Photo: Jim Jam
Pixel Grip, the self-described goth-disco project of Jon T. Freud and Rita Lukea, was formed with the idea to create dance music inspired by the sounds of their youth. Rita and Jon met during high school in Crystal Lake, a suburb 40 miles northwest of downtown Chicago. “I heard Rita’s voice, and I knew I had to work with her on something,” Jon said. “Jon and me are little rave rats,” Rita said. “I grew up listening to Daft Punk and French Electronica, and it seemed fitting to make dance music in Chicago, the birthplace of House. I'd say our biggest influences are Air, little Dragon, Trust and Justice as well as many others."
The group uses the term "goth-disco" to describe their work because they feel it is the best way to describe their “post punk, darkwave, sonic exploration.”
Pixel Grip has existed in several variations over the years until Jon and Rita discovered that the project worked best when it was just the two of them. Since then, they have narrowed their focus on finding and creating the sound they want. They've drawn from a limitless amount of resources but keep their sound centered around music that feels "angry, yet danceable and playful. "
“A lot of people make the mistake and think that I’m writing all of the songs, which is not true,” Jon admitted.
“Who are those people? I want their names,” Rita interjected and then continued with a tone of dark humor and a smirk, “and what are their addresses?”
Photo: Jim Jam
“Writing is very much a team process,” Jon continued. “Recently the way we have created a track is Rita will sketch out a song with vocals and send it to me, and then I will take the basic idea and evolve it into something new. I don’t think I’d be anywhere if Rita weren’t singing on the track. We’re both in it to go as far as we can.”
Pixel Grip is currently working on their first full-length album, their first release of any kind. “We have the songs,” Jon said; “It’s just a matter of getting them as good as they can be from the ground up, minus all of the production and pretty stuff. We are recording the album at Decade Music Studios with Adam Stilson (New Canyons), and it’s going well. It’s hard for me to think what’s beyond compiling the best of the pool of songs we have and making them better because it feels like finishing the album is our primary goal.”
Pixel Grip hopes to have the LP finished by summer. “I just can’t imagine releasing the album anytime later; the songs are very summery,” Rita admitted. “Yeah, those songs feel like a good summer mix,” Jon agreed. “In the meantime, we’re still working on some promotional aspects. We’re filming a music video with local production company New Trash.”
When asked what they planned on doing after the album was released, Rita jumped in: “I would like to tour the album, and I would like to give a physical copy to my mom. I am going to sleep with it under my pillow every night.”
The new single, "Right Side," is a springy, playful track featuring Ivan Sosa on auxiliary percussion. The song combines minimal-wave as well as electro and latin influences to create what Jon describes as, “one Frankenstein of a dance song.”
Interview and writing by Elizabeth Meyer
Listen to Pixel Grip - "Right Side"