Dreamy electro-pop duo Teengirl Fantasy has a good thing going. The band, made up of longtime buddies Logan Takahashi and Nick Weiss, are known for genre-defying remixes that transform well-worn chart toppers into hazy dance beats. (Listen to “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore,” their trippy take on Rose Royce’s 1978 hit, for a prime example.) This week, the pair dropped their debut full-length, the throbbing dance record 7 A.M. (True Panther Sounds), all the while attending undergrad lectures at Oberlin College. We caught up with the dorm-room beatmakers to talk about their unlikely careers in an ever-shifting music industry.
Tell me how you guys got started? Logan: We met within our first two days at Oberlin, during our orientation. We were talking about music and thought, ‘Yeah. We should jam.’ It was pretty organic. It wasn’t that serious of a thing.
Where did the name Teengirl Fantasy come from? L: We were talking about boy bands with our friend Vivienne, and how funny it is that they exist. We thought it would be a fun name for a boy band.
And the website? L: That was kind of modeled after fan sites from the ‘90s, like Geocities.
Do you communicate a lot on set or is it a very unspoken interaction? L: We both try to make eye contact every so often. Nick: Yeah. We try to keep talking to a minimum, just because it looks unprofessional or something.
Has your sound evolved over the years? N: I think we’re more self-aware now. When we first started, there was literally no idea of a particular sound. We were just jamming and what came out, came out. Now that the music has spread a little bit, we have started to develop more of a specific range. A lot of the songs are really different, but we are still trying to keep some kind of common thread through them.
Can you tell me about your new album? L: We recorded it all over the place. We started working on the songs in Logan’s parents basement in New Jersey and we took the files with us to Amsterdam and worked on them at the studio at the school we were going to there.
Is the way you record going to change as you work more with True Panther and Matador? L: Being able to work in a studio is definitely our dream. I think the thing that I like about lo-fi or DIY sound, is the ability to have a unique and personal or specific sound. There’s this big trend of using old equipment. I feel like you don’t necessarily have to do that in order to have a similar effect on your sound. N: And we definitely weren’t trying to be lo-fi at all. Maybe it just had to do with us being less experienced with recording and mixing and producing stuff. At least for this album, we were trying to record literally as high-quality as we possibly could. We don’t want our music to sound like we weren’t trying to make it sound the best it could.
Who would you most want to record with? Pork Chop. Total Freedom.
What’s the most unconventional place you’ve ever played in? L: Wardscape is always crazy. There’s this festival in Baltimore that we just played. We played in this sweltering warehouse that was really compact and we played at like two in the morning. We all felt like we were going to die, literally. N: On Monster Island we played in someone’s bedroom once. They had a loft bed.
Really? Like on the bed? N: Yeah. Literally. It was a very small room.