In the midst of breakups, divorces, and heartbreaks circulating across the news, UK pop artist bexx brings the anti-love discourse a little closer to home through the release of her latest EP, SUCKER. Described as an EP full of cathartic anti-love songs for people with big feelings, her eclectic and euphoric sound has been hailed as “unserious heartbreak” pop and gives listeners the chance to feel all the rollercoaster of emotions when it comes to dealing with love. Taking inspiration from a multitude of subjects, including queer dating, body image, mental health, and even cheesy romcoms, bexx delivers to her audience the soundtrack they need to navigate all of life’s (and love’s) challenges. We spoke with bexx about the creative process behind SUCKER, music inspirations, her lyricism, and what's up and coming for her.
In five words or less, how would you describe your sound to a first-time listener or someone who has never heard your music before?
I like talking too much to limit myself to five words. Can I hold them hostage with a pair of headphones playing Bad For Each Other instead?
What inspired you to pursue a career in music and songwriting?
I got laid off, so I had the time! For real, though, I've always felt really called to performing, and I just hadn't really put my mind to working out if I had something to say as an artist. Once I had the space to create and could put aside all the other demands on my time, it was easy to commit to it.
Who are your biggest role models when it comes to creating and writing music?
I love how Rina Sawayama is so unafraid to experiment and forge her own path musically, and I also appreciate how she brings her politics into her music. Chappell Roan is a more recent obsession, and I have such an admiration for her visual style, which is so full of fantasy and escapism. As I'm moving forward with writing new songs, I'd love to go deeper into that really transporting world-building, too.
You described your EP to be full of cathartic anti-love songs for people with big feelings, has it been fun to play into the “anti-love” narrative?
Initially, I wasn't even crafting that narrative on purpose; I just found there was a common theme to my demos. I was really using music to let off steam as I was getting very frustrated in my dating life. Plus, it's fun to be a little overdramatic about it. I wrote Stupid first, then SUCKER, then I'm Disgusting!, and then once I got to late 2022, I thought ok, I should do two more not-love songs. It's been cathartic for me, and what's been really cool is finding that it's cathartic for listeners, too.
What would you say has been the most rewarding and difficult moment throughout this process?
It took me a really long time to finish writing – I was looking for a fifth song to round out the EP for months and couldn't find the right track. I'd worked with some great songwriters and producers and come up with some really raw, sad songs, but they didn't quite fit with the rest of the project, which is more tongue-in-cheek and silly. When I was in the studio with ST£FAN at the beginning of this year, and he suggested the idea for, haha, I'm dying alone as a twist on the concept I'd brought him, everything fell into place really quickly. I was nervous about putting it on the EP because it felt a little too real, but it's a great closer and really sums everything up.
What song do you feel encapsulates the EP as a whole?
Depending on your perspective, SUCKER is either hopelessly romantic or deeply self-deprecating. If it's romantic, the title track encompasses that sense of hopeless, futile longing. If it's self-deprecating, then it's haha, I'm dying alone. That song deconstructs all the little jokes and brash humor that's peppered through the rest of the EP and gets to the emotional core.
Is there a specific lyric(s) you have written for the album that has been your absolute favorite?
I could answer this in about 10 different ways, but today, I'm going to pick the chorus of I'm Disgusting!
"I've got three words on the tip of my tongue
Too many feelings, I'd rather be numb
When you come home, think I'm falling in love
And it makes me sick, I'm Disgusting!"
Where do you go to or reach into when you are looking for inspiration to create music? Is there a special place in the UK or people that help you find inspiration when you feel lost?
I'm obsessed with pop culture and spend a lot of time listening to new music, so at any time, there are 50 things floating around in my head that could inspire part of a song – quotes, jokes, a specific guitar part I like. I also journal a lot, and usually, if I'm starting to write something personal, I'll look at what I've written recently and see if there's anything I can take. Even though I wrote my first few singles alone in my room and then brought in producers, now I make my best stuff in cowrites. If I feel like I'm at a musical dead end, I can count on people like ST£FAN and Takooree (who both worked on SUCKER) to steer me in another direction. I'm writing new stuff at the moment, and it's a slow process with lots of editing and reworking, but it's rewarding.
At this point in your career, what has been the moment that reaffirmed music is right for you and something you want to do for the rest of your life?
Honestly, I'm still waiting for that moment. I think about quitting all the time! It can feel exhausting when you put a lot of yourself into your music, so I live in a cycle of doubting and undoubting my decision. What keeps me going is gigging, chatting to fans, being silly in the studio, and taking regular breaks.
If you were to pick any song as the theme song of your life at this current moment, what song would you choose and why?
I listened to As Good As It Gets by Fizz about 20 times yesterday. I also listen to Shatter by Maggie Rogers a lot.
Are there any other fun projects you are working on at this moment that you would like to share?
We're in the final stages of creating a visualizer for Bad For Each Other, which will be out at the beginning of October. It's filmed on Super 8, and it came out really cool so far, so I'm excited to share the final thing. I'm also doing a headliner in London on November 22, so we're building out that set and incorporating some of the new songs I've been writing. I'm really excited about that, and there are still some tickets left on Dice.