Puddlegum talked with Lexi Vega of Mini Trees about her new bedroom pop single, Want Me To Stay, and forthcoming EP, Slip Away. Her new single is brilliant and is one of the best songs I’ve heard recently. While Lexi’s other songs are equally enjoyable and more upbeat, it is often in the downtempo songs that you hear an artist’s depth.
Lexi recorded with her producer, Jon Joseph, in his Los Angelas studio. Between the two of them, they are able to knock out a song, playing all of the instruments. “I’ll bring in songs I’ve been writing on my own and the two of us will develop the arrangement and parts more fully in the studio,” she shared. “We usually knock out a song in two days.”
As for the songwriting process, she is admittedly intentional and personal. “I often draw from past memories or experiences, but sometimes it can be current things I’m thinking about and going through. I usually start with melodies, either vocally or on guitar or both, and start to build off of that. And lyrics usually come last!”
The song opens with Lexi’s clean electric guitar, plugged into a warm tube amp, compressed nicely. A fat snare with a short slap, comes in with bass and kick. The bass lines are initially finger-style rudimentary notes, decaying quickly, with nice fills transitioning into the verses.
Lexi’s vocals are perfect. There’s both a slap delay and a subtle delay that is slightly left of center on her main vocal, which fits her style beautifully. It’s very slight at first, but during the second verse, the delay has longer repeats on the 64th beats, helping the song build. Several times this delay repeats infinitely and briefly fills empty space before fading out. At 1:48, she doubles the main vocal during the chorus, continuing to build the song in delicate ways, a song about unrequited love.
What completes her vocal style are the harmonies. I assumed she ran her harmonies through a harmonizer or vocoder, but I was surprised when I asked her which one she uses. “No harmonizer or vocoder actually, we individually record all those harmonies,” she said. Keep that in mind when you listen to the song. The harmony layers are like ear candy.
Tell me you want me to stayMini Trees – Want Me To Stay (Bandcamp)
And I’ll let my heart turn over each day it seems it’s
Constantly changing shape
Til we’re dragging it through dirt, and calling it over
At 0:58, a really nice electric guitar lick creates a mood leading into the vulnerable second verse. During the second chorus, a subtle synth comes in, resting behind the music. Then layers of the clarinet comes in, chamber pop style reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens and Andy Shauf’s The Party. The clarinets, performed by Max Kaplan, carry the song through to the end, and the woodwinds sound nothing short of amazing.
“Bringing in Max for woodwinds was the first time we’ve ever had someone else play on my releases. [He] played on every song on the EP; flute, clarinet, sax,” she shared.
At 2:49, the finger-style bass gives way to a synth playing the bass lines and an organ that fill the lower spectrum. Everything about the song is tastefully done; the song was recorded and mixed so well.
Lexi is self-releasing Slip Away EP on May 29. We look forward to hearing more from Mini Trees!
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