LYZZA’s love for textured fabrics mirrors her experimental style
When LYZZA talks about her style, the first thing she mentions is texture.
“I love textures,” the Brazilian-born, Amsterdam-based artist and producer emphasises. “They give me a lot of comfort. Maybe you’re waiting at an airport or on a train – you can look at something, think about how the fabrics work together, and lose yourself for a while.”
LYZZA’s music similarly weaves together a sonic tapestry that you can get lost in: otherworldly, trance-influenced synths, trap hi-hats and R&B-driven vocal melodies are all stitched into her colourful musical universe. However, today, LYZZA is strikingly minimalist in a black, one-shoulder Hood By Air dress. Perhaps she has absorbed the chic simplicity of her Parisian surroundings, which is where she beams in from via Zoom.
Dress: Sankuanz, Top: Area, Boots: LYZZA’s own
Recently, LYZZA has been travelling non-stop to put the finishing touches on her forthcoming mixtape (and first release for Ninja Tune sub-label Big Dada). Though she can’t yet share its name, the project will focus on a new chapter for the artist – one defined by playful exploration. The first single, Lucky You, is a brooding club track with a distinct pop sensibility; its shuffled rhythm and eerie atmospherics act as a foundation for her most memorable melodies to date. The tape also moves through the sounds that shaped her early relationship with music; pumping dembow, spacey industrial techno and alien breakbeats fuse together with ease.
Ahead of the project’s release, LYZZA has been fitting in photoshoots, private production work and preparing for her first headline tour in Europe this autumn. It’s a lifestyle that requires a “ready-to-wear-at-all-times” approach to her wardrobe. “If I have to run to catch a train, then go to a party or play a show, I don’t want to have to change,” she explains. “With things opening back up, I’m leaving my house again, so I’m obviously gonna wear heels!”
LYZZA is adamant that thrifting is the future (“most people that look cool do not get their stuff from designers”) and reveals that her closet features treasured items that her friend Mykki Blanco has gifted to her over the years. Her attention then turns to a prized jacket she found in Kyiv, Ukraine a couple of years ago. “It was handmade in Tibet. All these little patches are tinted a slightly different pink and made with that Juicy Couture material. It’s the most unique piece and someone just decided they didn’t want it anymore!” She shakes her head in bemusement.
Jacket: Maison the Faux, Top: Dion Lee
LYZZA is giddy with excitement when she’s speaking about her aesthetic – often reflected in her widening eyes or animated expressions. But it wasn’t always this way. A turbulent period in 2018 left her feeling disillusioned with her environment, and, as a result, affected her creative practice. “I wasn’t connecting with Amsterdam,” she sighs. “I felt like people didn’t get me; I felt very lonesome.” That period drew to a close when LYZZA moved to London towards the end of that year, where she found the city’s vastness and anonymity “freeing”. Those residual feelings of darkness manifested as her aptly-titled 2018 EP, IMPOSTER – a frenetic project driven by anxious, pulsating electronic production, which spawned a remix album featuring reworked tracks from Swedish techno head Varg²™, fellow Brazilian producer BADSISTA and Afrofuturist multi-disciplinary artist Nkisi.
LYZZA eventually returned to Amsterdam in March 2020. Now in a much brighter state of mind, she has been riding a powerful wave of creative inspiration and self-assuredness. The new project, she confides, has given her a new lease of life and motivated her to experiment more across different mediums, moods and styles. For her Crack Magazine shoot, she is adorned by a similarly diverse array of textures and fabrics: faux fur, feathers, crochet, a leonine mane of hair. “I wanted to create a visual image that felt unapologetically me,” she says. “When you work with other creatives, it’s interesting to create your own language together. I think a lot of people would have expected stuff that’s super dark and emo. But I really wanted to explore. And this [shoot] was a vibe!”
Dresses: Olivia Ballard, Earcuffs: Alan Crocetti
This idea of subverting preconceptions is a central theme in her forthcoming mixtape. She tells me how, as a Black woman making experimental electronic music, “many labels can’t categorise or market me”. She also mentions the feelings of loneliness and being misunderstood that people across genders, ages and races experience, and how those shared struggles often bring communities and like-minded people together. The title of her mixtape, she reveals, will capture all of those life-changing emotions in just one word. And as for her own transformation? “I don’t feel like a different me,” she smiles. “More like an extended version. You know, like caterpillar soup? Metamorphosis? And then you’re a butterfly.”
Lucky You is out now via Big Dada