Image by Lynoi-Lui
The name alone intrigues, inspiring us to conjure images of post-baroque flamboyance and romanticism. But Vancouver’s Rococode (the duo of Laura Smith and Andrew Braun) genuinely captivate with their singular musical aesthetic, an infectious marriage of classical synth-pop, quasi-hip-hop beats, layered with male-female ideological dichotomy.
They are convincing enough to have lured Tegan & Sara producer Caleb Shreve and Eve 6 producer Jon Siebels to collaborate with them on the new recording. The result is the sultry, alluring EP Young Ones, released this week.
We caught up with them for a quick chat about what it means to be Rococode in 2017.
As for the name Rococode – does it signal a penchant for the “baroque?”
AB Not so much at this point. Actually, for some reason I listened to a song off of our first record yesterday, and maybe the “rococo” part of the band name made a lot more sense then. We’ve kind of cut way back on the frills and decoration as we’ve grown into our current taste. However, the name still feels appropriate as a representation of the contrast of light/dark and direct/cryptic that we’re always trying to exploit.
You describe your partnership as “a marriage of contrasting personalities.” Can you elaborate, describe each of your personalities?
AB Well… without confining or generalizing on either of us too much – we like to play off the extremes. The song “Brutal” is probably the best musical example of this. It pairs Laura’s sweet, airy and vulnerable vocals with the heaviest, buzziest synths/guitars on the record. That’s not to say that Laura is always the light and Andrew is always the dark – we certainly each play both rolls. In the end, it’s hopefully about balancing each other out from these extremes — in the music and in our lives.
The new EP is called Young Ones – is there a philosophical underpinning to that title?
LS Young Ones is the feeling we accept as our eternal youthfulness stays, but everything around us grows up. It’s the subtle dance between our lust for life and required responsibility. It’s crashing, rolling, bleeding down the mountainside and hitting rock bottom before we finally realize, eyes wide, just where we ended up. It’s falling in love for the first, second, third, or tenth time, having our hearts shattered, and then starting from scratch until we get it right. It’s jumping from great heights into the wild unknown and spreading our wings with freedom.
With the new songs, you mix synth-pop and hip-hop beats. What were some of the most significant influences on Young Ones?
AB More than anything this set was influenced by a different songwriting process. Most of the time we started the song with a sample or a cool sound and built around that. In the past it’s always kind of started with some chords or a beat; but this was almost backwards for us. It really made us focus on keeping things sparse and only adding things that could truly have a meaningful impact. In terms of other musical influences, we often referenced Danger Mouse, stuff like Broken Bells, Gorillaz, and, as always, lots of Spoon, Little Dragon and Phantogram.
BlackBook premieres the Young Ones EP here.