well and we all had a passion for melding pop music with alternative songwriting & styles. Initially, Genie wasn’t sure about the project, but fortunately, she gave it ago and we’ve never looked back since. Music serves as a distraction from a lot of what is going on in the world for all of us – it’s a consistent escapism, whether that’s playing live or in the studio. Genie has always been a natural songwriter; teaching herself (using a guitar) since she was 13 and her natural free-association style fitted in so well. We’ve racked up about 100 gigs since we started!
Music industry is super competitive these days, was there a moment in your life that you wanted to give up on music / band? How did you manage to stay focused and achieve what you want?
There’s never been a moment where we wanted to give up. But we were writing a song called Liquid Gold about two years ago. We all loved the track but couldn’t agree on its direction; at the time it actually brought up a lot of creative conflicts (and explosive conversation) and we struggled to finish it – we’d never experienced this and it was a tough one. This was our rough patch! We put the song down for about two years and just recently we came back and finished it. All three of us got together in a live setting and took a completely different approach; playing the song very organically and live – and pretty much finished it in one setting! We’ve very much learned over the years to always work on music together in this live way now; so that we are all equally contributing to its creation, as it’s happening. It’s a more organic process than working on things ‘in the box’ so to speak.
How would you describe your creative processes? Who writes the lyrics to the songs? Are the music and lyrics written in conjunction, or separately? Where does inspiration come from?
I (Genie) write all the lyrics. Sometimes I try to bring past lyrics back to life. I spend ages looking through old lyric notes that go all the way back to when I was 14. But often things just come to me and I need to physically jot them down so that I don’t forget them. In the early days, Charlie and Alex had some existing instrumental stuff, and we spent the first few weeks with Genie, putting her words and melodies to this existing material. As time went on Genie would bring us existing songs and we’d write music to the lyrics. Then we started writing completely from scratch, really collaborative. So in that way, the process has changed actually; the music and lyrics used to be written more separately whereas now it all kind of evolves simultaneously.
What other bands/artists are you listening to right now?
Genie has King Princess on heavy rotation but also likes more organic stuff such as Hozier. Charlie is listening to a lot of Tim Hecker and Childish Gambino. Alex is into Jack Garratt and thinks that the new Dua Lipa record is on fire!
What gig did you enjoy the most so far? Why?
It has to be our headline slot at The Postal Museum for Sofar Sounds London. This was special for a few reasons. Firstly, we were asked to headline by LOCK Magazine. They were curating the evening, and to be asked to headline alongside two other incredible acts (shout out Jenn and Caitlin Moss) was such an honour. LOCK Mag are an incredible magazine specifically championing females in music; a subject that we are passionate about which makes it even more special. The space was underground and the atmosphere was electric; the audience were so attentive, kind and silent, and they’d never even heard of us. Definitely one of the most special nights in our memory.