Dani and Rico are part of lively synth-pop electronic duo TRUE. Their music has enchanted Switzerland and their debut album, Wrapped In Air, was released on September 23. We had the chance to interview them and ask them some interesting questions about their music.
If you had to choose three words to describe TRUE, or your music, what would they be?
Dani: undercooled, overheated, luscious
Give us an insight into Wrapped In Air. How was it developed? What are the themes of this debut album?
Rico: We worked on it for quite a long time, over a year probably. It's hard to say because we went back to very old sketches for some of the songs. Others were written and recorded only days before we finished the album. Some of the material was laying very unfinished on our computers for months. I've spent six months in New York and worked on songs with musicians there. In the end we had only about ten days to finish the songs, record the vocals and mix it. That was great because when we were done, it felt very immediate and fresh to us.
Dani: At the beginning of TRUE most of the songs where inspired by our carefreeness and the joy of trial and error. Due to some personal changes, our music became a bit more thoughtful, like Colors of My Estimation or What I’ve Lost. Of course this was an important phase, but when we decided to make an album, we had already changed into a new phase of life, with a lighter and cheerful feeling. Therefore Wrapped In Air may seem a bit superficial in the beginning, but just represents the lightness of life after hard times.
Rico: Well, it's not THAT cheerful and light, just think about the first song on the record for example...
What is your favourite track you have written so far?
Dani: There was a time when I had absolutely no desire to play or write music. The more I forced myself, the less came out. One day I was sitting in front of my old piano and started to play this chord sequence, thinking that I didn't want to sound like someone else. That's why "Colors Of My Estimation“ is one of my favourite songs, it was the start of a new motivation.
Rico: Mine might be "The Difference“ from the new album, at the moment.
How does it feel like to receive critical acclaim from such important magazines and radios as Fame Magazine, BBC Radio 1 and Press Play?
Dani: It’s just amazing, over and over again I am really happy about it. Just imagine, we live in Switzerland, in the morning we hear cows moo, cosmopolitanism is far away, haha.
Rico: We feel really honoured. Sitting in our small studio in little Switzerland, that came really unexpected. The downside was, that we had to turn down some great offers, like a Dazed and Confused feature for example, just because we weren't prepared for this.
How do you start to compose and write your songs?
Dani: It's not one or the other way. We play some chords, I start to sing some nonsense and in the end, everything gets so reasonable. I guess only our subconscious mind knows this magic trick. Of course after this fun part there's the whole production, where we have to find out what kind of dress would fit the song best. This is more like putting toghether a puzzle. I just realise how esoteric we are.
Rico: We often just jam and record what we like. Sometimes it's a sketch from one uf us in the beginning and then we develop it together. In the end, I'm the one who produces the music.
Are there any artists that inspire your music and style or influenced it?
Rico: We didn't have any particular references, while working on the album. Some people who heard it mentioned Michael or Janet Jackson, which is interesting because we never actively thought about them during recording. But especially Michael is so much in my DNA, from when I was a teenager, it may always shine through. Other than that, Prince, D'Angelo, FKA Twigs and Jai Paul might be most influential for me. And Idjah Hadidjah and her album Tonggeret. Incredible Indonesian pop music from the 80ies that sounds nothing like pop to our ears!
Dani: There are many current artists I like, for example FKA twigs or Tove Lo, but my heart still beats for old R&B groups like Zhané or Xscape. And Brandy's, I Wanna Be Down“ still makes me nostalgic. But hey, we are in 2016 and as much as we are influenced by the past, we live and make music in the present.
You teamed up with jazz musicians Sean Smith and Walter Fancourt, tell us more about this special encounter with Brooklyn-based musicians.
Rico: I went to a Reptar show at Brooklyn Night Bazaar because I knew their keyboard player and was completely blown away, especially by the horns. I've heard the record before and thought they were synth-horns. Sean and Walter have a special way of arranging and playing and use effects that make it sound synthetic but still real somehow. I met them and it turned into a great collaboration. The same with Antoine Katz on bass, one of the greatest bass players I've heard. I discovered him through his playing with Jaime Woods, a singer I also love.
Are there any other singers or musicians would you like to perform with in the future?
Rico: It would be great to perform on stage with Sean, Walter and Antoine one day. But it's hard for a swiss band to play in the U.S. because of the whole visa thing. We would need an invitation by a festival or something official like that to make it happen.
Dani: Maybe it would be easier to bring back Prince, Michael and Whitney...
What is the next step in True's career?
Dani: The next step in our career is very small and big at the same time: we have to find time to rehearse our new live-set. It’s very unglamorous.
What’s your musical guilty pleasure?
Rico: Vroom Vroom by Charli XCX and The Captain of Her Heart by swiss 80ies one hit wonder Double.
Dani: Everything I love and mentioned before are guilty pleasures.
You are granted a super power for a day - what would it be and what would you do?
Dani: Wow, I would like to be able to fly! First I would fly around the earth a few times, then further up to the moon, then to the milky way, then the next galaxy, then .. oh no I'm actually scared, I hate super powers!
Rico: Haha, yeah me too! All these awful super hero movies ruined it for me.
Listen to True on their Bandcamp.