Three Years, Three Singles...We Asked Why This Aussie Duo Must Tease Us So
Everyone loves Flight Facilities. If you weren’t one of the millions who streamed “Crave You” in 2010, or “Foreign Language” in 2011, you will definitely their dig latest mellow electro-pop offering, “With You.” The duo has basically mastered the art of sonic aphrodiasiacs, sending millions of couples to bed with each launch.
Yes, you love them, you’ve gotten intimate with them, but you hardly know them. The Sydney duo drops but one single a year, hiding behind cartoon avatars and fake places of residence, like Trinidad and Tobago. But we got a chance to talk to them about “With You,” about their favorite YouTube comments, and whether or not there’s an Aussie “scene.”
I like your guys’ style. You drop one track out of the blue every year or couple of months or so, and it garners millions of hits. Is there a method to your madness or was this all one fortunate mistake?
There’s a little bit of method. We’re very stuck on the idea of releasing singles. People are too overwhelmed with choice on albums these days so we’d rather put our, and their, focus onto just one song at a time. In saying that we’d love to have an album but we think our current music model is working for us right now. We also put a huge amount of time and effort into each single so the prospect of an album would put us into a very lengthy hibernation.
“With You” is already picking up steam. Do you think it will have the same traction as your other singles?
We feel as though “Crave You” and “Foreign Language” had a more instant radio appeal, particularly within Australia. “With You” has garnered far more support with the DJ community and places outside Australia. A lot of listeners have been calling it a grower, saying that it becomes more infectious with each listen. But whatever the outcome, we’re really happy with the response, because musicians and friends we look up to and really respect have shown more support for ‘With You’ than any of our previous singles.That pat on the back was all we needed to breathe out and break a smile. We’re really interested to see if radio will budge as a result. If not, we guess it’s on to the next song…
You always – by ‘always’ I mean on your three singles – seem to choose really dynamic vocalists for your tracks. How do you go about finding them? Do you set out with a sound in mind?
Each song usually demands a different style of vocalist. A big part of our music is juxtaposing instrumentals and vocals. It’s also a good idea to have a particularly unique voice. People like to listen to something that doesn’t seem to safe or overused. However, sometimes a song can call for a very basic vocal style. We generally know what kind of voice we’re shooting for with every song, but the hardest part is actually acquiring the voice for it. Luckily with Giselle and Jess we found them in bars on social occasions. It was a simple matter of sharing a love for music. We follow Grovesnor on Twitter and he put out a tweet offering drum lessons and session musician work. We took a gamble and asked if he would be interested to sing. He’s such a lovely person, it took no more than a couple of emails to have a final vocal. We still haven’t met in person which is a pretty good example of how far the music world has come.
I know I shouldn’t, but I always read YouTube comments. Do you ever read the comments on “Crave You” and fear for the future of humanity?
We LOVE reading YouTube comments. The “Crave You” video just has two constant fights:
“That boy is a girl!” & “No you idiot, that boy is a boy”
And of course:
“I love the original” & “Dubstep version is better”
But one of our favourite comments was this:
“I’m 14 and i live in florida. Until now, i don’t have any great achievement in my life. My parent is really disappointed. I want to become a seal and live on north pole. I beg you for your support so i can have motivation to do so, so i can make my mother & father proud of me. I promise i will become a good seal and defeat evil seals to bring peace to this world.”
What that has to do with “Crave You,” we’ll never know. We’re still waiting for a fight about religion to break out.
The Australian scene, at least the exports, have been pigeonholed as pretty dancey, neon, bubbly. Is that sort of ‘scene’ actually palpable?
Somebody pointed out to us recently that there is a huge gap in the market for this kind of music to be commercially successful. A great example is Foster The People’s “Pumped Up Kicks.” It’s an awesome song and the fact that it’s danceable but also “listenable” is a big part of why the song had such longevity. There’s big and heavy dance music, the kind of stuff you don’t want to hear when you’re eating dinner. Then there’s very acoustic or live music, the kind of stuff that isn’t able to fit into a DJ set. We’ve always seen the substantial divide between the two styles but we’ve never viewed it through the eyes of a businessman. It really is an untapped resource. If somebody can wheel it in on the right platform, there’s a big chance for it to become a force to be reckoned with.
Where do you see Australian music headed?
