“I feel like I’ve really found my voice through this project and I’m continuing to push it and explore the different sides of what I’m capable of,” says LPX’s Lizzy Plapinger. “I’ve definitely tapped into a different side of my voice and range.”
The latter, when listening to LPX’s new single “Slide,” premiering exclusively via Billboard, is a bit of an understatement, as heard in the track’s epic high note belt. “‘Slide’ was a rare instance where I was actually stone cold sober,” she says when asked if the powerful performance required a bit of liquid courage. “There was nothing pre-meditated about it, it was just purely guttural and instinctual. I love moments like that when I’m recording because it means I’ve truly tapped into something real.”
Written this past summer, “Slide” came out of Plapinger’s very first writing session with producer Jenn Decilveo and was also the first time she’d ever worked with a female producer, something that, as she says, should’t be as rare as it is.
“Just being two women in the studio created a really different environment which was massively liberating and inspiring,” Plapinger says of the session. “We instantly clicked and embraced one another as collaborators. We wrote the whole song on piano first which definitely intensified the heart and emotion of the song. By the time we dove into production it was a really sort of an epic ballad but we were having so much fun in the room I think we wanted to pour all that energy into the song itself. ‘Slide’ blossomed into this super high energy euphorically tortured love song. I love a banger with a lot heart.”
The musician has conquered the music industry on both sides of the aisle, first by co-founding a boutique imprint Neon Gold Records (Charli XCX, Marina and the Diamonds, Christine and the Queens) and then as the frontwoman of electro-pop buzz band MS MR, who signed with Columbia Records and has released two full-length LPs to date — 2013’s Secondhand Rapture and 2015’s How Does It Feel.
But with LPX, she’s striking out on her own terms, releasing a steady stream of rock-tinged pop gems this year, including “Tightrope” and “Tremble,” as well as a collaboration with Australia’s What So Not on “Better.” The artist has also stretched the burgeoning project on the road, recently wrapping two strings of tour dates supporting pals Haim and RAC after making her live debut this summer sharing the stage with Glass Animals.
Below, Plapinger opens up about her “on the road” essentials, her “pantone punk chic” style, current onstage go-to outfit — a striking red vintage Le Gambi jumpsuit — and living the LPX aesthetic full-time.
You recently wrapped dates w/ RAC and Haim. What are your current tour essentials these days?
For someone who loves clothes as much as I do packing for tour is a real challenge. I have to narrow down to my most quintessential necessities and looks and it’s honestly not something that comes easy. I can’t wait for the day where I have a separate trunk just dedicated to stage clothes… In the meantime, these are things I can’t seem to live without on the road.
Sunglasses: When you spend your time living in a van and you have to go straight to press or meet fans its the fastest way for me to up an outfit. I have sort of a crazy collection and I keep buying them on the road — gas stations in the Midwest are an untapped treasure trove — but my current favorites are red lens gold wire frames that are so baller. No matter how tired or gross I might feel they make me feel on point.
Tequila: The pre show ritual with the band is usually a team shot of tequila and then running around the dressing room singing covers to one another at the top of our lungs just to egg on and amp each other up. Getting creative with on the road, backstage cocktails is an art that we’ve only sometimes mastered but tequila is always the base.
Jumpsuits: The convenience of an all in one go look can’t be underestimated when packing space and time to get ready are both limited. Lucky for me I’ve got enough to cover me on stage and off. I’ll admit it makes gas station bathroom stops a slightly more involved experience but, worth it.
Speaker: Listening to music on the road or before/after a gig is so important to keep me excited and inspired. These past two tours were massively soundtracked by the new War on Drugs, The Horrors, Alex Cameron and Spoon records.
You’ve known Haim and were supportive of them during their early years via Neon Gold – how did that tour come together?
