LPX is the powerful and force driven solo project of Lizzy Plapinger, lead singer of the electric pop duo group MS MR — who continues to roll out tracks for her fiery new career with the latest single, “Tremble.”
The song that dropped today, (Apr. 14) is the second track from the frontwoman — the first being, “Tightrope” an impressive, emotion-filled introduction to LPX. “Tremble” stands as a followup and “sister song” to the latter with a raw intensity and powerful energy bubbling up from within. “I really f–kin’ gave that vocal everything my body had,” she passionately recalls.
The announcement MS MR’s hiatus earlier this year created time for Lizzy to explore and find herself through new music experiences. “I wanted to grow by putting myself in uncomfortable situations and writing with other people for the first time,” says LPX on her thoughts about her solo career.
Plapinger already has her hands deep in the music business with her Neon Gold Records company in addition to starting up a new music show on Vevo called New Shapes. None of that stood in the way of creating a solo career in rock — a hard genre to push into. “Rock music comes from a male dominated genre and I really want LPX to be able to exist in the same world.”
Billboard discussed the origins of LPX with Plapinger, as well as breaking the mold of female rock artists and creating the groundbreaking and emotional new single “Tremble.”
Let’s start from the beginning — how did this whole solo project transpire?
We had reached the end of the MS MR campaign, and Max Hershenow (the other half of MS MR) and I were starting to think about the third record. I came to this moment of honesty with myself where I didn’t really know what to do next with MS MR. I hadn’t made music before Max and I started the band so he was the only person I’ve ever written with and made music with. I think I’ve learned now through running the label and being in the industry for as long as I have — that I wanted to grow by putting myself in uncomfortable situations and writing with other people for the first time. You sort of feed off of each other and you evolve that way. It came to a place where I think I have to break off and experiment and see what I’m capable of on my own and working with new, other people in order to know what a future looks like with MS MR and what are next steps as a band.
Have you shown Max these songs and what you’ve been working on?
Max and I share what we’re working on all the time. That’s what’s wonderful to have that support, camaraderie and friendship. He heard, “Tightrope” and “Tremble” really early on when they were just demos and he was really excited for me. I think he sees me growing and evolving, which was the purpose of this project. He really knows who I am at my heart.
Also, he was really supportive and understanding too. He has been writing and producing for other artists throughout the MS MR project and I’ve always been super supportive. I think he was very proud of me for being honest and commutative with him about it and I think he knew it was only going to set us up to be a better place for MS MR in the future.
Can you tell us how did you come up with the moniker name ‘LPX’?
Honestly it’s not that exciting of a story. It’s just my signature. When I sign things, the easiest way to sign is, “LPX.” I was trying think of a grand name. Names are always the worst to figure out because they’re everything and nothing. But I think it’s just the most uncomplicated and most boiled down version of itself.
Let’s talk about your new single, “Tremble.” What was the inspiration behind it?
“Tremble,” came out of a really amazing experience. I just started LPX and had been writing for a couple months, working with a bunch of people. I liked the songs that I was making but I felt I was just making watered down versions of MS MR music — it wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be. So I went on this trip to Nicaragua with a bunch other writers, artists, producers, and friends. It was something about that group of people and being in that environment. I connected with a writer and producer James Flannigan and immediately the first session, day one, we wrote, “Tightrope” and it was such an explosive, heart-opening, eye-opening and ear-melting experience. I think we instantly understood we had a magical musical connection. That was at the beginning of the week. The rest of the week, I’m writing, I’m having a good time it feels like I’m set on my path with LPX and really starting to feel myself through the project.
At the end of the week I had the most inspiring time of my life and I was about to head back to New York. In a state of complete exhaustion and delirium of joy, I started to get the anxiety and fear of what awaited me at home. I think that all boiled to a head and I was in the room with James and this other writer Joe Janiak and we hadn’t slept in seven days — all of a sudden this song dove out of us. It felt like an honest, emotional, and intense writing experience. I felt like I’ve never written from a more honest and vulnerable place both as a songwriter lyrically but also in the vocal performance. I really f—in’ gave that vocal everything my body had. We could have re-cut the vocals later and done them pristine and properly sing it, but I really wanted to embody all the anxiety and torture and mixed fragments of my voice so the message of the song could be felt even if it was in a different language.
