It’s now almost two years since Teengirl Fantasy released their marvellous debut album, 7AM.
The LP – not least its lead single and best known track, the Love Committee-sampling ‘Cheaters’ (FACT’s single of the year for 2010) – was a real feat of emotional paradox, managing to sound at once jubilant and desolate. Logan Takahashi and Nick Weiss’s sophomore effort, Tracer, is an even more conflicted and complex work, with samples rejected in favour of guest vocals from Laurel Halo, Panda Bear and the mighty Romanthony.
Now signed to R&S, once home to the likes of Aphex Twin and Juan Atkins, and nowadays to Space Dimension Controller, Pariah et al, Teengirl have just released a new single, ‘Motif’, and a trailer for the album – which is due out August 20 – has been doing the rounds of late [watch it below].
FACT got in touch with the American duo, who have been recording in their adopted home of Brooklyn, to find out more about their ambitions for, and approach to, Tracer. You can catch Teengirl Fantasy live at the EXIT festival, which takes place in Serbia on July 12-15 – more information and tickets here.
Nick: “Well first of all they’ve released an astounding catalogue. We take a lot of influence from many artists they’ve worked with so it felt natural when they first contacted us a year back that we would work with them.”
Logan: “It feels really good to be working with such a legendary label, still feels pretty bonkers.”
How’s the experience of recording the album been? How did your approach differ to that you took for 7AM?
Nick: “This album began with a similar approach to 7AM – writing songs live on our machines. This time around we decided to forego sampling. We relied only on sounds we could readily create; the palette feels more cohesive. We also got the chance to work with awesome vocalists, most of whom were just friends of ours. Recording vocals with someone is much more personal and social then chopping up vocal samples. The collaborative process allows the vocalist to more deeply inform the song and vice-versa.”
“We felt more ambitious and self-critical with this album.”
Where did you record this time around?
Logan: “We recorded the album in my friend Tom’s studio in Williamsburg in a warehouse-type space which is also where I live. We were both living here last summer and did pretty much all of the tracking last summer and early fall.”
Nick: “We felt more ambitious and self-critical with this album. We wanted it to feel really concise and flow as an LP. We took a lot of time mixing every song ourselves as well as with more experienced engineers.”
Logan: “We really wanted to make an album that had a distinctly specific soundworld to it. There is still definitely variety in terms of mood and styles in the songs as with our last album, however I think we did do a better job of making them sonically sound way more cohesive than anything we’ve done before. It was good going into making an album this time with already having the experience of making one and having people respond to it under our belts. Sequencing and flow of the tracks was something we spent a lot of time thinking about and discussing.”
“Partying all night has a lot to do with loneliness.”
Would you say there’s a unifying mood or feel the resulting work? Celebratory? Melancholy?
Logan: “I’d say that there’s definitely more of a serious or mature tone to a lot of the tracks on this one than in previous efforts. It has been over two years since we released our last album and we’ve had a lot more experiences, life, musically, growth-wise. There is still a youthful feeling sense of exploration for sure – which is something we’ve always kind of made use of – but I think you’ll see some of that countered more by a sense of self-awareness, or gravitas.”
Nick: “Somewhere in between. Reveling in melancholy? What’s beautiful about celebration is there is always a touch of sadness to it. Partying all night has a lot to do with loneliness, but I don’t mean that in a bad way.”