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Tanlines' Mixed Emotions

The Brooklyn electronic pop act speak to us about their debut album 'Mixed Emotions', out today

Released tomorrow, ‘Mixed Emotions’ is the debut album from electronic-pop Brooklyn duo Eric Emm and Jesse Cohen – better known as Tanlines. Together since 2008, the pair met when Emm acted as co-producer for Cohen’s previous band, ‘Professor Murder’. Having spent the last few years making remixes for the likes of Telepathe, Glasser, The Tough Alliance, and touring with Vampire Weekend, The xx, Julian Casablancas and Delorean – as well as releasing two acclaimed EPs: ‘Settings’ (2010) and ‘Volume On’ (2009) – a full length album was the natural next step. ‘Mixed Emotions’ is their most personal project yet, with Emm’s songwriting pushed to the fore, revealing a talent for the words as well as a vocal ability that has finally gotten its due.

We spent the first two years of our career figuring out a palette of sounds that we like... When we started to write ‘Mixed Emotions’ we reached for that palette and didn't really have to think – freeing us up to write whatever kinds of songs we wanted

Employing the talents of legendary engineer Jimmy Douglass (Timbaland, Aaliyah, Television, Missy Elliot) the record is both an ode to classic pop, with distinct hooks, as well as reflective of the dance sounds for which they’ve developed a steady following. With a view to the future, ‘Mixed Emotions’ is many things at once and a cornerstone in the musical prolificacy that makes up Tanlines...

Dazed Digital: Mixed Emotions is your first full length album. What do you feel sets this record apart from the previous ‘Settings’ & ‘Volume On’? Has the format style allowed you to veer in a different direction creatively?
Tanlines: ‘Mixed Emotions’ represents a period of time in our career. It’s our first album, but it feels to us more like a second. Often, a group's first album is all of the material they had written up to the point that they got signed or decided to record something. The second album is a chance to  figure out what they want to do and then sit down and write it. That’s how we approached this album, and it was something we had never done before.

DD: That focused attention comes across, sounding somehow more rooted than your earlier work. What are you looking for when you write?
Tanlines: We spent the first two years or so of our career figuring out a palette of sounds that we like: lots of drums, certain snare sounds, synth, guitar, vocals, etc. When we started to write ‘Mixed Emotions’ we reached for that palette and didn't really have to think about what kinds of sounds we liked – freeing us up to write whatever kinds of songs we wanted.  When we wrote "Green Grass," we were like "does this sound like a Tanlines song?" and the answer we decided was always yes. I hope people will trust us and listen to us with open ears in that way.

DD: You worked on this record alone in NYC before heading to Miami to work with the prolific producer Jimmy Douglass. What was that like?
Tanlines: We had spent a year writing, producing and mixing the album ourselves. When Jimmy said he loved the album and wanted to mix it over the course of 10 days in Miami, it was a great opportunity. We wanted to take everything out of our comfort zone and just sort of inject some additional magic into it. I think he really helped elevate our sound to a new level. It was also great to drive around Miami at 3 in the morning listening to new mixes on our car's CD player.

DD: Other than the release of the record, do you guys have anything else planned for 2012 in terms of musical offerings?
Tanlines: We just shot a video in London for "All of Me" with Julian Barratt from the Mighty Boosh, which should be ready soon. Other than that, we would love to write with other people. We've done a little of that, but it's definitely something we want to do more of in our career.

Photos by Jenny Hueston and James Ryang