Listening to “Tremble” — it’s such a fun song but also so raw and powerful sounding — how personal is the song to you?
It’s incredibly personal. I have a tendency to hide behind abstract imagery and metaphors and I really do love that because I’m very inspired by literature. I love to pull from Russian literature.
“Tremble” is a rare instance where I think I’m just more direct of what I’m trying to say and what I’m trying to communicate. There’s something really scary about sharing that with the world but I think it’s one of the reasons why this song is so special. It also happen to coincide with these great melodies. I think it’s a great alternative pop song. Sometimes your best lyrical moment doesn’t coincide with your best writing moment and it’s just a beautiful instance when all those creative stars align.
Is there a music video coming soon for, “Tremble?”
There will be a music video. It’s not ready yet. The visuals are very precious to me, they really always have been. It’s been awesome on LPX to have the autonomy to have a singular vision and not have to compromise on any front. Everything comes directly from me. I’m not trying to rush pieces coming out for content sake. It will come, there will be a video and I’m working on it now but it won’t be right around the corner. It’s more important to me that this is a piece of art and the right representation of this song. That’s really going to elevate it.
Will Vevo be backing the video like your single, “Tightrope”?
I think so. I think they are going to contribute to this video, which is pretty amazing. Vevo has been incredibly supportive community. I signed on to Vevo to do some host work for them a couple months ago and I was a little nervous venturing into that field because I never done anything like that before, but they seemed so cool about letting me do exactly what I want — starting this new music show called, New Shape and they never forced me to talk to anyone I didn’t want to. I get to curate and interview. It’s just a very fun and interesting outlet to dip my toe into. I like to have my hands in all sorts of different projects whether it’s music or putting on shows or signing people to Neon Gold.
How has this project been different from MS MR?
I think sound-wise the most important difference is that I really wanted it to be more of an extension of the bands that I grew up on especially as female artists. People like PJ Harvey, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Shirley Manson from Garbage, and Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I think there is an aggression and vulnerability to LPX that there wasn’t in MS MR. The songs are more intense and guitar orientated and band driven. There’s a really exciting new spectrum of sounds for me to play with and it’s evolving with each song. “Tightrope” and “Tremble” are very much sister tracks to me. Not only because they were written in the same week but because they set me on my path sonically to what LPX would become. It’s been really fun exploring the crevice and creases of what the songs lend themselves to.
What inspirations did you draw from to create this new sound of yours?
It’s the bands and the time period where I first fell in love with music. You can relate to music in your teens where you maybe can’t do again where that music feels like an extension of your life. The bands I grew up on were Bloc Party, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV On the Radio, The Strokes, and Muse — so it’s really fun to stay true to music from my inspiration and I really wanted to make music that lived in that space. Especially as a female alt rocker at heart. I think one of the things I’m most proud of with, “Tremble” is that it’s a dream fulfilled. To make music that lives in that world for the first time for me.
You’ve had so much experience in the music and entertainment business — what is something you’ve learned from those past experiences that you took and applied to this project?
I would tell anyone in any industry to trust your instincts. I think things don’t work out when you start second guessing yourself, you put too much faith and trust in someone else’s vision or someone else is making a call that you’re not comfortable to do. I think this point in time, I really live and die by my gut and my instincts whether it’s for Neon Gold, MS MR, LPX or whether it’s for a general life choice and I think that’s important.
In previous interviews you described your new sound and music connecting to female empowerment — can you tell us about that?
It goes back to the alt rock and indie rock where there’s so many awesome bands like Arctic Monkeys, Muse or Glass Animals. There’s such a huge legion of men in that world and there aren’t that many women who sit inside that same space and play alongside those artists. I think there are a million of women who should be on that level who I’m excited about, but as a personal statement of intent I really want to exist side by side with these artists. Rock music is a male dominated genre and I really want LPX to be able to exist in the same world.
What more can we expect from you and your music in the future?
There’s definitely more music to come. I’m working on getting a band together and translating this to a live show. It’s all coming, I’m still working on music and expecting to release new music this year and more music videos. These two songs won’t just exist in a vacuum, there’s definitely more to come from LPX. Stay tuned!
Listen and rock out to LPX’s new single, “Tremble” below.