Elizabeth Leslie shares brand moody goth-pop in new single “Empire Falls”

Before delving into her specific moody flavour of Goth Pop, Elizabeth Leslie was programming drums and schlepping vintage synths across Montréal as Chromeo’s assistant. While deep in the grungy after-hours scene there, she led a synth-pop group with French Electro duo, françoise. In 2012, Leslie parted ways with the band restless to embark on her solo project. Shortly after, she arrived on the Toronto scene where she was introduced to legendary producer, Matt DeMatteo, and began working with him on her debut EP, Brave Animal. Leslie is currently recording her second EP in the coastal wilderness of Nova Scotia.

Elizabeth’s latest single, “Empire Falls,” is an offshoot of this introspective period. With its dark, industrial soundscape and aggressive dance floor rhythms, it is an anarchist anthem that openly confronts the chaos of our current political state of affairs.

Listen to the latest single and check out our exclusive interview now!

Can you talk to us about the inspiration behind your single, “Empire Falls”?
The inspiration comes from witnessing humanity ‘lose the plot.’ As many of us have seen, the systemic oppression of the masses via capitalism, white supremacy, classism, toxic masculinity, etc., has accelerated the fragmentation of society. The destabilizing effects of COVID has really laid all of this bare. People have had the time to analyze and see what a shit world we’ve been living in. The song and music video seek to crystallize all of this in a goth dance track.
How do you think your community has contributed to your success?
It’s been challenging to connect with my musical community during COVID, but I’d say by giving me direct and honest feedback. Many of my musical friends and collaborators are also producers. We all give our ‘two cents’ on each other’s material, which really helps when you’re alone in a room for days trying to produce engaging music. Other than that, my fan community largely consists of Slytherin House Harry Potter fans. One of the songs from my last EP, “You Don’t Know Me,” somehow made it onto hundreds of Slytherin-themed Spotify playlists. I’m really happy that it resonates with the outsiders. Their support means the most.
What was the first thing that got you interested in music?
As a child, I used to watch a lot of Fred Penner and naturally gravitated towards the guitar, then branched out to the bass, synth, drums, violin, and hilariously, the bagpipes. I can’t stop listening to and composing music, so it’s more than an interest, it’s an obsession.
Describe to our audience your music-making process.
I usually start with a ‘four on the floor’ beat, then add a synth bass line, then vocals. Higher melodies usually come last. I used to incorporate more bass and guitar into my compositions, but have now migrated towards hardware and soft synths. All my drums are midi, though I plan to have a live drummer for shows when venues eventually open up. Sometimes I collaborate with other composers and producers, who write specific parts to help make the songs sound more cohesive and accessible.
What advice would you give other musicians?
Do what you want now. If you’re in a lacklustre garage band that practices every other Tuesday, but you want to explore more interesting musical territory, do it now. If you’ve always dreamed of going solo, do it now. Don’t wait. All the time and hearing loss you’ll waste away in those years are precious. Start developing yourself as an artist now. Also, don’t let people tear you down for having a dream. You are the curator of your own life!
How did it feel when you released this new music?
It felt validating and also relieving. We put a lot of work into this single. There was a team of talented people on it– from the artwork, music video, and photos to the song itself. There is so much that goes into releasing music nowadays than just writing the song. Writing the song was the easy part.
And finally, if you could collaborate with any musician/band, who would it be? And why?
I’d love to collaborate with the Toronto industrial /electronic group, Odonis Odonis, and Russian post-punk band, Molchat Doma. They’re both very dark and moody yet unique in their expression. No compromises are made to appeal to the mainstream.
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