Xela Edna and Eius Echo have known each other for a very long time. Partners in crime since childhood – they were on the same speed skating team – they lost sight of each other, then found each other again to pool their energy. But this time in a creative way, rather than a sporting way. Musically, they combine their talents to create atmospheres that push us to dance, and get rid of anything that prevents us from feeling pure and simple well-being.

Xela Edna, Eius Echo

Photo: Maryse Boyce/Francouvertes

“High-level sport is addictive,” says Eius Echo, adamant that musical performance has most certainly taken the place of sports performance in their lives. “We needed to go as far from sports as we could,” says Xela Edna. “Instead of going around in circles doing something physical and automatic, we found ourselves in musical performance.” His stage partner agrees: “We clearly took a lot of characteristics from sports and applied them to music: perseverance, giving it everything you’ve got…”

Recognizing each other as creative people by nature, they saw in music a practical path to convey both political and philosophical ideas. “We needed to find a different way of coping with life,” says Edna. “Sports and music are two highly therapeutic ways of getting rid of negativity.”

Before collaborating with Echo, Edna wrote in English. He delved into languid hip-hop that flirted with R&B and soul. “Our process has evolved,” continues Echo. “But it’s always been that I create a beat, she writes based on it, and then we record it. Nowadays, it’s more complex and there are more layers. She often brings complete song demos to the table.” They both enjoy being involved in each other’s creative process. “I’ll be on my own writing in a poetic frame of mind, and Eius Echo gives me beats, or themes. Increasingly, we create demos on our own, and then we work on them together.”

It’s the fusion of their talents that led Edna to sing in French. “Eius pushed me in that direction,” she remembers. “But I couldn’t find my own sound and I didn’t like how my voice sounded in French. In the end, we tried something that closer to French spoken word over electronic beats, and ended up with what we’re doing now.”

From the very inception of their musical union, they’ve sought to give their audience a unique stage experience. “It was always our goal,” Echo insists. “It’s ambient and laid-back, and aggressive at the same time. We had all kinds of beats and wanted to tell a story, to have a storyline. When we started, we knew what we wanted to achieve, but we didn’t know how, and didn’t have the means to do it. We pooled our ideas through studies and experience.” Writing in French has allowed Edna to get closer to her truth, and Echo’s learned all the techniques that now allow them to produce their unique sound.

“Just by sitting next to him, I ended up understanding how it all works,” Edna continues. “I installed that software on my computer and learned by watching. I’ve always composed by singing and playing the piano. It’s more inspiring and original to start with melodies that way.” Although she’s tried working with other producers, it was alongside Echo that she understood that the passion that drives him is a catalyst for her own talent.

The result can clearly be seen when they’re onstage: what we witness is a multi-faceted performance with meticulous attention to detail. “We want to make a physical demonstration, to feel alive,” says Edna. “There’s nothing more insignificant nowadays than releasing a song on Internet,” Echo adds. “The experience needs to be bigger than that.”

Following three EPs, the duo is now working on their first full-length album, slated for 2023. “We’re seeking eccentricity,” says Edna. “It’s our source of inspiration. Even if we’re doing experimental electronic music, we find inspiration in the work of Klô Pelgag, Hubert Lenoir, and all those artists who know how to do unique things without limitations.”