FAULT Interview: Alev Lenz


London’s latest it girl is Alev Lenz, a rising musician who has recently taken a step back into the spotlight after spending time working on soundtracks for high profile German films. Her style is hard to put a finger on – a steady mix of cinematic, world, and classical influences expressed through off-kilter harmonies and utterly personal lyrics that have led to comparison with Fiona Apple and Regina Spektor.

Her latest single “Airport,” was written during a hot summer – an introspective piece about relationships, knowing your worth and being brave enough to ask for what you deserve.

We had a chance to chat with Alev about her music as well as her thoughts on Britain’s recent exit from the EU. A HOT topic for sure. Read our conversation with Alev:

FAULT Magazine: You’ve been compared to Regina Spektor and Fiona Apple are those two artists you grew up listening to?

Alev Lenz: Not at all actually. I grew up listening to Chopin, then Michael Jackson and then Alanis Morrisette’s first two albums, and then my ears went everywhere. I can’t pin it down to one artist anymore.

I always knew the songs from Fiona’s first album, as it was so popular, but really started listening to her material only after I started performing my music. I love her latest album and the production work, and I listen to it like to a class. In fact, I listen to most music like a master class!

And Regina Spektor started to get famous around the time I was living in New York. She had also performed a lot at the Sidewalk Cafe (before my time there) and that’s when I first heard of her. I went to her first concert at Two Hall Theater in NYC. I was watching a lot of performers at the time, who were playing the piano and singing, the whole scene was completely new to me and I thought what I do must be silly and impossible, as I didn’t know it to be like that from living in Germany. I really found a musical how when watching Regina.

FAULT Magazine: “Airport” like your last song “Eggshell” is about love and relationships and in a way, learning to appreciate the value of yourself and not accepting anything less than what you deserve. What is your biggest takeaway from the relationships that you’ve had?

Alev Lenz: I think a lot of the times we get confused with what we deserve. First of all, that concept can be difficult anyhow, we all deserve happiness the minute we are born.

But I think it is not about what we deserve, rather than what we ask for and what we give in order to receive what we ask for. I was asking for a fantasy love story with sparkles and fireworks, but really only giving what didn’t make me feel vulnerable. And you don’t get far with that. I was trying to be a cool version of myself, but without our vulnerabilities and without showing them and accepting them, it is hard to start relationships that will make us profoundly happy and enable us to grow.

And Eggshell is about the relationship we have with our parents. The biggest takeaway from that is that whatever they did or didn’t do, they enabled my mind and heart to be free and examine, even this most important relationship of our lives without fear.

FAULT Magazine: Any artists you’re dying to collaborate with?

Alev Lenz: Most of them are dead! ;) Oh I find this a tough question to answer! I already started exchanging thoughts again with Jas Shaw for my next album which makes me really happy and excited. There is no one in particular I am dying to work with, I think every collaboration is wonderful. I think I know what to answer: I am dying to collaborate more!

FAULT Magazine: Can you tell me about the London artist community? It seems to be a bastion of amazing songwriting and creativity right now and I’m wondering if you’re feeling that. Are there particular places or spaces where artists gather?

Alev Lenz: There is music everywhere! I have never lived or been in a city where music is so central to everyone’s life. And that enables a lot of music to live in a lot of places. I used to get out more but I am again in a songwriting and processing phase in which I dwell mainly alone! Probably shouldn’t, see my answer above!

But I love the Daylight Music Gigs at Union Chapel, I have met great people there. I think Cafe Oto is fantastic to go see concerts and hang out. And I always ask my band what’s cool and where they hang out, they know much better and then I repeat after them :) I love to hang out with them.

Oh and I really loved the time when I had a little permanent recording room at The Premises Studios in London, hanging out there made great things happen for me!

FAULT Magazine: Being a London resident, how do you feel about the current political situation and #Brexit?

Alev Lenz: I find it disastrous. It was a terrible sign to send out to the world. I was so proud to live here in the UK where the fear-mongering-xenophobic-racist-BS-talk had no grounds in media and politics and I am utterly disappointed. And in shock. But that’s probably what being a London resident means, we didn’t see it coming – it is so far from the daily life and conversation in London.

Alev Lenz Socials: