Toine's Music Dealers Artist Spotlight - a&r - Day 4 of 5 (Interview)Posted on Thursday, December 9th, 2010
1. Where does the story of what is now “a&r” begin? How far back do you guys go?
Rocko-The band actually kinda was a fluke. Our drummer from the band we were in a few years back, “Welcome to Cambridge” (Chris Solano who is currently with “The Crown & Two Chairmen”) was away on a photo shoot in Europe and the band was on a break. Alex emailed me one day and told me that he had been experimenting within the pop genre and had produced a beat or two. I wrote lyrics to them and we recorded for fun, only to find out later in playing the songs for friends, that it was actually really good and that we should pursue the project. So after the band broke up a few months later we figured “why the hell not”.
Alex-This project has been particularly fun because electronic music is completely different from any kind of music we have made in the past. The sheer number of sounds you can make via synthesizers and drum machines and possibilities of where you can take a song are like no other genre.
2. Recently you made the move from Chicago to NYC. Can you give some insight into what was behind that move? How has NYC been treating you and do you both now prefer NYC pizza or still like Chicago Deep Dish?
Alex-New York is New York. Everybody needs to live here at some point. We were very fortunate to accomplish as much as we did in Chicago and when the timing was right and we had a chance to move to New York, we took it. It’s a thousand times more competitive here, but we feel that we have a different and unique enough sound that given the proper exposure, we could be something bigger than we ever could have been in Chicago. We love Chicago, don’t get us wrong, it’s still home as far as we are concerned, but you have to take opportunities as they come. We’re very excited to see what this city has in store for us.
Rocko-Yeah it’s a move that needed to happen. If you think of all the really successful musicians that are from Chicago or the greater Chicagoland area, pretty much all of them left to ACTUALLY make it. Chicago is a great city and it will always be home, but if you want to be in the entertainment industry you need to move to either NY or LA and NY is just a more convenient city. That and it’s so full of inspiration that, whatever your craft, you can only get better at it living here.
A&R - Oh, and Chicago pizza all the way. Thin little wimpy New York pizza can’t compete with Giordano’s or Lou Malnati’s… mmmmmm pounds of cheese and meat
3. Though you are pretty much thought of as a band with an electro pop sound, but there seems to be a hint of other genres that resonates from your music. Do you feel that there is more to the music than just the electro pop you get on the surface?
Rocko-We pretty much “live music” everyday. We keep each other posted on new acts that we find via blogs or through friends so that we are current with our music knowledge while also listening to artists that paved the way for and influenced our sound like Hall & Oates, Elton John or Depeche Mode. Hopefully that comes across in our music. You know… being so depressed that you dance. I’m kidding
4. If you could choose to have your music featured in any television show(s) which would be your top 5.
1. Gossip Girl
2. True Blood ( “Prey on my Skin”)
4. Skins (mtv’s new show)
5. Oh and the VMA’s
5. What would you say to music supervisors and/or ad agencies that may be looking for music for their project that would get them to use a&r’s music for their show/film or ad?
Rocko-We have been told since day one that our music is very visceral. It has a very “visual sound” and gives people the feeling that it is “the soundtrack to their lives”. That being said I would say that our music would definitely enhance whatever ad or scene it would be placed in.
6. What albums/artist are you two really digging right now?
• Gypsy & the Cat - Gilgamesh
• Tame Impala – Innerspeaker
• Teen Daze – Beach Dreams
• Bag Raiders – Bag Raiders • Tesla Boy – Modern Thrills • Dragonette - Fixin To Thrill
• Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
• Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
• Scissor Sister-Night Work
7. Can you describe your creative process? Do most of your songs come from life experiences that you simply put to paper then record, or is it more an organic thing where you come up with ideas from jam sessions and then build a song from there?
Alex-I always start with a simple chord progression and work other patterns and instruments around that. Then the beat is added in, then bass (real bass whenever possible) and then guitars. It’s actually kind of strange since I was primarily a guitar player, but guitar is usually the last thing I add to a song.
Rocko- The lyrics are all life experiences or thoughts that I have or are derived from conversations I have with people. It’s really fun trying to relay someone else’s life situation or thoughts into song through your own words.
8. What can fans expect from a&r in 2011?
a&r EP #2, tentatively called “Aquarium”, will be out in early 2011 and hopefully we will be going on tour to support the EP. If you know any bands going on tour that want a pretty amazing opening act let us know. *emoticon winky face*
9. How can fans keep up with you guys?
10. Parting words??
a&r – A lot of people ask us, a&r, you're a giant superstar. You can get any woman. Have you ever paid for sex?' And the answer is yes, I have. Several times, in fact. And it's actually kinda cool. You can negotiate practically anything and sometimes, even just kind of do stuff in the moment that you never agreed to pay for and it goes by without much argument. (actually a Kenny Powers quote from east bound and down, but still pretty amazing!) Thanks Music Dealers!