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Growing up around skateborading, Léks Rivers has trained himself to see the freedom of expression in everything around him. From looking at the streets as a concrete playground to the way he perceives musical genres as malleable forms designed to be twisted around one another. His songs can juxtapose the drama of 80’s pop music against the sombre reality of blues, and his live shows inject the electric energy of a rock 'n' roll into contemporary R&B. Listening to the way live saxophones stab through his electronic productions, it’s clear that the only thing that Léks is blind to, is the idea that there is any sort of rule book. “I think people should be allowed to do whatever they want, as long as it bangs,” he states. “If it's wack, then call people out on it.”

The West London vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and producer began adventuring in sound from his School days, wandering into the unlocked music classroom during his lunch breaks where he’d learn by trial and error. His penchant for lyricism comes from creative writing in English class, and he remembers the feeling when he had a poem accepted into a school anthology, laughing that at the time he thought it was “Mad cool!”

Nowadays his music also takes an anthology approach, albeit a little darker. He cites Netflix’s Black Mirror as the approach he’s going for with his debut album, as well as it’s prequel the 'Badlands' EP. “I think we have this thing where albums should be cohesive,” he says. “But I love the idea of doing something different, and having these separate stories that merge together. As a whole they will interconnect and explain what the overall theme is.”

With Badlands he’s also bought heavily into the idea of accompanying visuals. “Sometimes I don’t want a video to be the exact same as what the song’s narrative is,” he admits. “Maybe I want to jar people’s minds a bit.” His ‘Soho Knights’ video takes influence from skating footage and sharp Instagram edits, while ‘No Rest For The Wicked’ is a cinematic piece that sees him digging a grave as he sings about his rebirth into manhood. “I wanted it to be a kind of piss take on how we constantly try to change ourselves but fail. We keep working at it and keep on, because that's just what life is. We're just always trying to rebuild ourselves.”

Although not quite a stage name - his first name is Lékan and Rivers is his middle name - Léks Rivers (pronounced ‘Lakes’) perfectly reflects a lifelong obsession with water which describes his approach to life as an artist. “I remember reading about the strength of water through persistence,” he recalls. “Water will break through a valley, it will find its way over rocks and through cracks. It will keep on flowing until it gets to where it needs to go. That just describes me perfectly.”

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Words: Grant Brydon

Brought to you in association with Cheap Monday. Check out their latest offerings over on their website now.

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