Leks Rivers (leɪks rɪvəs), ‘like water,‘ as he says before his set in the picturesque church at The Great Escape festival, is an artist who at times, is fittingly tranquil.
The church, therefore, was a fine location for his half an hour of stage time on a sunny Saturday afternoon that shone through the glass stained windows and onto the chilled out crowd inside. Off Licence Magazine caught five with the London-based singer after enjoying his often quite touching performance;
“Reverb, reverb, reverb,” he says were his first thoughts when he discovered he’d be bringing his modern sound to the holy venue, and with tracks that rely on the strength of his emotional singing voice like Risky Business, the echoing effects of the church’s stone walls were heard loud and clear.
“Other than reverb I didn’t really know to expect from the set, to be honest, but there’s nothing wrong with a church – it’s really cool. I like to jump into things head on, not think about things too much and I’m pleased that there were some really good vibes in here, today.“
There genuinely were. As the opening act of the latter part of the festival’s final day, the crowd was a little humble but wonderfully diverse. No one had retreated to the wooden seats around the sides and the atmosphere was far more gig than it was a mass, the obscure venue, as Leks himself told us, is part of what makes The Great Escape Festival the event it is.
“I think The Great Escape is unique. It’s a collective, you can tell that by the huge number of acts and how diverse the lineup is. I love the way they put it together,” he said before looking up towards the dizzy heights of the church roof, “I love this place, it looks sick. I’m sure all the pictures and videos everyone was taking will all turn out sick, as well.”
“I mean, I got to play with a huge fucking organ behind me! I wish I could’ve used it in my set, that would’ve been wavey.”
The big, fuck-off organ being played behind him would’ve made a festival highlight and The Great Escape will soon be contacted about this in a feedback form. But in all seriousness, it is venues like these that make the festival really special. In a matter of hours, I’d seen acts in a hotel lobby, a church, an impromptu set in the middle of the pedestrianised lanes and upstairs in a pub. All whilst seeing more of acts already on the Off Licence radar or discovering new ones, one of which is Leks Rivers.
The last song of his set was titled 2001, introduced by him saying ‘it took really fucking long to make his track’ and the following laughter. It was clear that this was a song that meant a lot to Leks.
After being grateful of my comment that it must be worth the wait, maybe even a little relieved, he explained why producing the song took over 2 years; “I just wanted to get the vibe right. I didn’t know if I wanted people to be able to dance to it, or if I wanted it to be a ballad. So I tried to find a middle ground between the two and eventually it finally just clicked… I literally finished it about a week ago in time for this show today.”
When asked what material he has out now for people to find, he mentioned the Badlands EP, but admitted there’s not a great deal of his material available just yet. “I’m about quality over quantity. I’ve got two videos on Youtube right now that people should go and find (here and here), but apparently that’s been enough to get me here to The Great Escape, so that’s sick…“
“Just stay tuned in, though, I’ve got loads of stuff coming soon and it’s gonna be sick, trust me.”