Based out of Los Angeles, Mini Trees is the solo project of songwriter Lexi Vega. After playing in various projects, Lexi began writing and recording under the Mini Trees moniker back in 2018, releasing two EPs, 2019’s Steady Me and 2020’s Slip Away. Originally planning to write a third EP, Lexi, the daughter of a Cuban-born father and Japanese-American mother, set about challenging her own beliefs and notions, and hit a rich thread of creativity that resulted in it spiralling into her debut album. That record, Always In Motion, was released last week via the Run For Cover label.
The album opens with the gorgeous Moments In Between, a song about the comfort that can be found in a faith that things can get better, “when you’re in the midst of something painful you long to get to the other side of it…even though life is long and painful, there is hope at the end of it all“. Musically the track, like much of the record its from, seems to exist in a multitude of shades of grey, there’s a brightness to the guitars and the rapid drums, a sparkle to the production, yet there’s a certain wistfulness to the vocals, a sense that all is not quite as sweet as it might first sound. It’s present in Doomsday where a jaunty-guitar line plays off against a tale of societal anxieties and the end of the world, while on the stripped-back Youth, Lexi bluntly notes, “I lost my sense of wonder in my youth”. There’s a sometimes brutal honesty to the record, throughout it seems to ask questions without ever finding answers, as Lexi explains, “the resolution is to be okay with not knowing. I think I do find some acceptance along the way, but the album purposefully concludes with no real resolution“. This sense is particularly evident on the closing track, Otherwise, where to a dreamy haze of synths, electronic beats and effects-drenched layers of vocals, Lexi ultimately concludes, “I’ll spend my life chasing it, a reason for our inexistence, but there’s no certainty ’til we reach the end”. An intriguing and quietly powerful collection, Always In Motion might never reach a final conclusion, yet along the way we’re introduced to a songwriter who even at this early stage of her musical journey already seems to be at the start of something very special indeed.
FTR: For those who don’t know who is Mini Trees?
As a “solo project”, Mini Trees is primarily me, but there are a handful of close friends who contribute to the project in really valuable ways and have helped shape it into what it is today. Most notably is my friend and producer Jon Joseph who’s been with me since the first single. There are also 4-5 friends who circulate through my live band and help me bring the songs to life in a live format.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
The most memorable thing about my first show is that we were given a midnight time slot, which I didn’t even know was an option. Shockingly some people stayed for our set, and I was able to get a decent group of friends out to the show. The other thing I remember is that the stage had a curtain that was let down between each set, and as it was being pulled up for us, my mic stand caught on it and started floating up off the ground while I was trying to start the first song. But despite all that I was strangely comfortable with the whole thing which was an important step in deciding whether or not I was actually going to pursue this project.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
I’ve always been drawn to music as an art form, hobby, and outlet, probably because both parents were musicians and I grew up surrounded by it. Ever since childhood I’ve connected with music in a deep and almost spiritual way. But I’m also not very artistic when it comes to other art forms…
FTR: What can people expect from the Mini Trees live show?
These days we’ve been touring as a duo or trio set, heavier on the synths and drum machine tracks, but hopefully still sounding pretty true to the record. If it’s somewhere around LA you can expect the full band and probably a little more experimentation with the arrangements. You can also expect some awkward stage banter.
FTR: What’s next for Mini Trees?
For now I’m just trying to get out on the road again and tour as much as possible to support the record. Performing live is easily my favorite part of this whole thing, so I’m really excited that we have the opportunity to play again. I’ve also been writing a bit in my off time, but it’ll probably be a little while until I actually hit the studio again.
They Listen To…
Big Red Machine ft. La Force – 8:22am
Dora Jar – Polly
Porches – Okay
Marias – Heavy
Sufjan Stevens And Angelo De Augustine – Fictional California