“I wrote an album that I loved, then grew to hate, then learned to re-love again.”


Having been compared to the likes Kate Bush, St Vincent and Goldfrapp, artpop artist LIJO shines her light on the concept of identity and image.


Are we all personas? On a small scale, we all are the main characters of our own little shows. On a bigger one we act like we are the main character in this world. The way we try to alter the perception other people have of us in order to feel a certain way about ourselves is a constant battle between reality and make-belief. LIJO addresses this and its consequences, but then decorates it with a sense of lightheartedness and danceability, flowing melodies and feverish sounds.


Debut album THE PLEASURES OF SELF DECEPTION, a collection of both catchy and poetic art-pop songs, sets a lush scene for LIJO to casually dance from sarcastic indifference to gnawing doubt and from distant observance to the longing for connection.


Connecting her innate love for the warm sound of acoustic instruments and her fascination for the directness of electronic drums and synths, THE PLEASURES shows LIJO’s broadest picture and deepest soundscape so far - a result sprouting from her collaboration with producer Erwin Tuijl (Pocket Knife Army) who she describes as a "sometimes annoyingly gifted instrumentalist that both understands the musical language, and knows the ins and outs of electronic music like no other. But given all the technical and theoretical knowledge and skill, he has always recognised and put first the heart of the music - what a song is about and what it needs. I think that's the most important trait of a talented producer and it really made me feel at ease during the whole process of producing and recording the songs together."


Being recorded in 2020, the road towards releasing the album has been a bit of a bumpy one.


LIJO: "I wrote an album that I loved, then grew to hate, then learned to re-love again. Everything about 'The Pleasures' revolves around identity, validation and ego, something I believe that in this day and age, I am not the only one struggling with. Especially with the world on hold at that time, granting me too many moments to over-analyse, I came to struggle with it so much, that I took a break from releasing singles. I had, in a way, fallen into the trap that I describe in the songs on the record. I was so caught up in who I thought I had to be as an artist behind this album that, at a certain point, I felt like a fraud, both artistically and personally. It took time and distance, but eventually, I could see two things: that releasing an album about putting on a show didn't mean that I, as an artist, was a mere pretender; and that I, as a person, am not defined just by the music I put out, which is a collection of stories of a certain period of my life, a momentary state, a temporary truth - but a truth nonetheless, and one I think people recognise."


From the catchy melodies of ‘BEE SUITS' to the feverish trance of ‘LETTING GO’, THE PLEASURES OF SELF DECEPTION is a record in which LIJO never loses sight of the literate songwriting that is one of her most powerful trademarks. Yet her songs are based on such energetic grooves and innovative melodies that despite the earnestness of her message, we're most likely going to dance to its beat.


LIJO’s previous releases have been spinned (inter)nationally by the likes of Kink Radio, 3voor12, Pinguin Radio and WNRI, and shared by blogs like American Pancake (USA), When The Horn Blows (UK), Lluid (NL), Homecooking Share (FR), Tinnitus (CAN) and We Love That Sound (DE). Her latest single ‘Bee Suits’ was added to Spotify’s editorial playlist ‘karakter.’, the Dutch playlist for edgy music.

LIJO's full length debut album, pressed on eco friendly vinyl, and the very first edition of lyric & art zine 'The Record' containing off the record poetry, figments, thoughts and analogue photography behind the songlyrics of The Pleasures Of Self Deception.

For years, Merit Visser a.k.a. LIJO had kept journals in which she scrabbled notes, observations and drawings that more often than not resulted in song lyrics. For a while now, she has collected an online selection of those notes on a secret webpage only accessible for her subscribers. But as her debut album revolves around image, perception and projection, she longed to add something analogue and tangible, showing something very personal and real - and decided to start printing zines to go with her music. 
'The Record - one' is the first edition of this zine.  


'The Record' started as a secret page on LIJO's website, serving as a digital version of her off the record, handwritten journals, that hold many origins to her songs as well as thoughts, poetry, drawings and scraps leading up to those songs. This has grown out to the very first physical edition of the zine 'The Record' which accompanies her album 'The Pleasures Of Self Deception'. 

LIJO about Zine 'The Record'


"During the entire process of creating 'The Pleasures Of Self Deception' there has been one stable factor, and that is the fact that I have always written. I keep journals since I was sixteen, as a kid I wanted to become a writer when I'd grow up, and the lyrics of songs have always been my first love. There are many 'off the record' poems, figments of thoughts, little sketches and analogue photos that sketch a more in-depth picture of the journey towards 'The Pleasures Of Self Deception' and of the actual person behind the artist LIJO. A selection of these 'off the record' fragments is collected in a printed zine called 'The Record'. While the album is all about living up to images and the consequences of that, and the visuals are an exaggeration of that concept, with the zine I want to show what's going on inside and offline, something real and something tangible."