A Quirky Take On the French Horn Built on Brotherly Love
Words and Interview by Laura Smith. Photo by Dirty Souf Yankee.
Since releasing their operatic-dance opus album last year, The Infinite Music of French Horn Rebellion, this sibling duo has been busy churning out remixes, producing singles and introducing the country to their “next-jack sound”. The self-described band geeks from Milwaukee, David and Robert Perlick-Molinari have carved a place for themselves within Brooklyn’s thriving dance music scene, with their own blend of electro-synth neo-disco. With a rotating cast of musical collaborators, they’ve teamed up with the likes of JPatt from The Knocks, Brazilian electro duo Database, Fat Tony and R&B legend Jody Watley to release a series of singles that demand to make people move. A combination of classical music training and production skills combust to form an experimental duo who are content creating their own genre along the way.
Tell me about the new Love is Dangerous EP and working with Jody Watley?
Robert: Well there are a lot of collaborations on that one. We wanted it to be a community thing. We’ve toured a lot and [had] gotten to know a lot of good musicians, so we had this idea to get a bunch of cool kids together as part of a band, making it like band geeks gone wild. It’s like an international orchestra with people from Toronto, China and Los Angeles. That’s why we have all these guest vocalists.
With the “Poster Girl” and the Love Is Dangerous EP under your belt, do you plan on releasing more EP’s before working on a new full-length album?
Robert: We’re going to be releasing these singles: two songs, two remixes for the next 9 months or so.
David: The nature of who we are, being independent and with limited resources, we decided the best way to go about releasing these things is one song at a time and really communicating the concepts of what each song as they come about. “Love is Dangerous” is a fanciful idea about taking love as an extreme sport.
Robert: Love is like the X-Games, and “Cold Enough” is about Milwaukee, where we’re from, so you have to dance to stay warm.
David: That’s why we like singles, cause we’re flying by the seat of our pants. We can be inspired by something right this instant and we can get it out right this instant. It’s all very relevant, this is what we’re into now.
Robert: The biggest thing about this release is the new style we’re concocting. That’s why we did Love is Dangerous first, it’s the poster child for this “next jack swing style,” which is like… [begins beat-boxing]
David: It’s like traditional “new jack swing”. We’ve found after doing a lot of these new disco remixes, this is really fun but the next step is to make it slower and slightly more swing.
What do you make of the disco renaissance that’s been going on for the past couple of years?
David: Well, we’ve always loved disco, we started doing disco. We knew we wanted to make music that was fun, classical, up- tempo. A lot of the stuff we were making was quirky rock and then we heard new-disco when we were first touring, and thought let’s make some disco.
Robert: The rhythm is so much fun, the instrumental arrangements and the flourishes. Somehow it’s cool, when you put in just the right thick beat, and how the kick and snare really hits you hard and slaps you across the face. Because of the technology that’s available now that allows you to program various instruments and they way they hit on the beat so tight, you can’t play it like this. That’s why a lot of this stuff is coming out now.
Do you enjoy the freedom of the dance music format, is that what draws you to it?
Robert: It’s a genre where, if it’s funky and fun and it makes you move, then you can do almost anything. I like music that makes me want to dance, or physically move me, as well as emotionally and spiritually… [laughs]
What direction do you see dance music heading in 2013 and where do you fit into that?
David: I think I know what’s going to be big next year. It will probably be a version of dub-step that’s more like hip-hop music but without the rapper, called “Trap Music.” But that’s not what we’re about, we’re trying to carve our own sound and not something that will necessarily fit into a trend. When you first start working with industry people, they’re just trying to sell your stuff and they want to package it. We’ve found that always backfires. We found initial success by telling our story of French Horn Rebellion, the story about being band kids and just some people from Milwaukee that play their instruments and didn’t want to play Beethoven anymore cause they wanted to make something more fun.
You mentioned before about being more conscious of the visual elements of your performances, whether that’s styling or music video concepts.
David: The core influences musically were a lot of ’60s pop music and the early ’90s production of new jack swing, funk and Michael Jackson. We started with that, and thought, what if you put Marlon Brando up against Wreckx-N-Effect basically.
Inquiring minds want to know, any French Horn on the new tracks being released?
Robert: On the end of “Cold Enough,” there’s a huge French horn solo. On the live show, we’ve been incorporating more French horn, as much as we can get. “Poster Girl” has a great horn solo, you know cause it’s French Horn Rebellion so there has to be plenty of French horn solos.