slenderbodies: 'are we?', Sonically Asking Questions, & Building Concepts With Their Music
By: Ezzah Rafique | June 13, 2021
It's no doubt that Max Vehuni and Benji Cormack from the pop duo, slenderbodies, know how to beautifully create a dream-like sound through indie and electronic rhythms. The duo talked with HAZZE MEDIA about their new EP "are we?", sonically asking questions, and building concepts with their music.
Check out the interview below...
E: Congratulations on the new EP, by the way. I love it. I got to listen to it. And I feel like it has such a cool vibe to it. So I'm really happy you guys released it.
M: Thank you.
B: Thanks for listening
E: Congratulations on the new release of your EP. How is the process of putting all the songs together? And you have a favorite memory from like creating it or one that stands out the most?
B: I mean, it's kind of interesting because it was all done remote and through zoom meetings, a lot like this one, it just puts in an interesting space. So I think the whole thing was like a big win in terms of creativity. I mean, we perfected a system, my mind throughout the making of this and being able to create on the Internet and stream each other's does and high quality. So to me, there's not like a stand-out memory. But there were stand-out collaborative moments like the making of “lime ocean paradise” was like superfluid. Making “super powerful” with the guys and crooked colors was really fun because it was fun to think about the fact they were in Australia and we were in different time zones at the same time. So I think those moments like were really special to me at least.
E: My favorite song from the EP was lime ocean paradise. Do you guys have a favorite song from the EP?
M: Yes, that's the one. I love that song so much. I'm really glad that people are picking up on it because it was such a special one when we put it together and it just feels so groovy. And we were like, we really hope people love this song as much as we do. Yeah, that's a big favorite for us.
E: Do you guys have a specific song that you're excited to perform live?
B: I mean, again, that one was we did a live stream on a Friday as like an album release party thing. And that ["lime ocean paradise"] was like a blast that it really just came together. We just brought on a new drummer and it was one of his favorites as well. So that one's just been a winner all around.
E: When creating the EP, how do you guys find out which song? Like is there a process you guys have specifically when it comes down to picking a song to put on, like a song you get attached to.
M: I feel like we definitely tried to build out concepts and have songs that relate to that concept or add to different portions like add to the concept, make it deeper and make it feel more multifaceted whenever we are creating a record and "are we?" was really just a concept of asking ourselves different questions and placing different labels upon ourselves and seeing what stuck and what didn't. And it really wasn't about finding an answer, more so is exploring those questions on the different songs on this record. Just explore different questions about ourselves and different things that we enjoy and different things that maybe we don't enjoy. And we just wanted to explore it for the sake of allowing ourselves the opportunity to delve into that... sort of mindset. And I think there are certain songs on there that kind of look at different perspectives and a lot of fun ways, like "cherry blossom" is looking at the idea of being on, you know, being on Earth and then actually like visualizing it from outer space and like visualizing it from the closest reaches of like looking into like the pollen on flowers. It was like looking at something from really far away from really up close and just allowing it to be seen in all sorts of different ways. And I think that was more of like a futurist-based song of like one day maybe humanity won't be living on Earth. And like, what would know a human coming back to Earth a long time later, like, see and like find enjoyment and or whatnot. So just like questions about humanity and ourselves as well.
B: And I think sonically we got to ask ourselves a lot of questions like, are we a band that likes to use like this is the first time we really use synthesizers. And I think that there's a lot of...asking ourselves, do we like to use synthesis? What type of drum production do we like to do? In terms of songwriting, are we a group that likes to have songs like "cherry blossom" where the structure's kind of loose? There's like a stanza that's like a tag, or do you want to have something more that's more like storytelling with vivid imagery, like songs like "lime ocean paradise" or "summer lost". So trying on a lot of different hats in terms of how the songs are actually created. And I feel like back to your question of like how we decide what fits and what [doesn't]... it was a largely collaborative process between ourselves... This was like I think the deepest we really delve with our team at our label. And that was like a bunch of other folks that we are very close to. And so that was a cool process as well to kind of build this record as a larger group and try on that. [In] "are we?", the question is, well, are we a collective, you know, rather than are we just a duo?
E: Mm hmm. And your guy's name is an anagram, is that correct?
B: Yeah. So that's that's exactly right. So there was a tree farm next to us in Santa Cruz and it would only be open during the winter. And they always wanted more nobles, noble first. So they had that sign outside that said Nobles Desired. And it was just like a really interesting thing. Makes us think about, like, you know, nobles from, like, you know, the Middle Ages, just a bunch of stuff. So we always thought it would it was kind of an interesting way to say, like, we need more trees and the fact that they could just synthesize it down into two words. So we just... came up with this name.
E: I find that really cool. You guys also you really interestingly, uniquely blend genres of music, like RB, pop, and indie and the like your music. Is there a genre that you haven't maybe released a song as but would like to try to dive into?
B: I mean, I just feel like genre is timeless. There's a lot of places I think we'll go in the future and we don't even know what they are yet, I think that was kind of the beauty of this project, was it was really breaking a lot of the rules that we set for ourselves initially and now we're kind of like unchained and like the world, like the sonic world is our oyster and we can go wherever we want. Like we might fuck around and make a house album in three years. Who know[s] that can be a cool time, you know.
E: How would you guys want fans who are listening to the EP for the very first time to feel like is there an ideal setting, a mood you want people to like listen to the EP to?
M: I like to think of our music as everyday music like I want people to kind of listen to it, whether they like working out or just like hanging out and chilling or like driving somewhere or whatever it is like. I definitely think driving music is it. I definitely don't have a cut-off there for a second. But basically, I feel like driving music is like a really big one. So I don't know stuff that allows you to groove and to just like feel and listen to the lyrics as if you're the type of person that really enjoys lyricism and just make it your own. I feel like that's kind of what our music has always been about, is like escapism and making it your own. So take the meaning you will from them and place it into your own life and see how it helps you through your day.
E: And lastly, do you guys have any other creative outlets that you guys like to dive into? Asides from music maybe?
B: Yeah, through our process of being a band, like we both developed...like we both like video editing. I like to make like artwork and photos like digital art and Photoshop and on my iPad and stuff. And then yeah. Like, like paint sometimes and stuff like drawing. So that stuff has been really nice for me.
M: Yeah, I really like to do, like wood carving and like woodworking in general, just like building things with wood has been something that I've always found really cathartic and relaxing. So, like, I yeah, like whenever I have a day where I'm, like, stressed out anyway, as I'll just like go outside and like, we have this huge tree in our backyard that like every once in a while we have to like cut like a big branch outside so we have many like really big logs in our backyard. And I'll just like cut a piece of it out and just try to carve something out of it. And that's always really fun.
E: And is there any last thing you'd want fans to know about the album?
B: I would say like, come see us late summer or early fall, if we're going to be in your area and we're going to be putting out some, like live acoustic versions. And then for this record...it's really exciting. We actually got to design all of the merch ourselves, like all the materials and worked really closely with the team that produced it. So it's going to be a limited run. So there's a preorder going for the merch right now and it's a collector's edition, so you can only get them during this period. And after that, we're never going to make them again because it's like all handpicked and like it's limited quality and stuff. So if you want cool limited-run merch, you should get it now while you can.
E: All right, thank you so much, and thank you for your time.
B: Of course, thanks for taking our time.
M: Thanks so much