It depends which part you’re looking at. We have some of the greatest artists in the world. Incredible song writers that have spoiled us for choice within our own country. Van She, Cut Copy, The Presets, Gotye, The Bag Raiders, Canyons, Light Year, Midnight Juggernauts, etc. As long as artists like these guys are making music, there’s a huge level of cutting edge music that the rest of the world will happily admit that they are trying to keep up with. But if you’re referring to Australian music in terms of our taste as a nation then prepare yourself for this rant (and keep in mind this is a DJ’s perspective on the mainstream market): Australian commercial radio recently pushed to lower the margins for the amount of local talent they are required play. It makes us feel like we’re playing second fiddle to America, which nobody can deny is now the furthest behind in terms of their commercial sound or their “in thing” (even though their underground music has always been advanced with labels like DFA/Hot Creations etc.). Australia went through the heavy electro and dance music phase between 2005 and 2008. Then, like most things Australia loves, everyone got tired of it and it faded away. So it disappears for 4 years and is repackaged with an American flag and suddenly we’re all eating it up again. Even the UK had been doing dubstep for years before it became something that we were all subjected to via radio. There were even afternoon radio programs in Australia in about 2009 dedicated to just “dubstep.” It feels like the commercial American market dictates what everyone likes, several years after it’s been popular. Nobody, in a position of commercial authority, wants to take the leap on what could be the next thing until it’s already been the last thing.
Short answer: up and up for the underground and for the Australian musicians. Into the dumps for commercial radio and the underground’s bank accounts. The radio needs to play more Australian music and support local artists. It’s better for the economy and the bottom line is: whatever you play on radio, people tend to like through their lack of interest to pursue different music types outside their drive to work and back. A good analogy to sum it up is, “if a person has only ever seen the colour yellow their entire life, what do you think they would say if you asked them their favourite colour?”
Thank god for the internet.
What do you guys think of Gotye?
Incredible artist that deserves every shred of success he is getting. He didn’t need to cater to a genre. He made an album full of beautiful and diverse songs. Sometimes, things are just so good, you can’t put a lid on them. It’s not a type of music that can be copied and repackaged, either, and that has shown through his success. We couldn’t be happier for him and we feel like he may be the Trojan horse for a lot of other Australian music. On top of all that, watch him in an interview and try to dislike the guy. He’s genuine, he doesn’t need a personality gimmick and we’re willing to bet he saves puppies from burning buildings on his days off. It’s nice to know that real music and musicians can still get to number one without loud, intrusive noises.
I loved that “Foreign Language” came with an unofficial “Roller Boogie” video, because when I first heard the song, no kidding, the first thing I thought about was a roller rink. Is there something that speaks to you about the Studio 54 era, that it keeps appearing in your music? What do you like about it?
It was a decade that had its own style. It says a lot about an era when the music has defined the look and the sound. Not many other decades come with such a strong association. We’re working on some novelty mixes right now and we’ve recently learned how much of the early 80s contributes to the world’s biggest hits (and is often associated with the 70s). More than anything, it’s a time of consistently good music and that’s something that everybody should pay close attention to. The same craft and care isn’t around today. Admittedly, it’s a free market now, so more unique and experimental music can be heard without the need for a record contract, label or a place in a music store. But it came at a price; a market flooded with inconsistency. Now it comes down to what the musicians are happy to put out and not the labels. It’s definitely a good thing, but the quality is harder to sift through. As for the Roller Boogie clip, we didn’t have a music video when we finished “Foreign Language” and I think we had the same thought: that disco and rollerskates just went hand in hand with it. It was only a filler until we could get Dimitri’s video (which we still can’t stop watching), but we had no idea people would enjoy it so much.
“With You” is a little more mellow of course. What inspired this one?
We accidentally wrote the chords while writing harmonies for “Foreign Language.” Then we played around with sounds until we both clicked on what we felt was the right one. Certain chord patterns demand different sounds to different ears. It’s hard enough even to get 2 of us to agree on what suits it. As soon as we had the initial chords and the sound, we realized it struck a bit of a resemblance to Booka Shade, so we started listening to a bit of that and also to some Todd Terje. We pick really different references and see if we can marry them together. We can trace literally every one of our songs or remixes back to at least 2 references each.
Where is your favorite place to play live and why?
Having just played North and South America, that decision is so much harder to make. We were able to play a warm, Spring evening set in Santiago. We played at a packed boutique club in Colombia filled with beautiful Colombian women. We played a festival in Monterrey on a hot afternoon to a tent filled with screaming Mexicans. Then we’ve been lucky to play intimate small clubs in cities like Vienna and London. We might be heading back to play a party in Rome that we’ve played once before. Another of our favourite gigs. We’re so lucky to have such a fantasy job. It’s very hard to pick just one experience when they all differ for various reasons. We’re trying to appreciate it while we can. The music business can be like building your house on the sand.
You guys have a lot of lyrics about love. Are you hopeless romantics?
We must associate with a lot of hopeless romantics. A lot of vocal content has come from the singers themselves. Perhaps we attract the lovesick? It’s a subject that a lot of people can relate to and perhaps some people see it as cliche, but we have a few more like this to come. We’re not deliberately tugging at the heartstrings. That’s just how it has been for now.
Hopefully a song with a vocalist we stumbled upon from Brooklyn, New York. She’s very talented. Don’t be expecting a club song, though. We’ll come right out and say now that it’s definitely not. But it’s a type of music we both enjoy listening to. We want to be able to show another side to our taste and abilities.