“Like most musicians we work indoors, so we try to make super sunny music as a way of getting outside,” explains Tanlines’ Jesse Cohen. “We think the name fits the sound.”
That sound – euphoric dance music with DFA dub-disco leanings, liberally splashed with calypso- is best encapsulated on the Brooklyn-based duo’s new single, ‘New Flowers’, released this month on Young Turks [check the video below]. “Marisa, an artist friend of ours, asked us to do a song based on an old, somewhat embarrassing poem that’s included in her new art book,” recalls Cohen. “We tried and tried to use a bunch of lyrics but ended up sticking with just ‘flowers’. It was really just the jump off point to collaborate and make a song.”
Visuals are a constant source of inspiration for Cohen and production partner Eric Emm, who create and release their own DIY videos – playfully cutting up footage sourced from the web – to accompany each track, preferring to display these via their own YouTube channel, believing it to be “a better music site” than MySpace. The results are funny, trippy and more often than not rather ingenious.
“One day in April (2008), we wrote a song, made a video and put it up on the ‘net that night – and Tanlines was born,” says Cohen. “We record about a million drum, synth and guitar parts in a few hours, end up muting most of them, and then a couple of days later, once we forget about them, go back and pick out the parts that still sound good.”
Currently, Tanlines is something a side-project for Cohen (who plays keyboards in NY ‘dance punk’ outfit Professor Murder) and Emm (of production teams Storm & Stress and Brothers). But with the duo’s recent remix of Telepathe’s ‘Chromes On It’ picking up props and further mixes for El Guincho and Tough Alliance to come, plus a mini UK tour and a “bunch of songs” and “collaborations with friends doing vocals”, chances are that it won’t be long before Cohen jacks in his day job as a photo-archivist at a “historical society-type library” to make music a full-time hobby.