After releasing their highly praised debut EP, which garnered hundreds of thousands of streams upon its release, classically trained British-Albanian producer Admir Hyka and vocalist Andrea Skalec aka Mystic Waxx have now returned with their latest EP 'Kayla'.
With a wide and diverse range of inspirations that have come from the likes of Pink Floyd, Portishead, The Knife and Bonobo, this new collection looks to marry the dark and pulsing sounds of trip-hop with a more lucid and free-flowing aesthetic. Filled with dark and heartfelt electronics alongside Andrea's stunning vocal performance, their latest offering is a rich and atmospheric delight, flooded with raw emotion.
So with their new EP finally with us we sat down with the pair to find out more about their origins and what has inspired them over the years.
What was the first instrument you fell in love with?
AH: Guitar - Growing up in the 90’s was almost impossible to escape the influence of bands like Nirvana, Guns N Roses, RATM. Whether you were a geek inspired by Curt Cobain, a poser inspired by Slash or Anarchist inspired by Tom Morello- every kid wanted to be a guitar player. Everyone in my school wanted to pick up a guitar and play it.
AS: With regret, I must say that I have never properly learned to play any instrument. I had basic piano lessons at school but I’ve never felt a connection with black& white keys. As a singer and a dancer my body is my instrument.
What has been the most prominent inspiration behind your music so far?
AH: Most songs written are triggered by personal and social events as well as the need to satisfy my own music taste. Also big influences from certain artists have played a major influence on my songwriting and production.
AS: Inspiration comes from certain moments in life, probably “the sad” moments as I create most, when I’m not actually happy.
What kind of music did you love as a teenager?
AH: I studied classic music from the age of 10 yo, so i had a lot of that around me until one day (i think i must have been 12-13 years old) one of my friends introduced deep purple to me, everything changed after that, the next band I absolutely fell in love with was pink floyd, it came to a point as to where, if it didn't have a guitar on it- it wasn't cool to listen to anymore. Then in 1992 RATM came out and it was like my head had been hit by an avalanche. We were so used to straight on rock n roll and here comes this band with a funky bass guitar, heavy guitar riffs but instead of screaming vocals they rap, It was a game changer for me. I had a similar reaction to nirvana, when I first heard 'Nevermind' it was love at the first sting.
AS: A mix of everything...from mainstream like Ricky Martin and all songs that were popular during 2000s to Motown, disco from 70s ( loved Bee Gees) songs from Musicals such as Greece, Chicago or Phantom of the Opera. When I was a teen and got emotional or angry I could also listen to polish punk/rock bands like Happysad or Pidzama Porno. All depended on my mood really.
Can you remember the first song that made you want to pursue a life in music?
AH: 'Roads' by Portishead.
AS: Song from polish version of “Romeo & Juliet” musical - at the time I thought musical theatre would be my place.
When you wake up in the morning, what kind of music do you like to listen to?
AH: I normally start the day with a bit of blues or 1920s jazz, however, It depends on the mood, if I'm attending a business meeting i’ll listen to a bit of power rock, if I'm preparing for a holiday then a mixture of deep house and old school hip hop.
AS: Also - it depends on the mood but I would rather play something uplifting in the morning to boost my energy. Some 70s disco, maybe latino music. Michael Jason is always good for power mornings.
How many of your songs have you written about people in your life?
AH: Most of them, if not about the people in my life then it is about the effect other people’s life had on me.
AS: I think all of them are somehow connected to somebody who ever crossed my life path. It’s all from my observation and interaction with people.
What has been the most memorable moment in your career so far?
AH: Few years back I was invited to appear as a special guest in the x-factor Albania from the work with my previous band, unfortunately the vocalist back then couldn’t make it due to unsuitable working schedule and we never appeared on the show, however we did several tv appearances afterwards as well as a couple of live shows in 2 different radios, that was fun! Also, a special guest interview at total rock radio a few years back was something of a highlight, the interviewer was hungover as a giraffe's neck, but the interview was a total blast.
AS: I like going back with memories to my performances at Royal Wedding Street Party in Hammersmith as well as Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park in 2018. Both times I met great people and absolutely loved being on stage. Some gigs are just unforgettable. Also for me, releasing our latest concept EP “Kayla” with Mystic Waxx, was a breaking and very personal moment in my music life.
Outside of music, what is your biggest passion?
AH: Organic home farming. I have a little garden at home and if i'm not at the studio you ll find me in the garden crafting veggies throughout the season.
AS: Dance- it was my first love to be true, before singing. I studied choreography at the Academy of Music in Lodz (Poland).
If you weren’t a musician, what other path do you think you might have taken?
AH: I would have become a physicist, I absolutely love quantum physics.
AS: Graphic designer - love the creative site of it.
And what advice would you give to other musicians looking to stay productive through the coronavirus lockdown?
AH: Be on it, all the time, being active means being productive, recording, playing, singing, do whatever feels right for you but do it, don’t just start something and then put it under the bed and pick it up 6 months later.Have fun and stay true to your sound, never compromise.
AS: I love how musicians cope with lockdown and perform online through social media channels. I think it's a great way to stay productive - motivates to rehearse and keeps you close with the audience. If you want to stay productive during lockdown, just think about it - It won’t last forever (hopefully) and it’s the only time when you can focus on music and have time to do it!
Mystic Waxx's new EP 'Kayla' is available to stream and download now. Have a listen to it in full through the player below.