Hello Dani and Rico! It’s so good to have the chance to touch base with you about your enticing and lively synth-pop/electronic music and upcoming debut album, Wrapped In Air, which will be delivered September 23rd on Mouthwatering Records. How would you describe your sound?
Dani: Our sound is like the crackle in the air when two people meet. Even if the surface is super-cool, you still feel that there’s something very emotional beneath it all.
How did you decide on your name, TRUE?
Rico: Whoever of us comes up with a song or an idea usually instantly has words that go along with the melody, and the two belong together, naturally. When we listen back to the sketches, we try to figure out what the song is about and we fill in the gaps accordingly. So it feels like we’re making something up, or completing an unfinished song that somebody else has written. With our first songs, we realized after a while that they all came true, in one way or another. It’s no surprise, when you think about it, that the things that surface, when you don’t think at all, but just go with the music, come from a place deep down inside you, and that place knows or feels things before your brain consciously does.
In light of your explanation, what do you think about the idea of authenticity in music and this whole aesthetic of “keeping it real”? Is it still possible to hold up to standards of integrity in 2016?
Rico: To me it is. But what is real and what is true? To me it’s not about hard facts, it’s more something that you can feel. For us, it’s mainly about staying true to the music we love and want to create, which isn’t always easy, because it’s usually not what sells best. So music can be made up completely and sound very artificial and still be totally real. We like to play around with that.
From what I understand, you’re both jazz musicians. Would that be correct?
Rico: No, we’re musicians.
How did you both end up making pop-oriented music?
Dani: Jazz is just too complicated; all these chords confuse us – haha.
Do you get any guff for that from the jazz crowd? For making the change from jazz to pop, that is.
Rico: That’s what I expected, but all our friends who we have played jazz with, and still do by the way, were extremely positive and supportive, and we really, really appreciate that! It also shows that these worlds are not as far apart as many people think, at least not for musicians.
This record in some ways was written as a correspondence between the two of you. Rico, you were in NYC for quite a while, and Dani you were in Zurich, right? How did this style of writing affect the sound and feeling of the final recordings?
Rico: Not too much, actually. I normally live in Bern, Switzerland, which is an hour away from Zurich, but sometimes it feels almost as far as New York. Mainly because we both have quite busy schedules.
Dani: For me it did not feel so easy. I could hear some new influences in Rico’s compositions. On one track I thought, “Oh my God, What kind of style is that?” But when he came back, he told me about his experiences and what inspired him; most of the things I could understand well and sing about with my own interpretation.
Once you were done with the writing, you only had a few days to record everything else. How did that pressure and immediacy add to the sound?
Rico: Yes, again that’s because it always takes quite an effort to find time when we’re both free and can work together. And also because we set a deadline together with our label Mouthwatering Records. And we all know how often the first idea is the best one, and how finishing something can be very hard. But when you know it’s 8 a.m. and you have to meet the engineer at noon to mix the finished song, you just have to make radical decisions, which is great.
Dani: Right, it becomes a higher urgency to decide what’s really relevant for the song.
And tell me about all the talented Brooklynite musicians Antoine Katz, Sean Smith, and Walter Fancourt who spiced up the arrangements with bass, trumpet, and tenor sax, respectively.
Rico: I met them after their show at Brooklyn Night Bazaar with Reptar and loved their way of playing horns in pop music. They sound like synth horns almost, but of course better. We arranged and recorded the horns last summer in these warehouses in Bushwick, with an incredible view of the Manhattan skyline. One of my favorite New York moments ever!
Could you imagine moving TRUE to Brooklyn at some point?
Maybe if you win some holiday tickets?
Dani: Yeah once we win those, we’ll come to Brooklyn!
Rico: That’s also the title of our new single. Probably our lightest song so far. We love it, to be honest!
So, what’s on the menu now, in preparation of the album’s release?
Rico: We just shot a video for “Holiday Tickets” and are working on the live versions of the new songs, which is a bit of a challenge. But we just added a great bass player to our live band, so now there are three of us on stage and we’re really looking forward to playing live!