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Alexis Karo Rutkowska Ezekiel
Photography Karo Rutkowska & Ezekiel

You need to hear Alexis, the rising star of spectral London techno

Ahead of the release of her new single angelcore, the musician talks creative inspiration, astrology obsessions, and the giant killer crow of her nightmares

Crashing down to earth and into a gelatinous pool of goo, Alexis is every inch the alien entity in the video for her latest single angelcore. “In the eye of the storm/I find myself reborn”, she purrs on the track, her hushed voice slithering below a relentless, thronging bassline. Having grown up in Texas and spent time in Dubai, the multi-hyphenate singer, DJ and producer has settled on a distinctly London flavour, with impressive techno sets and a sprawling well of references as strings to her bow. angelcore is her first release on fledgling label Remedy Records and, as she says on the track, somewhat of a rebirth.

After cutting her teeth as a resident DJ at Peckham’s Balamii Radio, Alexis released her debut EP Refractions in 2020, and since then she’s been honing her vision. “I think my sound feels more full-bodied now compared to my first release”, Alexis tells me in a conversation over email, “there are still club-sounding elements, but I feel like I've picked them up and pivoted them into a different sonic world”.

Below, the musician talks upcoming music, cornershop snacks, and the worst advice she’s ever been given.

Hi Alexis! Congratulations on the release of angelcore. Can you guide us through some of your inspirations when making music?

Alexis: Thank you so much! I definitely feel the most inspired going to gigs and listening to music while moving about the city. A big part of my inspiration has always been going to clubs and dance music in general, and it still is. I’m just now learning to filter those sounds that inspired me in a different way.

You grew up in Houston, Texas, have lived in Dubai and are now settled in London – how have these different cities influenced you and your sound?

Alexis: I think London is the only place that’s influenced my sound: moving here was the first time that I’d heard a lot of the more experimental and left-field music that influences me now.

I was working in radio when I first moved to London and that exposed me to so much music I’d never heard. Talking to DJs while they were doing their shows really sparked an interest in more experimental sounds. When I finished shifts I’d run home and find the tunes they’d been playing and then start exploring back catalogues and going down the rabbit hole of super niche stuff.

What are some of your earliest memories of making music?

Alexis: I started messing around on Garageband when I was about 17 or 18 and trying to write songs, and I got too frustrated so gave up. They sounded so terrible. I probably have archives of them somewhere (unfortunately or fortunately, I’m not too sure which).

I then tried to make music when I started DJing more seriously, as I felt I had a better grip on what sounds I liked and wanted to make, which was about five years ago. I was making a track or two a day in that period – I was so excited to just learn as much as possible and play with sounds.

What’s the most insightful thing you’ve learnt about the music industry so far?

Alexis: Maybe this one isn’t super groundbreaking, but persisting is the most important thing. The industry is so full of setbacks and disappointment, and having resilience is essential for any career in music.

Do you have any fun projects or shows lined up for 2023?

Alexis: I want to focus on writing and collaborating more, that’s what’s getting me excited! I really want to keep moving forward and carving out my own niche.

What’s the last text you sent?

Alexis: “I feel like a fraud”.

The last meme you saved?

Your favourite cornershop snack?

Alexis: Hmmm, depends on my mood. Usually sweet popcorn, diet coke and maybe some chocolate and biscuits. 

What’s your ghost outfit?

Alexis: PJs and fluffy socks. Or one of those spooky old nightgowns and caps with a hand-held candle.

The worst advice you’ve ever been given?

Alexis: “Just don’t be anxious”.

What’s your star sign and are you a typical one of that star sign?

Alexis: I’m an Aries! Well Aries sun, Leo moon and Cancer rising. I think yes and no. Aries are said to be bold and assertive which, to be honest, I’m really trying to channel more both creatively and in life in general. They’re also said to act before they think which I would say is the opposite to me – I overthink anything and everything possible.

Any recurring dreams?

Alexis: I used to have this one where I was in one of my childhood homes and this GIANT crow would chase me and then I got to the back door, got into the house and locked it but then it looked at me through the glass and started pecking and then I would wake up. Probably a lot to unpack there!

I also have one where I’m in that crazy lift from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, you know the glass one? 

What’s your love language?

Alexis: Cooking and baking for people.

Let your predictive text finish this sentence: I am a musician because I love___ but people don’t know that I am actually___.

Alexis: “I am a musician because I love music but people don’t know that I am actually a singer”.

What’s on your For You Page right now?

Alexis: At the moment it’s lots of cooking and baking vids, lots of Paul Breach [@Beautybeyondthe_eye] drama, fashion and production videos too!

angelcore is out January 27 on Remedy Records.

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