interviewed by Betsy Schuller for Ellis Music Magazine
Your 80’s to present pop and r&b influence is very prominent in your current work, who would you have to say have been your biggest musical influences and why?
Alvin: Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Prince, Earth Wind and Fire. They're legends. Their resumes speak for themselves. All classics. They all had very distinct sounds while appealing to a lot of people.
JM: David Bowie and Prince are two of my big ones. This year was kinda rough for the both us. Like Alvin said, I kinda miss when musicians and pop stars had a more distinct individual sound. It seems we're in a period where a lot of people sound fairly similar.
How do you strive to be different in your art everyday?
Alvin: It's not so much of a thing of "striving to be different" but it's more of a thing of creating honest music that we really feel.
JM: Yeah, the most important thing to us is trying to make something that is distinctly us; something that we can truly stand behind. The more the music is real to us, the more special it feels and it ends up being different just because we're individuals, ya know?
If you had to describe your style and the bands style in one word, what would it be?
In a world where lyrical content is sacrificed to make popular music, how important is lyricism to you when writing new songs? Do you consciously think about it?
JM: Lyrics are super important. Our songs go through drafts and drafts of lyrics. Sometimes there are multiple drafts to make sure that everything is getting to the point of the song. Sometimes the drafts are to make it simpler. I think our goal is to tell stories but we want them to come across like a conversation.
Along with the last question, when you begin to write a song what do you think about? Do you draw from personal experiences, feelings or other things such as books, movies or art?
Alvin: Is there an option D (All of the Above)?
JM: Songs have to be personal. You can tell when a singer doesn't believe what he/she is singing. We are constantly talking about travel and our experiences. Our studio has a ton of art on the walls (Kara Walker posters, Basquiat posters, Rothko, Ashley Longshore). We were also watching a ton of Blade Runner and Twin Peaks while making the EP.
Knowing that you two met at the Jazzfest Gala and are both originally from New Orleans, how would you say you two like to incorporate your roots into your music?
Alvin: Definitely. Our heritage, roots, and culture definitely plays a major part in our sound. Especially, when we try to bring the rhythms of New Orleans but the songs and melodies of someone like Allen Toussaint. Not to mention our love for early Cash Money and Bounce music. The influence isn't always obvious but it's in there.
Both coming from relatively independent backgrounds with music, how is it to have a partner in crime now where you both have similar visions and feelings for the music you make?
Alvin: Two is stronger than one. It makes the creative process much easier. We lean on each other to make it happen.
JM: It's a real blast to have a partner that is literally great at my weaknesses. Alvin has this way of hearing what something should be. His arrangement skills are unreal.
When did you know you wanted to make music for the rest of your life?
Alvin: When I was 5 playing in church. I knew I had fucked up in school and I knew I was gonna get my ass beat when I got home but when I went to rehearsal I forgot about all of that. I remember exactly where I was; on Louisiana Ave in Uptown New Orleans
JM: I was convinced that I was going to play professional baseball when I was young, but then everyone else grew and I didn't. Lol. My old man got me a guitar and told me that in music, it didn't matter how tall you were or if you're dad was the coach of the team. Music became my identity at 10. I could do something that none of my peers could do. It was really liberating.