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Cinematic pop star Kid Moxie on movies, music, and Angelo Badalamenti

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Kid Moxie
Stathis Mamalakis

Elena Charbila grew up in Greece and has been acting from a young age, appearing in films alongside the likes of Malcolm McDowell, Al Pacino, and Taryn Manning. So it’s no surprise that the cinema’s had an effect on the music that she makes under the name Kid Moxie.

“Just being immersed in both those worlds since I was a kid,” she says, “it was kind of inevitable that I would want to merge them somehow.”

Charbila is deeply inspired by soundtracks–she cites the scores to Requiem for a Dream, Krzysztof Kieślowski’s The Three Colors Trilogy, and ’70s French films as primary influences. Angelo Badalamenti is another touchstone, and upcoming second album 1888 (due out Dec. 2 and available for pre-order now) boasts a cover of “Mysteries of Love” from his soundtrack to Blue Velvet recorded with the man himself, an experience that Charbila calls “terrifying and thrilling.” (Charbila is also connected to the film through her work with the David Lynch Foundation.)

She’s come up with the name “cinematic pop” for what she’s doing, and 1888 finds an intriguing balance between texture and hooks, juxtaposing ambient compositions like “1888” (one of two collaborations on the album with LA beat maker The Gaslamp Killer) with tracks like the album-opening “Lacuna”–which has a new video directed by Zan Tot–that use John Carpenter-esque synthesizers as the foundation for icy pop songs with a hint of new wave.

The difference between acting and making music, Charbila says, is that “acting is more immediate, as far as the gratification because you feel it in the moment as you do it. Music is definitely a more freeing experience, and there’s more freedom involved because you are your own scriptwriter with your lyrics, you’re your own director because you direct the music that goes around your lyrics and you perform however the heck you want. There’s just much more room for you to be completely free.”

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