Kito and Reija Lee are on Home Ground


Perth musicians Kito and Reija Lee have been friends since 13, and are now living in London performing as an electronic duo. The pair have returned to home soil to perform at Ambar next week as part of their first headline tour. Vocalist Reija Lee (pictured, right) sat down with Sophie Joske to talk all things music.

What made you start doing music?

Me personally, I grew up in a musical family. Everyone in my family is a musician. My dad’s a sound engineer as well. I think it was kind of expected that I would end up in it. I fell into electronic music because my brother got me to sing on a friend’s remix that we did for Muscles. So I sang on that and then from there Kito, who I did know since we were like 13, she just heard me on that and was like ‘Hey, sing on one of my songs’. She was doing her second EP for screens label, disfigured subs. I just sang on that song and then ever since then we were like ‘This is really cool, let’s keep doing it!’.

And you sang in metal bands before?

Yeah, I did! So it was kind of a bit of a change for me, I remember when I was singing on that first feature for the Shazam song, and I think the style of singing is so different that I kept doing all of these things and he was like ‘No, don’t do that. Just sing it straight. Just straight notes, no emotion.’ And I was like ‘Oh, Okay.’ It was really strange but I think mine and Kito’s music has gotten to the point where I think that I bring a bit of that influence into our music from the kind of rock and roll, more traditional song style, so I think that comes into my vocals I think.

You guys have been collaborating for a really long time now. Do you think the way that you approach music has changed over the years?

Absolutely. When we first started doing it, I mean to be fair, Kito was doing her solo music and so she had already moved over to London when we did the ‘Sweet Talk’ EP and she was really living it 100%, whereas I was still at uni at that time studying visual art so I was kind of doing music on the side at that time. So at that time we were sending things online, like she would send me a demo and then I would have to send vocal demos back to her and then back and forth and she would kind of put it together. Whereas now, ever since I moved to London, we have a studio together and we can actually sit in there and come up with ideas together. I think for me, it’s definitely different because I’m more involved now and it’s a much more collaborative effort, rather than when we first started and it was more like feature vocals. So now we can I guess do it a bit more collaboratively and we can bounce off each other. You can’t compare the feeling that you get being in a studio with someone, you can’t get that on the internet. I think that’s the biggest difference for us.

So you were learning a new genre and a new city at the same time, that’s pretty hectic.

Yeah, Kito was always interested in electronic music so she’s probably been a bit of a mentor for me. We kind of mentor each other on different music. She’s really into hip hop and rap music. She’s always telling me everything about the history of rap music and then I’ll tell her about rock music, which is not relevant to us really at all but I still tell her anyway [Laughs]

What are you listening to at the moment?

Kito and I both really like artists like Lido, S-Type, Nadus, labels like Lucky Me and stuff like that. I think we’re really inspired by quite melodic, synth heavy electronic music but also something that’s really interesting about what those guys are doing is that there’s a lot of interesting percussion as well. And then Kito’s really inspired by R & B and rap music. I think that definitely comes out in our music. It’s coming out more and more through me, the more I listen to it, but that’s definitely a new thing for me that I’m loving as well.

What excites you most about touring back home again?

I’ve never toured at home, it’s my first tour! Kito has toured Australia before so she would have a different answer. We’ve done a mini American tour because we did the Mad Decent block parties, so we’ve done that, but I suppose this is our first official tour together. I suppose it’s just exciting in itself [Laughs].

Whare are you most exited about visiting?

We’re doing a show in Bali, which is pretty cool. Not that Bali’s that interesting to someone that’s from Perth but I’ve never played in Bali so I’m wondering what that’s going to be like. I don’t really know what to expect. We’re playing at Chinese Laundry in Sydney as well. I always get told how amazing that place is, so I’m pretty excited for that too.

Catch Kito and Reija Lee at Ambar on October 17th. Tickets available here.

READ MORE: Soundtrack to Your Life: Reija-Lee

Sophie Joske


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