Lexi Vega from Los Angeles-based band Mini Trees speaks on the shift from drumming to songwriting, and how the pandemic and self-discovery play into her music.
Interview by Ashmitaa Thiruselvam
Paradigm Haus: Can you please tell us about the beginnings of your music career and how it came about?
Lexi Vega: I've been playing and writing music ever since I was a kid but it wasn't really until Mini Trees (in 2018) that I decided to actually try making something of it. Prior to that, I had been gigging in other people's projects, playing the drums and kind of just taking a backseat to the whole thing. But I really enjoyed getting to play with so many people and I think it set me up really well to start my own project.
PH: I heard that you were initially a drummer, why did you choose to further explore your creativity through singing and songwriting?
LV: Songwriting is something that I've always done but used to reserve for personal self-reflection. It took me a while to get over the initial embarrassment of sharing something that felt so deeply vulnerable, and I think that's honestly what held me back from doing so for so long. Mini Trees kind of came about by accident. The other bands I was playing in at the time all happened to be on hiatus, so I found myself with all this extra time to write and work out my songs in the studio with my friend and producer Jon Joseph. From there, things kind of just started to take off.
PH: The tracks in your latest album Always in Motion hold so much meaning and draw attention to your personal experiences. Why do you feel it is important to create music in light of your past?
LV: For me, songwriting has been a really important and helpful tool for processing and dealing with my past. It's allowed me to search down deep and uncover emotions or feelings that I didn't really know were there, and to also vocalize and "let them go". I've found it to be an incredibly healing way to process it all.
PH: I noticed that Always in Motion has also been produced as a Japanese CD on your website. What was the reasoning behind releasing a Japanese adaptation?
LV: Early on in chats with my label (Run for Cover) I mentioned that I wanted us to partner with a Japanese label/distributor like Tugboat so that I could share my music more widely with Japanese audiences. My Japanese heritage has played a major role in my songwriting, especially the songs that deal with identity, so having unique Japanese releases felt like a small way to celebrate that.
PH: Your album and EP Slip Away were released during isolation. Has the pandemic impacted you as an artist? Did it maybe help you in some ways too?
LV: The forced "slow down" that the pandemic brought is what led me to write the album when I did. I was initially expecting to spend a lot of 2020 on the road to support the EPs but like everyone else, I was forced to stay home and rethink everything. All of that extra time to sit at home and process my thoughts definitely helped inspire the album; it was written entirely in 2020. It wasn't all easy though; I definitely struggled with the isolation from family and friends and had a lot of anxiety and fear to work through. I know we're not out of the woods yet but I'm grateful to be able to hug my family again.
Mini Trees' EP Slip Away by David Dean Burkhart (via YouTube)
PH: Congratulations on announcing your performance alongside Hovvdy’s shows in May and June of 2022. It must be super exciting! What are some things fans can expect when they see you perform?
LV: Thanks, I'm super excited! We'll be touring as a full band and probably playing a lot of songs off the LP but we'll definitely get the hits from the EPs in there as well.
PH: What can listeners look forward to for the future of Mini Trees?
LV: Well, I'm not planning on stopping or slowing down any time soon so hopefully a lot more music and touring. I'll be on the road here and there this year (including the UK/EU this summer) and in between that I'm just focusing on writing and planning whatever the next thing is.
Listen to Lexi’s latest album Always in Motion on streaming platforms.
Find Lexi Vega on Instagram at @minitrees
Discover more on Lexi and her discography on solo.to/minitreesband