The Chicago-based duo debut on Friends of Friends.
IDYLL is comprised of vocalist Angelina Lucero (best known for appearing on songs by Jerome LOL and LOL Boys) and producer Jojo Yang. Their four-song debut, One, combines Lucero’s gorgeous vocal melodies with Yang’s ice-cold electronic textures and beats; the pair evokes, at times, ’90s trip-hop, the baroque pop of Bat for Lashes and the minimalism of The xx.
Stream One below and read our interview with the duo. The EP is due out via Friends of Friends on June 16. In addition, the pair has teamed with their friends “OO” to create an immersive visual experience to accompany the EP — click around to find hidden interactive components.
What’s the IDYLL origin story?
Jojo: In 2013, I started producing some electronic tracks that had pop like song structures. I really wanted to have a singer featured on these tracks but I didn’t necessarily want to feature various singers. I was more interested in collaborating with a singer for the full project. I asked a good friend and fellow DJ if he knew of any singer-songwriters in Chicago that would fit well with the sound that I was starting to shape. He immediately recommended Angelina.
I internet stalked her for a minute, saw that she had been featured on a few LOL Boys tracks that I was already a fan of, listened to her own music that she wrote, fell in love with her voice, and knew I had to meet with her. We met, geeked out over different artists we were both interested in, and agreed that we needed to start a project together. BAM. IDYLL.
Angelina: A mutual friend linked us up. After meeting I was immediately in awe of Jojo. She’s very magnetic. She had shown me a few things she was working on and I was blown away. We became friends and wrote our first song together not long after that. The rest is history.
What do you see as a strength that the other brings to the project?
Jojo: Angelina writes all of her own vocal melodies and song lyrics. She also knows how to use her voice as a powerful instrument and comes up with really creative sounds to add the perfect texture to the productions that I create. I also love working with and manipulating her voice to produce interesting effects throughout each song. Angelina has an innate ability to create haunting melodies that weave in and out of my productions perfectly.
Angelina: Jojo is the queen of my life. No joke. I’ve truly never had creative chemistry with another the way I have with her. She gets me completely. I truly feel everything she produces and that, to me, is so important.
What was the songwriting and production process on the EP?
Jojo: Our process varies slightly from song to song. With ‘Bad Boi’, ‘Sleep’, and ‘For You’, I wrote and produced an initial version of the instrumentals first. Angelina then wrote the vocal melodies, harmonies, and textures to those versions. After the vocal tracks were recorded, the instrumentals would often be updated and reshaped during final production. We built upon each other’s melodies.
The process for ‘Trouble’ was a bit different. It was the first track that we worked on. Angelina had already written the song and recorded it with her guitar. She sent it to me to check out and I immediately fell in love with the vocal melody. I asked her to record just the vocal melody for me. Like a pro, she recorded the main vocal melody for ‘Trouble’ without a reference track and only a click track to guide her. I produced the song around her a cappella, restructured the song a bit, and then had her come in for the final vocal recordings, harmonies, and textures.
‘Bad Boi’ was one of the better “hyperreal” videos we’ve seen this year – how’d that come about?
Jojo: I’ve known Zero Ghul for quite some time. We’re both huge sci-fi nerds and fans of moody and dark cinema aesthetic. We had chatted about collaborating on a project in the past and the music video was the perfect opportunity for us to work together. I played ‘Bad Boi’ for him and he immediately came up with some great ideas for a story line.
During initial concept development, he mentioned that even though the lyrics talk about “terrestrial earthling drama”, he kept thinking about the song from an alien POV. He wrote a loosely structured short story about a person discovering a cave that harbored an alien device of surveillance. I was really excited about the concept and Zero ran with it. There were points throughout the process when I wouldn’t hear from him for weeks, which made me a little nervous, and then he’d surprise me with something crazy like intricate machine with hundreds of moving parts. It was really great to work with Zero and to be able to peek into his wild imagination through the video.
What’s the ideal listening experience for One?
Jojo: I think the ideal listening experience involves being in a planetarium during a private viewing of some cosmic wonder show, with someone fun to make out with, after enjoying some greens (and I don’t mean vegetables). Or this!
Angelina: I was raised Catholic. I wrote off Catholicism and organized religion at a pretty young age but lately I’ve been drawn back to the imagery and architecture. I’ve actually started wearing a rosary around my neck recently, considered blasphemous in the church. I’d love for people to experience our EP at nighttime in a dark cathedral. Lit by candles only. Sitting in a pew next to a shrine of our Our Lady of Guadalupe. Lord hear our prayer, Amen.