KID MOXIE, the musical vehicle of Elena Charbila has been making further crossover strides with her 2016 EP ‘Perfect Shadow’.

Comprising of six songs and an appendix of remixes including one of the lead track ‘Dirty Air’ by MARSHEAUX, the latter was used by lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret in an enticing Black Friday viral video.

Remixes aside, this six song sequence of exquisite euphony with tunes such as ‘4am’ and ‘Still High’ is undoubtedly KID MOXIE’s best body of work to date. Elena Charbila kindly chatted to The Electricity Club about all the latest happenings in the world of KID MOXIE…

The ‘Perfect Shadow’ EP appears to have gained traction and attracted new listeners to KID MOXIE, why do you think that is?

Although it’s done in the same Cinematic Pop vein as ‘1888’ and not a big transition in sound, some of the remixers like MARSHEAUX and TAREQ plus the involvement of THE GASLAMP KILLER who’d just released his EP, have opened new avenues to other audiences. I did a track ‘Pathetic Dreams’ with THE GASLAMP KILLER for his album, so there was traction from that in the States.

You seem most comfortable in collaboration whether it’s with THE GASLAMP KILLER, LOST IN STARS or THE SOUL LESS PARTY? How would you describe you creative dynamic with these artists?

If it’s a remix, there’s a lot of freedom, I like to see what people do with the track and where they take it to. I don’t want to confine them to any kind of space. So if MARSHEAUX take a track, I trust them completely to deliver something killer and obviously, I’m not going to tell them what to do with it.

But I also trust the people that I co-write songs with. But it’s a very different dynamic with everybody. THE GASLAMP KILLER brings a very ethnic feel with a little more grime and acoustic sounds to the mix as he’s a big fan of horns and strings like I am; so he brings out that side of me.

Now with Dylan Willoughby from LOST IN STARS and my other producer Darren Burgos, those two guys have a lot of that synth mentality and were instrumental in getting that production value you’d get from an electronic record. I like to join forces because everybody brings out a different element of me into the music.

I’d like to think it has an arc and that every song doesn’t sound like a previous one. There’s a song called ‘Girl Without A Secret’ that was inspired by doing an electronic version of what ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ might sound like. ‘Still High’ is a big unabashedly romantic synth love song. What I love about the 80s is the fact that there was a lot of emotion punctuated with big synths and snares, they weren’t afraid of it.

The hipster culture is afraid to show too much emotion now, so everything is now really cool, cerebral things instead of obvious things like “YOU DIDN’T CALL ME!” and “I MISS YOU!” – the thing is, love is cheesy and love is simple, longing for something is universally geeky I think and it doesn’t come in a hipster package. So with ‘Still High’, I thought, “let’s not be afraid of emotion here and let’s make it really big”. I myself am afraid of emotion of my own fear of sounding cheesy.

Then there’s tracks like ‘Dirty Air’ that was a song about a big city and a girl being isolated in her room and looking out. Every song comes from an image in my head or a scene that I’m playing out, a feeling rather than a sound. So there’s very different sounding songs on the EP; ‘Perfect Shadow’ is very different from ‘Still High’, one is very instrumental while one is very synthy. So that’s why I like to cover my music under the Cinematic Pop umbrella.

Looking back, while the ‘1888’ album was a major leap forward artistically, the songs on ‘Perfect Shadow’ appear to be more mature?

Thank you, that’s great to know. You like to believe that the older you get, the more layered as an experience it becomes. It’s good to know that this sounds more multi-layered and more complete than before.

It’s more focussed than before…

Actually, that’s the best word to describe it… It feels more focussed. I’ve done KID MOXIE for about nine years; you keep trying things and seeing what works so that you can listen back and say “Hey! I actually like this”. But most of the first couple of release, I don’t… maybe of only 10% has value to me now. I think you mature into what you really want to put out there and who you want to work with. Again, collaborating with people that are going to understand you and bring out the best in you, it really shows in the final product.

Which songs have been your own favourites and why?

I have a soft spot for ‘Still High’, for me it was a venture into not being afraid to sing about simple, heartfelt emotions and punctuating them with big synth and snares. But it’s not a lot of people’s favourite which I’m surprised about, although people seem to really love ‘Dirty Air’.

The visual presentation for ‘Perfect Shadow’ EP with the videos appears to have been an important consideration?

I always for my music, it’s better to have a visual piece than singing it live, because that’s what’s been driving it in the first place, an image or an atmosphere in my head. It serves the music better to have it coupled with something than fits the mood and generates the feeling that I originally wanted.

The ‘Dirty Air’ video led the release and was a very important aspect of the whole EP because you set the tone with a certain story. In that one, there’s a girl in downtown LA and we don’t know if she’s human or what, she’s collecting people in jars… there’s a certain symbolism and I think anybody can make it to be what they want it to be, but for me it’s about falling in love and collecting pieces of people through life, like how you devour them and get devoured by them.

And that can be very dangerous as you can get lost in a back mass, but it’s also pretty playful in that love can be dangerous. I always think that pretty much everything I do has a duality to it as pretty playful but also dangerous, it’s never too sweet and never too sombre.

Your music does possess an erotic tension…

I think sex and love is something that has always been a big concern in me, something that’s has affected decisions in my life, for better or worse! You can’t deny that love and attraction guide things that we do in life, Freud used to say that it’s the core thing that guides everything we do! I’m not sure about that but for myself, it’s a very big part of my life and that I give value to, it’s something that’s very important. I’ve always tried to express it through the atmosphere that my music creates, but maybe as you grow older, you mature into your sexuality, you become more comfortable with a lot more aspects of yourself and it gets reflected in what you create.

So the use of the MARSHEAUX remix of ‘Dirty Air’ by Victoria’s Secret for a viral ad was quite apt?

Yes, my label and publisher West One were approached. They were given a few tracks and they went for the MARSHEAUX remix of ‘Dirty Air’.

What’s happening with the ‘Twin Peaks’ reboot? Is your version of ‘The Mysteries of Love’ in it and have you got a part?

I’m not sure why people were sure that was happening, I think that was more wishful thinking because honestly, everything was so hush-hush about ‘Twin Peaks’ that I wouldn’t have even known at that stage if I was going to get involved or not. Obviously I would have loved to, I’m not. I’m still trying to get involved in the music side but I’m not acting in it, which is what I really wanted to do! *laughs*

What’s next for you?

As far as music is concerned, I’m going to do something which I’ve not ventured into before, which is a full soundtrack of a whole movie by myself. So I am going to work on a soundtrack to a Greek film which is in keeping with the style of the music that I already do, so a little bit of a ‘Stranger Things’ / ‘Drive’ feel. It’s a great movie and cast, there’s a Japanese actress in it and it’s a really cool project, I’m really excited to be doing it. I’m also going to be acting one of the key parts in it.

I’m also working with a DJ Luxxury who is more Balearic, he’s been touring with Giorgio Moroder.


‘Perfect Shadow’ is released by West One Music Group and still available as a download mini-album via https://kidmoxiemusic.bandcamp.com/album/perfect-shadow

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https://soundcloud.com/kidmoxie


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Efi Gousi Photography
16th January 2017