Interview: Quadron Talk Touring With Mayer Hawthorne, "Avalanche", and More
Fri, 10 Jan 2014 08:34:49
Quadron's Avalanche immediately enchants. It's an enigmatic combination of smoky soulful singing, futuristic jazz grooves, and R&B infectiousness. The Copenhagen duo of Coco O. and Robin Braun manage to masterfully bring it to life on stage as well. That's also what they'll be doing all winter when they hit the road supporting Mayer Hawthorne.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Coco O. of Quadron discusses the pair's live show, the stories behind Avalanche, her biggest inspirations, and so much more.
What's the process like of bringing the Avalanche songs to the stage?
Well, I think when we wrote this album, we had live performances in mind because the first album was a little difficult for me to transfer into a live performance. We wrote these songs with the live shows in mind. It actually wasn't that difficult because most of the instruments we have on the album were all recorded live. So, there aren't so many tricks to it. The only thing is all of the horns and strings I can't afford to bring on the road with me. We have those on tracks mostly, and I have musicians playing the rest.
What songs tend to get the most energy out of the crowd?
It's a little bit different depending on where I go. If I'm in Europe, especially Denmark, "Hey Love" was a major hit so that one almost makes the room lift when I play it. In the states, it's probably "LFT" and "Favorite Star".
Were you surprised by any of the "Hey Love" remixes?
I think it's always fun to hear someone else's take on your music. I was impressed with how different they came out. They're banging suddenly! Robin and I were both really impressed. We always welcome any kind of creative take on our music.
Does it give you a different perspective on the music?
Yeah, it's true. It's funny to hear what other people pick out and focus on because they all had a different focus. It's fun for us to hear.
What does "Hey Love" mean to you?
It's a personal song, and it's one of the last songs we did. I wanted it to put a stamp on empathizing with what the rest of the album is about. I never had a boyfriend until I was 25-years-old. When I wrote this album, I was still in my desperation. With "Hey Love", I was at the point where I was addressing love itself and not blaming all of these guys who didn't want me anymore [Laughs]. It was a little aggressive. It's an awareness song for love like, "Hey Love, I'm still here, searching".
Where did "Avalanche" and "Something That You Like" come from?
For "Something That You Like", we wanted to do something that was really nineties R&B. We're both huge fans. "Something That You Like" reminds me of a lot of Mariah Carey's music because she always almost has hip-hop beats. Then, she sings with her sensual voice on top of that. "Something That You Like" has a hard drive to it. We played it for some of our label people, and they were nodding their heads [Laughs]. It's dark, but the chorus sounds like nineties Mariah Carey. I know her voice is insane, but I feel like her [Laughs]. "Avalanche" is a song that means a lot to me and Robin. It's a different take on Quadron. It's a little bit more indie, I'd say. It doesn't have the soul beat or groove to it that we normally have in our songs. It's a little more poetic. I really love that song. I did a performance with just piano, and I love doing it like that. It's very emotional to me.
What artists shaped you?
I'm still so attached to the artists I grew up with. I listen to them to this day. I have a hard time moving on. I adore Sade. I love her, because her music moves me so deep in my heart. A lot of people get surprised when I say George Michael. I think he was bigger in Europe with his later albums. In the States, maybe a lot of people think of Wham! My mom was a huge George Michael fan, especially the album Older. It's my favorite. Michael Jackson is my hero, and he's always been my hero. I'd say Marvin Gaye, Lauryn Hill, and Jill Scott. I was really into the new soul thing when I was a teen. I was very inspired by a lot of those artists. There are so many powerful singers.
There's a soul element in Quadron.
I can only try. I hope so. Back then, it was a little more focused on the actual voices. I feel like now there's more focus on the beats. Sometimes, I miss having a vocalist like Mariah Carey or Lauryn Hill. I wish there would be more of them.
It always comes back around.
It does. I think last year was a really good year for soul, and I hope there's more.
What inspires you outside of music? Do you tend to read a lot or watch many movies?
Well, I think it's important to listen to a lot of different music because it's always really inspiring to hear how someone else does it. I also listen to genres outside of my comfort zone. I started to listen to old country and folk music, and I think that's super inspiring. I like Johnny Cash. I'm a huge fan of him as well as older folk music. I like indie music like Bon Iver and Beach House. I also get very inspired by going to shows. That gives me a drive. When I go to other people's concerts, either I feel happy about what I do or I'm like, "I really want to be on that stage doing that thing!" I think that's a very important feeling because if you want to be there, it makes you work even harder to get there. Watching movies is a really good thing for stories. Sometimes, it's difficult to figure out where the inspiration comes from. Everything in life can inspire you if you're open to it.
Have you already started working on the next record?
We're talking about it. We haven't gotten to it yet. We've been traveling so much it's been hard to sit down and talk about doing it. Robin and I spend a lot of time talking about the process to figure out what we want to do and what the goals of this next project will be. We still need to do that, but we need to have conversations about that.
What's next for you?
There's a video for "Favorite Star" in the process. Besides touring and writing, I'd like to do more music videos. I love making music videos. There's so much to do I don't even know where to start.
Upcoming Tour Dates with Mayer Hawthorne
1/30 San Diego, CA House of Blues
1/31 Los Angeles, CA Palladium
2/1 Oakland, CA Fox Theatre
2/3 Seattle, WA Neumos
2/4 Portland, OR Wonder Ballroom
2/7 Phoenix, AZ Marquee Theatre
2/8 Las Vegas, NV Vinyl
2/10 Denver, CO Ogden Theatre
2/11 Aspen, CO Belly Up
2/13 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
2/14 Chicago, IL Park West
2/15 Cincinnati, OH Madison Theatre
2/16 Indianapolis, IN The Vogue
2/18 Lawrence, KS Granada Theatre
2/19 St. Louis, MO Pageant
2/21 Nashville, TN Cannery Ballroom
2/22 Atlanta, GA Centerstage
2/23 Charlotte, NC Amos Southend
2/24 Charlotte, SC Music Farm
2/27 New York, NY Webster Hall
2/28 Brooklyn, NY Warsaw
3/1 Boston, MA House of Blues
3/3 Washington, D.C. 9:30 Club
3/6 Detroit, MI Garden Theater
Find tickets and more at QuadronMusic.com
Have you heard Quadron yet?
Watch the Video for "Hey Love" Below