The Okayplayer Interview: Robin Hannibal + Coco O. Are Quadron
The emotionally-driven future soul of Danish duo Quadron makes a return with their impending LP Avalanche, on Vested In Culture/Epic Records. The new album follows the success of their self-titled 2010 debut and a subsequent move to Los Angeles to pursue their sound outside of the more limited confines of producer Robin Hannibal’s Copenhagen bedroom, where they first began recording. Driven by the infectious lead single, “Hey Love,” Quadron’s latest project proves that they are in no way enslaved by their sound, though they retain a fierce dedication to it – a trait also exemplified by the sonically deviant side projects that Coco O. and Robin Hannibal have lent themselves to, including Rhye and Boom Clap Bachelors. As much a pair of risk-takers as they are unabashed purists, the duo remains rooted in the deep bass and melodic gilding that framed Coco’s 90s r&b-inspired vocal so perfectly on their cinematically driven debut – an acutely unique project that went on to garner a cult following and widespread critical acclaim. Committed to creating good music above all else, they return with a release that stands to fulfill that promise as they build upon the lush production at the core of their aesthetic. As the June 4th release date approaches, Quadron drops a bit of insight on sound and a hint of what’s to come.
Okayplayer: How did Quadron come to exist? Please talk a bit about how you met and began making music.
Coco O: We met in Copenhagen, Denmark where both of us are from. A mutual friend introduced us at a record store Robin used to manage. We became friends and most importantly we became music partners by working slowly on different songs and different projects. Then suddenly we had some material that sounded like something else, so we decided to form a group and put it out.
OKP: Do you ever disagree on the direction of your sound? How do you resolve creative differences?
Robin Hannibal: Yes, but I think the overall direction is always there. Most of the time it’s the smaller things. We’re both so passionate about this project and the songs and everything in it. Sometimes you get emotionally attached to different parts of the song. You don’t always see the final composition the same way to begin with. But I do feel the songs that end up being the best ones are the ones where we had the same vision or the same direction. I think we also learn a lot from disagreeing. We learn a lot from hearing other people’s viewpoints. I think we both appreciate each other’s opinions a lot. I feel like we’ve come to an understanding. We try out any ideas one of us has to see if it works or not, because we trust each other’s taste. Then, also if it’s not your idea but it’s the best of the ideas, we’re both good at saying “That idea was better.”
CO: I think it’s very normal to disagree in all relationships, but it’s getting to be that we share the same taste more and more these days. So, it’s getting easier.
OKP: It has been 4 years since your self-titled debut. How do you feel about the Quadron LP, looking back on it?
CO: I really still love it. I’ve been touring with these songs. When we made these songs it was very important for us that the music had more to it. To have interesting melodies. For it to be interesting to us for a longer period of time. I think we really succeeded in that since I’m not tired of the songs yet. I still really enjoy performing them and sometimes if somebody’s playing our album I get excited, like “Oh, that sounds really, really good.”
RH: Sometimes I’m really impressed when I hear it. I think, “Did we do that 4 years ago? It sounds really, really good!” I think that if you really put in the work, you’re thinking about the longevity of it while you make it, and make sure you put everything into it, then it’s at least possible that it’ll stand the test of time. That it can be something that you’ll appreciate further down the line because you kept working on it, you kept honing it, you kept reciting it. That’s also how I feel about this new album that we worked on for several years. We picked the very best songs that we both really felt attached to – the ones we felt really succeeded in conveying the vision that we had for it, and we put everything into it. We revised them so many times. They’ve gone through so many different processes and rewrites and rearrangements and re-recordings and everything. When you’re doing it sometimes you feel like it’s so much work and so bothersome, but it’s really worth it once you’re done.
CO: Yeah. Hard work pays off.
OKP: Would you have done anything differently? If so, what?
CO: Of course. I feel there’s a bunch of things I could have done different, but I think that’s also the value in it. That you did it. You did exactly that. It’s there. It happened at that time for those reasons. Now, when I hear the vocals I’ll be like “I could have done a bit more here or there”, but I also just love it for what it is. I think it has great value and you can always change stuff, but sometimes I think it’s more of an art not to (do that) and just accept it for what it is.
OKP: Did you expect the record to be so well received when you were working on it? What do you think made it so special?