Since the first moment I met the Haim girls we’ve gotten along like a house on fire. It’s been so awesome to see the world fall in love with them as they deserve and I’m so grateful for our maintained friendship throughout it all. From Neon Gold to MS MR to LPX we’ve always been involved and supportive of one another. They were actually some of the first people I told about LPX and how important it was to me to assert myself in this alternative rock space, especially as a woman. As a band that’s been a huge part of that movement it made a lot of sense that we would tour together and I’m so appreciative of them and their fans for welcoming and embracing LPX as much as they have.
You also played a run of shows with RAC, including a triumphant gig at New York’s Brooklyn Steel — how was it to play the new songs for such a massive hometown crowd?
It was probably my favorite show of the whole tour… New York is such a huge piece of who I am and source of inspiration playing Brooklyn Steel really felt full circle. Also the venue is amazing! The sound was so good, the stage is great, everyone who works there was on top of everything — it was a flawless experience and all those things add up and effect the show itself so I was already coming into the show hyped. But then, the crowd! I loved having so many MS MR fans and friends in the audience but I live to perform to the people in the room who have never heard my music and win them over by the end of the show… New York can be a tough fucking crowd but I had everyone in there dancing by the end, whether you knew the music or not. It was an incredible moment. I literally came off stage and ran up and down backstage screaming with joy until I passed out on the floor with a dumb smile on my face.
Describe your style in 3 words.
Pantone punk chic.
How does your style reflect your music and how has it evolved in aesthetic/taste from MS MR to your current LPX project?
My style has always been consistently colorful and loud but I definitely feel like my taste has evolved with LPX into something more tough and feminine — like the music itself.
Favorite piece/pieces to wear on stage while performing currently and why?
I’ve been wearing almost exclusively red on stage but primarily a vintage red spandex le gambi jumpsuit from the ’70s. I found it vintage diving a week before leaving on the Haim tour and it fits perfectly. I love how strong and sexy it is and, most importantly, how flexible it is so I can be the wildest version of myself on stage. It fully makes me feel like a superhero when I wear it. I’ve also kitted the whole band out in vintage racing suits and jumpsuits and I’ve even started to collect patches while on the road to eventually customize each one down the line so they become an ever evolving tour “charm bracelet.” Between me and the band we’ve got the LPX color spectrum covered.
What’s your off-duty look like and how is that different from your on-stage look?
They’re really almost one and the same. I’m such a high energy performer that the only limitation or difference between the two is that I have to be able to jump and dance around in it on stage. But style wise I’m just as loud a dresser off stage as I am on. Bright colors, loud combinations and a mix of vintage and designer. I’m currently really living the LPX aesthetic mostly dressing in red, mustard yellow, black and white checkers.
Favorite and least favorite fashion trend currently and why?
I love the brightly colored sock spandex boots, especially the boots that are also pants like the Balenciaga ones. I’m for more color and flexibility of movement, always. Also pants and boots? That’s just efficient dressing.
I don’t love the general movement towards ruffles… It’s just not my personal taste. I prefer either form fitting or angular as opposed to a soft shape.
Who are some of your favorite designers to wear?
I love Dilara Findikoglu and Marques Almeida. I’ve worn a lot of Namilia and Alon Livne in my music videos. Marc Jacobs on stage. I’m generally really inspired by the new Givenchy, Baleciaga and Miu Miu resort 2018 collection. I would love to dress in Gareth Pugh for some videos in the future and I pretty much dress in latex from the Baroness in the East Village whenever I can.
Prepping the release of forthcoming debut LPX EP — anything you can share about the full set? How does it feel to be putting out your first body of work under the new project?
I’m so proud of this EP and so excited to release it as my first body of work as LPX. I think it perfectly crystallizes the sound, heart and intention of the project. It’s such a sincere extension of myself and my influences while also being some of my strongest writing and vocal performances to date. As LPX, and with this EP specifically, I want to live at the crux of where modern alternative rock and pop collide. I want to prove there’s still a space for music with guitars. I want to assert my voice and sound in a genre mostly dominated by men. And most importantly I just want to constantly be pushing and evolving myself.