Your upcoming album ‘Rite Of Passage’ has themes around how young people are adapting to the world from past generations, is there a personal favourite track you wrote?
Allison: Parents are supposed to say they love their children equally. But of course, this changes with different contexts and with the passing of time. On stage, my favourite song to perform is Observation because it has a really great energy when we play in clubs or venues with big sound systems. But objectively, I’d say my favourite track is Apotheosis. I think we really managed to capture the feeling of existential dread a lot of young people are feeling about the climate and politics. It’s really devastating. If I concentrate on the lyrics while I’m listening, it brings me to tears.
Audio and visuals play a big part in your sound and performance, would you say this is a big consideration in your songwriting and how they fit?
Bec: With music being our focus, audio is of course at the core of what we do. More than songwriting, I’d use the word ‘composing’ to describe how we make music. Because sometimes a song lyric or vocal melody will be the starting point, but other times it could just as well be a specific sound or sonic effect. When approaching music as sound instead of song, we really feel the freedom to create a whole world. And that’s where visuals come in handy. The more senses we can serve with our art, the better.
Allison: Following on what Bec said, we’ve always considered the visual element to be an extension of the world-building we try to do in the music.
Are there upcoming shows you can let our readers know about?
Bec: There definitely is an upcoming show that keeps us awake at night. because we can’t stop thinking about it. We’re part of an artist collective called The Platform here in Amsterdam and in a few months we’re going to throw a massive event to celebrate the new collection by fashion house The Nightmare Disorder, as well as playing a big show to celebrate the album. Follow us on IG to be updated first on the date.
What are your musical influences from childhood?
Allison: I’m a bit of an omnivore for music, and I always have been. When I was 10 or 11 I would ride my bike to the local library in my town and borrow all of the newly catalogued CDs and rip them onto my computer. Orchestral film and video game soundtracks were always my favourite, and I think you can hear that influence in my production. Bec is also an omnivore. It actually makes it a bit difficult for us to know how to start projects, because we can’t decide which sound or genre to make because we have such a broad appreciation for styles. But we definitely both share an affinity for the weirder or more left-field kinds of artists.
What do you do when equipment goes on strike?
Allison: Read the manual. Read the manual again. I have all the manuals of my gear saved on my phone in the Books app, so I can just use the ‘search’ function to quickly find solutions to problems. I used to be one of those artists who just dove into a new piece of gear without reading the manual first. But oh my god, just read the f@%king manual. It always saves so much time and frustration down the road.
How do you handle music requests
Allison: We love receiving requests on IG. For collabs, remixes, event ideas, wacky ideas… hit us up on IG. If it’s DJ booking related though, hit up our booker at firstname.lastname@example.org
Is it even possible to argue about musical tastes?
Allison: I can definitely get into arguments about which artist made the best example of a certain aesthetic, goal or idea in my opinion. Or who is responsible, or should take credit for establishing a genre or sound. But other than that, no, I think it’s completely subjective.
Every now and then we get a negative comment on our music videos on Youtube. We actually find it quite funny and we don’t delete them. I can’t argue with that person about their taste, and we can’t expect that everyone will connect with what we make. I definitely don’t connect with every piece of art I see or hear.
Which track would run when you moved into your boxing match?
Bec: Ha! That would be our track ‘Enough’. Playfully intimidating my opponent with the verses, then softly distracting them with the chorus, to them – BAM- punch ‘m right in the face when the beat hits again.
Allison: I’m going to choose 43% Hurt by KAMIXLO. If my opponent walked into the boxing ring to that track I think I would shit myself and run away.
Describes your sound to someone who has never heard it before.
Allison: On this album, we’re using sounds similar to artists like Oneohtrix Point Never, Björk, Arca, SOPHIE, Amnesia Scanner & Lyra Pramuk, but we’re using those sounds to make songs that unfold like one big story, like a kind of opera or music theatre piece.
Do you have any good tour stories from clubs or festivals?
Allison: We played in Italy for the first time this summer at a small festival in Genova. We were booked to play on an outside stage, unfortunately during a heatwave. One of our stroboscopes actually started to melt in the sun, so we had to get our bed sheets from the hotel and cover our equipment with them until the show started. Other artists arrived at the stage to soundcheck, and it must have looked to them like our show was some sort of elaborate performance featuring a blanket fort.
Bec: We have a funny DJ gig story. We were booked to DJ a hyperpop party here in Amsterdam at Kanaal40, and we made the mistake of forgetting a second USB stick. Thank god Amsterdam is such a small city, I was able to go home and get it and make it back in time for our set. I have never cycled so fast in my life.
What would you do if you weren’t a musician?
Allison: I’d probably have a job working with technology in some way. I’m a massive nerd with music technology, so if I wasn’t making music I’d probably be working with film, photo or animation software or something.
Bec: I would make rugs and wall tapestries, all with a single needle by hand. I actually really love doing that kind of repetitive manual work. It’s so meditative and rewarding. I guess our home wouldn’t be filled with musical gear then, but covered in wool fluff then.
Which style of music should have the most followers? And why?
Allison: Haha I’m definitely not an authority on telling people what they should like. I think one of the coolest things about being an experimental artist is that it gives you a really open mind and lets you appreciate the beauty in places where it’s not commonly seen. But just because we appreciate weird and odd things doesn’t mean we don’t also appreciate things in the mainstream too. I’m a huge Max Martin fan for instance. People should be able to like whatever they want.
Though, I would say I miss the days of non-algorithmically assisted music discovery. I always enjoyed the searching phase, where you opened your mind to possibilities and tried listening to lots of different styles to see what resonated with you. The new algorithms can’t surprise us, they can only reinforce our previous listening behaviour. I think that’s a pity. There’s so many different ways emotions can be expressed with music. If you’re going through something in your life, there’s so many different genres and expressions of music that can touch you deeply if you’re open to it.
What is the most important musical equipment invention of all time – and why?
Allison: Objectively? Probably the djembe. We all owe so much of our understanding and use of rhythm in modern music to the African diaspora.
What would you advise to become a professional?
Bec: Art comes first, hustle second. Make stuff you can’t find an example of, but you wish existed. And be disciplined, so you can let your mind run freely when it’s time to be creative.
Allison: Release your music. Don’t just leave it on your hard drive to rot forever. Put yourself out there. Don’t be an asshole. Email everyone, and if they don’t respond the first time, send a reminder. Define what success means to you, and then forget the rest.