Data Romance Talk "Spark", Upcoming Album, What Dubstep Means, and More
Mon, 28 Nov 2011 08:00:53
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Data Romance exist in a space all their own.
Amidst an electronic scene flooded with imitators and a pop world suffocated by sheen, the duo makes darkly beautiful music that's utterly undeniable. They don't fit in, but they don't have to. There's a maverick sensibility to the glitched-out bliss of "Spark" that says "Fuck you", while spreading an honest love. Think of a heavier M83 playing a 1940's film noir set in space, and you've got somewhat of an idea of what Data Romance sounds like. However, they're even better than that…
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino, Ajay Bhattacharyya and Amy Kirkpatrick of Data Romance talks "Spark", what dubstep is, their forthcoming full-length, and more…
What's the story behind "Spark"?
Amy: I actually wrote the lyrics a year before it was recorded. It's kind of about being left with almost absolutely nothing and having this "spark" in you to keep going. Someone phrased it really well. It's like, "When you have nothing to lose, you're dangerous" or something to that extent. That's pretty much what it's about.
Ajay: It started off as just a demo with Amy and her piano. Then, I took the vocals and built the song around it. That's the opposite way of how we usually do things. I typically start with instrumentals and then she puts vocals on top of that. It's one of the first songs we ever did where we worked backwards. Here, the vocals were on top of piano. The piano had a different chord structure. I treated it like a bit of a remix. I took the acapellas and built something completely different around it.
How interconnected are the music and lyrics?
Amy: I'll always have lyrics on the backburner, while Ajay is writing beats I'm at home writing lyrics through whatever's going on in life or around me. Sometimes, I'll hear a song that he sends me and I'll think, "It sounds like this feeling, this place, this time of day, or whatever it is". Then I connect the two. If I have lyrics that match up to the song, then it can start that way.
Is it a matter of waiting for inspiration to strike?
Amy: We've been trying to write in bulk lately [Laughs]. The last two weeks we've been writing nonstop. You can't always call up inspiration when you want it. We definitely have our separate 4am writing sessions where we can't help but write because an idea comes to us. For the last couple of weeks, we've been really trying to sit together and even start from scratch on a couple songs and work form there. The general core of where we come from creatively is slightly different.
Ajay: Yeah, I think we're really different in a lot of ways and that's what works. It's fun getting together and writing stuff from scratch, but I don't think we'd be able to do what we do without being separate in some cases. We both can respect and appreciate what the other person values in the song or is trying to get out of it, but we can cover different things. I obviously wouldn't be as concerned with the lyrics as Amy would be, and she wouldn't be as concerned with the exact drum pattern or feel of the song in terms of what I relate it to genre-wise. It balances out really well.
How did the video come about?
Ajay: We went down to Los Angeles for a weekend where our label is based. We worked with a director named Lauren Graham who had a pretty clear vision of what she wanted. A lot happened in a short amount of time. We walked around a ton of places and got through a lot of shots.
Amy: The video definitely came from Lauren and we wanted to follow through. We had our conversations about the meaning, style, and the coloring. We stayed true to Lauren's idea and vision though.
Is "Spark" indicative of where you'll go next musically?
Ajay: It's funny. We wrote that back in July which seems like a long time ago to us now. I would say it's probably the most modern dubstep North American DJ-influenced stuff we'll ever do. It's very energetic and loud.
Amy: It's very full!
Ajay: In more ways than one, it's a layered interpretation of our sound.
Ajay: We're working on an album right now and we're experimenting with stripping down and even minimalizing a lot of stuff. We're stripping layers away and getting our own sound going throughout the album.
Are you delving into the darker side of things with the album?
Amy: We definitely are!
Ajay: 100 percent…we're not even trying to aim for it, we're just doing it.
Amy: We're writing in November. We wrote in November last year, and the songs that come from this time of year seem to be a lot more honest and dark. That's not to say if we wrote in the summer, we'd write this happy pop album. We have no rules. We're going to see what works.
What are you listening to right now?
Amy: I'm addicted to Florence + the Machine right now. I just got Ceremonials on vinyl yesterday!
Ajay: I think what I'm listening to is going to be more indicative of how our new music is going to sound. It's interesting. I've been really mulling over what dubstep means recently, what it's become and where it started. I've been getting into a lot darker and more minimalist style. I've been on this Holy Other dude whose amazing. Then there's the new James Blake EP. Emika just released her debut on Ninja Tune. I actually picked up the first Burial record. I'm also listening to Anstam. It's like Aphex Twin but at night and half-time. So, I'm listening to a lot of really minimal but intense music.
Have you heard Data Romance yet?
See the premiere of the music video for "Spark" here!