After building up a dedicated following in the Australian electronic music scene over six years, the debut album of Nyxen is edging closer to release.
The Sydney-based artist is set to drop PXNK (pronounced “punk”, in case you were wondering) next week, a collection of old cuts and impressive new tracks.
Judging by singles like ‘Single In Motion’ and the title track, the full record should be well-received. Nyxen, real name Chelsea Lester, is a dynamic producer, knowing when to turn up the energy and when to cooly rein her sound in.
Mixing solid synthwave with splashes of thrilling indie instrumentation, she makes it feel like an effortless process; her songs wouldn’t have sounded out of place in the 80s alongside bands like New Order. Nyxen possesses strong vocal chops too, commandingly letting loose when the moment calls for it.
“PXNK is an amalgamation of sounds and stories that have influenced my life,” she says. “It’s about the contrast of discontent and hopefulness, the back and forth, the night and day. PXNK is the last few years of my life condensed into 41 minutes.”
Having supported stellar names like Crooked Colours and Golden Features, and with a debut album about to be put to her name, it’s set to be a big couple of years for the producer and songwriter.
Ahead of the release of PXNK, we caught up with Nyxen as part of our Get To Know series to find out more about her life and music.
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Nyxen’s PXNK is out on Friday, August 19th via Tank Top Records/BMG.
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How did your artist name come about?
My best friend and I spent a whole night brainstorming different words/meanings. We made a shortlist of letters we liked the look of and ended up landing on Nyxen.
How would you describe your music to your grandma?
I tend to describe my music as guitar-heavy electronic pop/rock. A fusion of New Order, Pixies and modern electronic music.
Tell us about a few of your tracks; their titles and what they’re about?
A few of my favourites from the album are ‘Synthetic’, ‘Silence In Motion’, and ‘The Search’.
When writing ‘Synthetic’ I wanted to depict an acid trip where the spiralling thought that your dreams, desires and preconceptions of yourself might be artificial, backed by the subconscious comfort that none of it really matters.
‘Silence In Motion’ is a fast-paced journey into what it feels like to be an outsider. An introverted overthinker, idolising the freedom and confidence they see in the people around them, wanting that for themselves.
‘The Search’ is a real breath of fresh air on the album because I often write songs with a darker tone to them. ‘Synthetic’ and ‘Silence In Motion’ are the night and ‘The Search’ is the day. It’s got a very positive energy to it about finding yourself. It’s about feeling unsatisfied but hopeful for what the future will bring, passing through the negative and emerging better on the other side.
What do you love about your hometown?
I spent most of my childhood in Sydney. I love the nostalgia of being in the place you grew up – I can still picture the old graffiti walls when I’m back in my old suburb. I think most people would love that the most about where they’re from, just the random memories that flicker through your mind when you go back.
Career highlight so far?
The highlight is probably that I’m able to be a musician full-time. I’ve been super lucky and had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people and perform at lots of incredible venues and shows in my time as a musician. I’m just really grateful that I’ve been able to continue doing that, especially after the last few years.
Fave non-music hobby?
I love cycling. Not in a serious way at all but I love heading out for a ride by the harbour with the dog to clear my head.
What’s on your dream rider?
Free accommodation and travel for me and my crew/band haha.
Dream music collaboration?
I’d love to collaborate with Emily Haines from Metric! I love her lyrics, energy, and attitude. It would be great to learn a few things from her.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
No doubt writing music with a few extra synths and guitars in my collection.
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
The Human League – ‘Don’t You Want Me’
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
My legal studies teacher in high school once told my class that it takes 21 days of repeating something to form a habit. It’s one of the few things I remember from that class but I’ve used the 21 day rule to get motivated ever since.
What’s one obsession you have that no one would guess after listening to your music?
It’s not an obsession but I really love watching Formula One. I usually stay up late on race weekends to watch it all live.