News AlunaGeorge: ‘I Try Not To Talk Too Much’

London duo AlunaGeorge speak to Jamie Milton about their origins, and working on their debut album.

It’s not as if Aluna Francis and George Reid are an odd fit, but if convention were to put together one expressive beatsmith and one shiny pop vocalist, it might have to think twice. Yet when it comes to one of 2012’s most refreshing success stories, we’re presented with a case of two musicians at opposite ends of the spectrum, helping to further each other’s talents, the final product being the perfect fusion of sharp beat-led backdrops and glossy R&B vocals - and it calls itself AlunaGeorge.

Reid and Francis met through the once invincible music platform that now limps by on its very last limb: MySpace. Mutual appreciation of each other’s solo projects led the two to convene in London, where they now work prolifically towards the release of a debut album. It’s easy to identify where each other’s strengths lie. George, who in this very interview declares that his “good ideas run out at music,” works together a magnificent arrangement of beats and samples, on top of which Aluna will place a distinct melody or a dozen. “We each have our strengths but we’re always there to poke holes and help each other,” claims Reid, as Aluna is keen to wax lyrical on The Knife, who are a clear influence on her vocal style: “There’s a simplicity to it, a danceable-ness to a song like ‘Heartbeats’… Wherever I am, it will always be the perfect track to play me.”

On the subject of odd combinations, eyebrows were raised upon seeing news of the pair’s new EP and, more notably, the label which would be releasing it. Tri Angle, responsible for Balam Acab, Holy Other and oOoOO, decided to depart from indistinct synthetic experimentation, with AlunaGeorge being something of a landmark signing. “Robin, the founder, had been talking about his interest in the pop side of music,” explains Aluna, “he’s fascinated with the purist idea of what pop music is, but he’d never actually gone out and found a band that fitted this definition.”

Validating this signing is the fact that the pair are now within walking distance of the charts; radio airplay growing by the day and anticipation heightening towards the first full-length. The two sound giddy with excitement, not quite gathering their bearings after an overwhelming few months. “I got a call from my Dad yesterday and he heard us in his car on the way home. It’s funny how it can reach so many people,” says George, before Aluna elaborates by detailing just how many times her Grandma has read about the band in the paper - she then adds, with full awareness of the ridiculousness of her statement, “it means a lot when an old lady can get in touch with your music.”

Then proceeds the laughter. Aluna and George are on the same wavelength. They giggle at the smallest of things and this only goes to add further evidence of how well they work together in the studio. It’s difficult to establish where they differ, besides their individual roles in the project. I ask them both if they can pick out a turning point: George cites “a moment about a year and a half ago when we started writing music that was closer to the sound that we’re making now… Everything suddenly clicked.” Aluna is still buzzing meanwhile from the recent tour with Friends.

How does the AlunaGeorge live experience compare to seeing Samantha Urbani and co. chat back and forth with the audience before inducing everyone in the room to get up and dance? “I tend to let the music do the interaction,” says Aluna, coyly, before admitting a lack of confidence in terms of talking to the audience.

This is strange, considering how concise and assured Aluna is in conversation. One interviewer does not equate to an intrigued audience, this is true, but both her and George are brimming with confidence when talking about their music. Aluna says that the “goal of songwriting” is to write pop songs which “you never get bored of hearing,” citing The Knife’s ‘Heartbeats’ once more as a perfect example. George, meanwhile, puts more emphasis on the importance of the album. He details a recent experience in the middle of putting “finishing touches” to the debut record: “I got a bunch of tracks that I put together as a potential album tracklist and then I listened to it back-to-back, non-stop. It makes you appreciate the intricacies of trying to make an album work, track after track, rather than forcing the listener to skip to their favourite songs. It needs to hold your attention and change enough to keep the listener interested.”

All of this hints at a band keeping their feet firmly on the ground, despite networks of radio DJs singing their praises, despite label after label rabidly clawing at the pair to put out this potentially sensational debut. Citing both “a collection of ditched songs” and describing recent tours as a means of “reconfiguration,” learning curves are still being experienced. Yet if all goes to plan for these two young, gifted musicians, they will soon be a thing of the past.

AlunaGeorge’s new EP ‘You Know You Like It’ is out now via Triangle Records.

Taken from the July 2012 issue of DIY, available now. For more details click here.

Tags: AlunaGeorge, Neu

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