Today, Canadian electronic producer, DJ, and singer Jessy Lanza releases her single "Limbo" alongside a music video, another drop ahead of her upcoming self re-inventive studio album Love Hallucination, out July 28 via Hyperdub. The album hovers over feelings and memories of love, forever in flux: a genre-bending, inescapable abstraction that manifests itself in a million ways, unique to its beholder. It is phoning home because you miss your family; debriefing your significant other on an uneventful day; jaunting the city with your closest friends. Her fourth album, the R&B-tinged techno record entrances and immerses listeners into what Lanza calls her “most confident album so far.”
"Limbo" is the third-released track from the album, one that offers a fresh, dreamy synthpop sound with precise percussion, telling a story of irresolution, balancing the scales of leaving and staying all the while being an irresistible dancing tune. The single is accompanied with a campy, subversive visual coated in technicolor, as the viewer follows a dancing-figure dressed in leather that is strapped in an inversion chair (when not treating the living room as a dance floor.)
“Don’t Leave Me Now" and “Midnight Ontario," Jessy's initial releases of Love Hallucination, offer airy vocals, repeating a plea of “don’t leave me” over a synth and percussion line that loop and spiral, ingraining themselves into your memory. The Janet Jackson-inspired “Midnight Ontario” sees Lanza maneuver around her vocal range with ease, digging into her smokier lower tone to confess, “I’m falling like tears in rain.”
On the album cover, conceptualized by Winston Case and shot by Landon Yost, Lanza ascends in a cherry picker over expansive palm fronds. Having recently moved to Los Angeles from the Bay Area, she calls Love Hallucination her “trust fall,” the visuals a symbol of adapting, acquainting with, and learning to love the relocation. The music video for “Midnight Ontario,” created by Infinite Vibes, couples the hypnotic beats with psychedelic animation that coils Lanza’s likeness with LA and Ontario imagery, her identity melding with the cities slowly, but surely.
Throughout the album, love adopts numerous sonic and lyrical forms, molding itself to fit Lanza’s needs. If love is a hallucination, Lanza is in total control of the mirage.
When did you first find your affinity for music?
I heard “When I Think Of You” by Janet Jackson on the radio when I was a kid, and it sounded like the happiest song I’d ever heard. I wanted to live in that world! I also sang in choirs and played in concert band in school. That gave me confidence because growing up I was shy, and music made me feel connected to my friends in a way I hadn’t before.
How do you find inspiration? How do you approach the canvas when creating?
I try to record as many ideas as I can in a session without thinking about it too much. I’ll get the sketch of a song to a point where it’s cohesive enough to understand where I was going with it when I reopen the file. I also like to bookend recording sessions with a book or a movie. It’s fun to absorb other ideas and imagery and see what filters though when I go back to recording.
How did “Limbo” come to be? Was there a moment, experience, or dream that inspired this track?
I was waiting to get my green card when I wrote “Limbo.” I couldn’t leave the US to see my family in Canada, and it felt like I was being stretched on an emotional torture rack. I imagined what if the feeling of being in a holding pattern that never ends truly never ended?
What do you hope people will take home with them after listening to your upcoming album, Love Hallucination in its entirety?
I hope people recognize that it’s my most confident album so far. I made myself more vulnerable on this record, and I’m really proud of that. It wasn’t easy for me to do. I think it’s my best yet.
Do you think that love is a hallucination?
It can be. When you hallucinate, you’re vulnerable because you don’t see what’s really there, and I’ve often found love and relationships to be that way. If I could go back and talk to my younger self, I would have made self-love the priority rather than spending so much time looking to others to give you what you need.
How do you keep your heart open?
I make a habit of forgiving myself all the time, and that makes me a nicer person that’s more open to the world.
How are you staying present these days?
I have apps that lock me out of apps so I don’t get sucked into checking and scrolling. Turning my phone off is the best thing I can do to focus on the present.