L: The music industry is fascinating. I believe it is one of the truest embodiments of the American dream. In terms of its evolution, I think that as automation continues to replace people as workers, our society is going to shift towards a media-based economy. Music (and art in general) is one of the only mass-produced commodities that is often better the more unique it is. Even if AI and robots do start composing as well as human beings, there will always be a desire for human voices and creations. So, especially as the tools become more accessible, more and more people from more and more backgrounds are going to seriously make music, which can only serve to elevate the standard of what music is and can be.
A: I think that the digital music landscape needs to recreate the brick-and-mortar record store a little better. Spotify doesn’t always reward cult followings. $7 of my $10 is still being handed out to the artists that gather the most streams overall, even though I didn’t listen to any of them that month. I want to be able to open up a streaming program and “tip” artists I like. I want to be able to search for artists by city or region, not just by genre, so I can check out local scenes across the world. Genres are a waste of time these days — I’d like to stop creating boxes and categories in which to shove multifaceted bands.
We as a people need to be conscious consumers of media. Don’t get stuck in a hole listening to only the music that makes you comfortable. It’s a never-ending cycle. Haven’t you ever been on Spotify with millions and millions of songs at your fingertips, wondering how you somehow got bored of all of them? You didn’t. You’ve just been caught in the cycle. I bring up the record store analogy, because at least at the record store, you can easily be confronted with something unknown. On the internet, you have to force yourself to check out the unknown — you have to break free of being served the same meal day after day.
OKP: What are some things that you’ve learned about yourself that comes out in your music?
L: We get bored really easily. It’s hard for us to perform a piece the same every time we do it, and even if we’ve written a piece we love, we will inevitably change it at some point. For example, our EP was recorded roughly a year ago, and almost all of those songs have morphed and sound different now.
A: Our personal setup prompted us to create very active songs. At the end of the day, I think we discovered that we want people to pay attention to us without them losing focus. We want the audience to be latched on to our performances. We’re still figuring out how to tastefully create this urgency. We’re not always so tasteful. But I think that’s why we have so much fun. Being tasteful can be quite dull sometimes. We try not to be too serious.
OKP: What were some moments from your recent travels that will forever stick with you? Why?
L: I went on tour with a band in Europe recently and there were a few small personal tragedies, one of which was my keyboard breaking just before one of our shows. What shocked me most was how kind people in the industry were to me. I wasn’t playing with a famous band with a serious following or anything, but everyone was so kind. I remember there was a point when I was renting a replacement keyboard I kept thinking it was too easy, and the guy I was renting from was being too nice and I’m suddenly thinking that I was going to get robbed or something when I went to pick it up. I wasn’t — people were just nice! I want to go back to Europe with Trap Rabbit ASAP.
OKP: What was the first song that you ever wrote entitled? Can you talk about what it has come to symbolize since you’ve entered into the professional life?
A: The first song we ever wrote is entitled “R U Real” which is coincidentally on our EP. The mere fact that we still play this song (although it’s become kind of a fan favorite) is a testament to how much we like to work on our songs. They’re never really “done.” I think some artists frown upon not walking away from finished projects, but we’ve been tinkering with “R U Real” since we wrote it, and even when we perform it now, it’s already a little different than the version on the EP.
OKP: How can your music speak truth to power in an age where people are so quickly digesting sounds and disposing of artists in a nanosecond?
L: Power seeks to standardize us, turn us into numbers, and make us dull and quiet so that we work for it without protest. Our music, I hope, makes you feel raw emotion. It is not standard, and it certainly is not quiet. It’s also kind of hard to digest so quickly. “Empress” is based off of an individual that is, objectively, evil. But we aren’t trying to condone her actions. Rather, we want the listener to experience what I might feel like to be in her shoes — to feel strong, strange, multifaceted, and maybe even morally questionable emotions. Our music is meant to inspire people towards powerful feelings and idiosyncrasy.
A: In an age where attention spans are at an all-time low, we’re pretty much just hoping that we sound different enough to capture anyone for more than 10 seconds.
OKP: Collaboration is uniquely a key to the success of certain creative individuals who wish to change the game. Who would you want to work with this year going into the next and why?
L: We had a show opening for Taylor McFerrin recently, and he seemed to really like our sound. He’s a busy dude, so it’s unlikely for us to work together any time soon, but I would love to work with him at some point in our career. His music has been super inspirational. Plus, he’s the reason I know who Hiatus Kaiyote is.
A: I’ve always wanted to add a bass player to our mix, even on a song-by-song basis. Who, you ask? I don’t know. Nobody famous, yet. We’re still picking through the endless talent in Philadelphia.
OKP: Can you break down the inspiration behind a song that you created but never put out?
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