Lexi Vega has a deeply inquisitive mind and nowhere else is that more evident than on her debut full-length as Mini Trees, Always In Motion. Lounging comfortably at the intersection of indie pop and rock, Always In Motion presents questions that require deliberate reflection – but, as the album title betrays, life is quite seriously *always* in motion, so we have to answer our questions as we keep confronting new challenges.
Throughout Always In Motion, Lexi takes novel approaches to love, loss, and the materiality of the world around her. The record is steeped in big questions whose measured instrumentals tether the record down to earth, highlighting the simultaneous immediacy and loftiness of her subject matter.
While Lexi makes it clear that she doesn’t have all the answers, we got the chance to ask her about her upcoming tour plans, her beginnings in music, and more. Plus, she crafted us a sick playlist of songwriters who’ve inspired her to create music and tracks she often returned to as she crafted Always In Motion. Take a look below at our conversation.
Slumber: What three words would you use to describe Always In Motion to someone who’s never heard it before?
Lexi Vega: “Living Room Pop” (it’s the joke sub-genre I made up for myself but seems to resonate with people, haha).
Slumber: I’m super stoked to see you on tour. Where are you most curious to visit, and what’s your favorite road-trip activity?
Lexi: There are a lot of cities just in the states that I haven’t been to before and am excited to play in, but at the moment I’m most curious/excited about the Europe dates we’ll be playing with Briston Maroney in January 2022. I feel really lucky to have the opportunity to play abroad so soon and have never visited most of the cities we’ll be playing in. In terms of a road-trip activity, I get pretty carsick so there’s not a ton I can do in a moving vehicle, haha. But I love those moments, usually after hours of driving when everyone is tired and quiet, when you throw on an album that you love and just listen to it in silence together. I also enjoy trying to find the best coffee on your route or in the city you’re in which is sometimes very challenging.
Slumber: You’ve been a drummer in projects all around for some time – what initially prompted you to get Mini Trees going?
Lexi: I had been writing my own music since early high school but never had the confidence to share it or try to make something of it; I also genuinely loved playing drums and was happy to do that for as long as I did. But there were a few months back in 2018 when the bands I was in were both on hiatus, so I was just sitting around missing music a lot and it kind of pushed me to start working on my own thing.
“With this full length, I felt a lot more freedom to push the boundaries... part of that is due to having a longer tracklist to work with and the space to go in some different directions.”
Slumber: What got you interested in drumming in the first place?
Lexi: My dad was a professional drummer so ever since I was a baby I was surrounded by drums and music. I also picked up guitar at a young age and kinda floated between each instrument over the years. With drums I found that it was easier to find other musicians to play with (there were simply more guitar players out there), but guitar was always easier to write with.
Slumber: To you, what main creative differences do you see between your EPs and this, your debut LP?
Lexi: With this full length, I felt a lot more freedom to push the boundaries and lean into some different genre influences and styles than with the previous EPs. Part of that is due to having a longer tracklist to work with and the space to go in some different directions.
Slumber: This is your first release I’ve noticed with a current portrait on the cover – what motivated you to make this your artwork? It’s dope!
Lexi: Thanks! Nina Raj shot and designed the album artwork, as well as all of the single pack shots. I used to hate the idea of being on the cover art but once Nina and I nailed down our concept something kinda just changed and I felt really excited to step out and be more “visible”. I really have to give Nina all the praise for how it turned out because all I had sent her originally was a very disorganized mood board of half-baked ideas.
“I ask a lot of uncomfortably vulnerable questions and face a lot of my worst fears in the lyrics on this album, but my hope is that listeners would find something to relate to and feel a little less alone for a moment.”
Slumber: Could you tell me a little bit about the playlist you put together for this feature? Where did you draw from and what brings all these songs together?
Lexi: A handful of songs that never fail to get me right in the feels. Some old, some new, and some were on repeat around the time I was writing the album.
Slumber: What’s one song you wish you had written?
Lexi: “Casimir Pulaski Day” by Sufjan Stevens is a perfect song about loss, grief, and doubt. The verse “…he took my shoulders and he shook my face, and he takes and he takes and he takes” kicks me in the chest every time.
Slumber: What’s a good meal or beverage that would pair with this Always in Motion?
Lexi: I think you could go a couple of different directions. There’s the early morning option, where you brew yourself a nice pour-over and take it to-go on your walk around the neighborhood, or the evening option: sitting in your comfiest living room chair with a glass of fine whisky.
Slumber: What do you hope listeners get out of Always in Motion, and what’s something you’ve gotten out of creating it?
Lexi: I ask a lot of uncomfortably vulnerable questions and face a lot of my worst fears in the lyrics on this album, but my hope is that listeners would find something to relate to and feel a little less alone for a moment. For me, I think writing and expressing these things has helped me to find some peace around the unknowns.
Have a listen to the playlist Mini Trees curated for Slumber Mag, full of self defined gut punchers, below:
…and their debut full-length Always in Motion, out now: