• Customer Service
  • Legal
Read our COVID-19 statement here

Brix Smith Start

Musician — London

Where are you from?
I grew up in LA until I was ten when I moved to Chicago and then I spent the rest of my teenage years bouncing between the two cities. I went to college in Vermont and I left after a year to join The Fall and moved to Manchester. Now I’m in London. 

What do you do?
I’m a musician first and foremost, and a songwriter, a TV presenter and an author. They’re all passions. Multi-faceted, Renaissance woman. Woman of reinvention. I just follow my passions. 

Describe your style in three words
I can do it in two words. Ever-evolving.

How did you get your name?
I was born Laura E Salenger and I really did not like my name Laura for two reasons; I had a disastrous relationship with my father, and any time anyone called me Laura, it would remind me of him. There were also so many other people called Laura that it was hard to be individual. I moved in with my mother, and I became a bit of a rebel and a punk in Chicago in the late ‘70s. I discovered the Clash and they were super inspirational to me – their music, attitude, and style. My favourite was ‘Guns of Brixton’, and every day after school I’d play it with my gang of punky friends who started calling me ‘Brixton’. When I met Mark E Smith, he told me I couldn’t be called Brixton and, so we shortened it to Brix. This Christmas I was at a party and talking to Paul Simonon, the bassist in the Clash, and this song was played in the background – we both got full body goosebumps!

How did Brix and the Extricated come together?
For fifteen years, I could not play, could not write, sing, nothing. The channel of creativity had dried up. But it came time to write my book and as soon as I started writing, the creative channel for music opened up again. I hadn’t picked up a guitar in fifteen years and what came out of me was a voice completely different to the voice I had in the ‘80s. It was a voice of a woman who’d lived life, a woman who was powerful and vulnerable and honest and raw and I was like – where the fuck did that come from? I hadn’t seen any of the guys from The Fall for 18 years and I went up for Steve Hanley’s book launch. He’d put together a band made up of ex Fall members and a few other musicians. When the band played Mr Pharmacist, which is a Fall song I recorded with them, the guitar player started to play his solo and something incredible happened. It was like a lightning bolt shot through my body and it took everything to hold myself down and not storm the stage. I knew then that whatever I had lost was back. So, we got into a room a month or so later and we plugged in and started playing together. We all got goose bumps. There was some kind of magic happening. 

What’s the plan now?
I don’t think there’s any limits to what this band can achieve, because it’s something really special. I feel that it’s my time now to bring the magic for all of us; anybody that’s ever been marginalised or kicked to the curb or allowed themselves to be controlled by other people. I just keep on saying, I’m getting on this train and I’m riding it until the end and I’m going to have fun doing it. 

Who influences your sound today?
At the moment I’m having this weird thing with a band called Sparklehorse. It’s kind of intense and the songwriter is a man called Mark Linkous who I met years ago in LA. A couple of months ago I wrote a song and it wasn’t like anything I’ve ever written before. It had a different feeling. A few weeks later I was listening to six music and I heard this song and thought oh my god what is that? I had this real connection to it. It turned out it was ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ by Sparklehorse and I immediately went to download it and realised it was Mark Linkous’ band.  It was like Mark had been coming through me in this one song I’d been writing. It was like I’d been channelling him.

Which female-fronted bands are you in to?
Back in the ‘80s there were very few of us out there. There were only a handful of women players. There were the Go-Go’s, the Bangles, the Runaways, Chrissie Hynde, not that many. There are a lot of really interesting bands out there at the minute that I really like. There’s this band called PINS, Teen Canteen from Glasgow, there’s Menace Beach, Skinny Girl Diet, there’s tonnes of them. I also really like Hairband from Glasgow – they supported us recently and are very talented musicians.


To buy Breaking State, the newly released album from Brix and The Extricated, and to see tour dates, visit: brixandtheextricated.com

What was the first song you played on repeat?
The Carnival of the Animals, The Aquarium. I have synaesthesia, so every time I see a colour, I hear a sound. And conversely, every time I close my eyes and listen to music I see colours. My mother used to play Carnival of the Animals to me to go to sleep to as a little child. I could see the aquarium and the fish and the aquatic waves of light. The music brought this intense visualisation to me.

Who influences you?
It happens all the time. There’s certain people and certain things for different reasons. When it happens to me it’s like a purity of the intentions of the musician and their connection to their source of inspiration. It’s a kind of vivid truth coming through the soundwaves that just resonates with their source and their passion. And it can be all kinds of music. I see it with gospel music, you see people literally listening into another dimension. It’s when music lifts you so high and this can happen in lots of different ways. People like Stevie Nicks, the Fleetwood Mac era. I really like that song Edge of Seventeen, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, in a weird way the Clash, Joy Division. There’s like a billion moments of amazing connections, when you hear something and it changes your life but it also freezes and preserves the moment and the exact emotional connection that you have, so that next time you hear the song, it takes you slam back into that moment.

A song you wish you’d written?
Johnny Cash – 'Hurt' 
Rarely are cover versions better than the original. For some reason when Johnny Cash did it, it’s a billion times more emotional. He connected to the music in such a way, the song resonated with so many things in his life. He made an emotional connection, and when he sings the song, I well up when I hear it. It’s the most emotional performance of a song – bar none. It’s a masterpiece.

A song lyric that inspires you?
There’s this Sparklehorse lyric, and I know I’m going on about Sparklehorse, but he says:
‘Sleep in the fire
With snakes I have sired…
I drink my liquor from the palm
Of a child who spoke in tongues
And smelled like sun .’

I love it, it’s just the most beautiful poem.

A songwriter you admire?
Beck – 'Loser' 
The first time I heard Loser, I was living in LA in-between leaving the Fall and re-joining. I remember hearing it and thinking, ‘what the hell is this?’ It’s such a brilliant collage of genres in one song and it just so typifies the whole slacker, grungy, skater, California/Mexico influenced rock, singer-songwriter all at once. We’ve all felt like losers at one stage, and Beck tapped into one of the most core feelings. There’s so much going on, it’s so creative and free in terms of writing, production and influence that it was un-genrefiable.

Where are you from?
I grew up in LA until I was ten when I moved to Chicago and then I spent the rest of my teenage years bouncing between the two cities. I went to college in Vermont and I left after a year to join The Fall and moved to Manchester. Now I’m in London. 

What do you do?
I’m a musician first and foremost, and a songwriter, a TV presenter and an author. They’re all passions. Multi-faceted, Renaissance woman. Woman of reinvention. I just follow my passions. 

Describe your style in three words
I can do it in two words. Ever-evolving.

How did you get your name?
I was born Laura E Salenger and I really did not like my name Laura for two reasons; I had a disastrous relationship with my father, and any time anyone called me Laura, it would remind me of him. There were also so many other people called Laura that it was hard to be individual. I moved in with my mother, and I became a bit of a rebel and a punk in Chicago in the late ‘70s. I discovered the Clash and they were super inspirational to me – their music, attitude, and style. My favourite was ‘Guns of Brixton’, and every day after school I’d play it with my gang of punky friends who started calling me ‘Brixton’. When I met Mark E Smith, he told me I couldn’t be called Brixton and, so we shortened it to Brix. This Christmas I was at a party and talking to Paul Simonon, the bassist in the Clash, and this song was played in the background – we both got full body goosebumps!

How did Brix and the Extricated come together?
For fifteen years, I could not play, could not write, sing, nothing. The channel of creativity had dried up. But it came time to write my book and as soon as I started writing, the creative channel for music opened up again. I hadn’t picked up a guitar in fifteen years and what came out of me was a voice completely different to the voice I had in the ‘80s. It was a voice of a woman who’d lived life, a woman who was powerful and vulnerable and honest and raw and I was like – where the fuck did that come from? I hadn’t seen any of the guys from The Fall for 18 years and I went up for Steve Hanley’s book launch. He’d put together a band made up of ex Fall members and a few other musicians. When the band played Mr Pharmacist, which is a Fall song I recorded with them, the guitar player started to play his solo and something incredible happened. It was like a lightning bolt shot through my body and it took everything to hold myself down and not storm the stage. I knew then that whatever I had lost was back. So, we got into a room a month or so later and we plugged in and started playing together. We all got goose bumps. There was some kind of magic happening. 

What’s the plan now?
I don’t think there’s any limits to what this band can achieve, because it’s something really special. I feel that it’s my time now to bring the magic for all of us; anybody that’s ever been marginalised or kicked to the curb or allowed themselves to be controlled by other people. I just keep on saying, I’m getting on this train and I’m riding it until the end and I’m going to have fun doing it. 

Who influences your sound today?
At the moment I’m having this weird thing with a band called Sparklehorse. It’s kind of intense and the songwriter is a man called Mark Linkous who I met years ago in LA. A couple of months ago I wrote a song and it wasn’t like anything I’ve ever written before. It had a different feeling. A few weeks later I was listening to six music and I heard this song and thought oh my god what is that? I had this real connection to it. It turned out it was ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ by Sparklehorse and I immediately went to download it and realised it was Mark Linkous’ band.  It was like Mark had been coming through me in this one song I’d been writing. It was like I’d been channelling him.

Which female-fronted bands are you in to?
Back in the ‘80s there were very few of us out there. There were only a handful of women players. There were the Go-Go’s, the Bangles, the Runaways, Chrissie Hynde, not that many. There are a lot of really interesting bands out there at the minute that I really like. There’s this band called PINS, Teen Canteen from Glasgow, there’s Menace Beach, Skinny Girl Diet, there’s tonnes of them. I also really like Hairband from Glasgow – they supported us recently and are very talented musicians.


To buy Breaking State, the newly released album from Brix and The Extricated, and to see tour dates, visit: brixandtheextricated.com

What was the first song you played on repeat?
The Carnival of the Animals, The Aquarium. I have synaesthesia, so every time I see a colour, I hear a sound. And conversely, every time I close my eyes and listen to music I see colours. My mother used to play Carnival of the Animals to me to go to sleep to as a little child. I could see the aquarium and the fish and the aquatic waves of light. The music brought this intense visualisation to me.

Who influences you?
It happens all the time. There’s certain people and certain things for different reasons. When it happens to me it’s like a purity of the intentions of the musician and their connection to their source of inspiration. It’s a kind of vivid truth coming through the soundwaves that just resonates with their source and their passion. And it can be all kinds of music. I see it with gospel music, you see people literally listening into another dimension. It’s when music lifts you so high and this can happen in lots of different ways. People like Stevie Nicks, the Fleetwood Mac era. I really like that song Edge of Seventeen, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, in a weird way the Clash, Joy Division. There’s like a billion moments of amazing connections, when you hear something and it changes your life but it also freezes and preserves the moment and the exact emotional connection that you have, so that next time you hear the song, it takes you slam back into that moment.

A song you wish you’d written?
Johnny Cash – 'Hurt' 
Rarely are cover versions better than the original. For some reason when Johnny Cash did it, it’s a billion times more emotional. He connected to the music in such a way, the song resonated with so many things in his life. He made an emotional connection, and when he sings the song, I well up when I hear it. It’s the most emotional performance of a song – bar none. It’s a masterpiece.

A song lyric that inspires you?
There’s this Sparklehorse lyric, and I know I’m going on about Sparklehorse, but he says:
‘Sleep in the fire
With snakes I have sired…
I drink my liquor from the palm
Of a child who spoke in tongues
And smelled like sun .’

I love it, it’s just the most beautiful poem.

A songwriter you admire?
Beck – 'Loser' 
The first time I heard Loser, I was living in LA in-between leaving the Fall and re-joining. I remember hearing it and thinking, ‘what the hell is this?’ It’s such a brilliant collage of genres in one song and it just so typifies the whole slacker, grungy, skater, California/Mexico influenced rock, singer-songwriter all at once. We’ve all felt like losers at one stage, and Beck tapped into one of the most core feelings. There’s so much going on, it’s so creative and free in terms of writing, production and influence that it was un-genrefiable.

Brix and The Extricated - 'Prime Numbers'

Brix & The Extricated | Valentino (2018)

100 Club Stories