The fast-rising Brooklyn duo speak to us about their debut album on RVNG Intl featuring lush electronic melodies paired with dream remixes
For the past few weeks Brooklyn duo, Zach Steinman and Sam Haar, otherwise known as the minimal dance group Blondes, have been touring their debut album. Released by New York indie label RVNG Intl, the album is available in limited edition vinyl pressings, with the a-side of Lover / Hater centering upon a Meredith Monk sample, Business / Pleasure confronting ideas of social autonomy, and the final 12", Wine / Water exhibiting the duo's most melodic talents. Despite the cerebral vision, it is at heart a solid ode to house music designed to make you sweat it out on the dance floor, or at the very least engage in some enraptured day-dreaming.
We went to the clubs [in Berlin] and heard some great music but none of it was live and we missed the human engagement between the musician and the music and the audience and that really inspired us to try and do something live
Having spent a couple of years putting out a steady stream of remixes, EPs and a 12”, the pair have conjured up quite the eclectic selection with the companion disc featuring 11 remixes by contemporaries JD Twitch of Optimo, Dungeon Acid, SFV Acid, John Roberts, Andy Stott, Teengirl Fantasy, Bicep, Traxx, Laurel Halo and Rene Hell. They even managed to get Robert Miles in on the action.
This confluence of sounds asserts that Blondes have developed a well informed but wholly unique sound - which has affectionately been described as spaced out, warm, ecstatic, swirl music. How can you resist? If you’re headed to this year’s SXSW, you won’t be able to. The boys will be playing a few sets over the weekend, including the Fader Fort party. Dazed caught up with the Blondes ahead of their trip to Texas.
Dazed Digital: This is your debut album, but you've been making music for some time. Tell us a bit about what it took to get to this point.
Blondes: We've been playing music together in various forms for years now, most often just jamming and a few very informal bands thrown in there. A few years ago we decided to get our shit together and start a project with an identity and a musical voice and Blondes was born. I think we've always had a full length in mind but were waiting for it to feel right.
We called our first record, 'Touched', an EP, even though it was around 45 minutes in length, because it felt like a smaller collection of the material we'd been working on, not a proper full length in concept or scope. In a way, Blondes, is not a proper full length either. It's a collection, a compilation, of all the 12" singles (doubles?) that we released this past year on RVNG. We all decided that the material deserved a proper digital release as vinyl-only was a little limited, and, to give the release a little more to hold on to, decided to make a couple exclusives and commission a whole bunch of remixes. The whole duality prism really filled out nicely as well.
DD: You just returned from a European tour - have audiences outside of New York been receptive to your new record?
Blondes: Some places/people have been very receptive. What's nice about playing in the old world is that we aren't seen as electro/pop as we often are in the states but more in the tradition of Kraut/Kosmiche and techno, so we get to play in clubs and parties more rooted in dance music.
DD: Has your time spent living abroad influenced your music, notably Berlin?
Blondes: Honestly, the most influence we had at the time from the dance music culture in Berlin in 2008 was how we wanted to play live electronics and not DJ or do live PA's on laptops like we saw everybody doing at the time. We went to the clubs and heard some great music but none of it was live and we missed the human engagement between the musician and the music and the audience and that really inspired us to try and do something live.
DD: Do you keep up with the music scene in Brooklyn? Where would you place yourselves amongst other local dance bands?
Blondes: We've been pretty active in the Brooklyn music world. The people we're more surrounded by are Teengirl Fantasy, Laurel Halo, Oneohtrix Point Never, Future Shuttle, Gatekeeper, Ital, Jonas Reinhart, etc.
DD: The record consists of a double CD, the second featuring numerous remixes. Did you commission these remixes or did you just happen upon them?
Blondes: The commissions were a collaboration between us and RVNG, basically people we thought were doing interesting stuff at the moment. Also Robert Miles, because we could.
DD: Is there anyone you would love to collaborate with?
Blondes: We got to jam with Harald Grosskoph. That was pretty amazing.