Even if you haven’t heard of UNDERHER yet, you’ll soon be hearing their music everywhere. Hailing from Montreal (and now based in Berlin), the live electronic duo have already had their music featured in multiple Netflix dramas, and have officially remixed Moby, U2 and Booka Shade. A heady combination of breathy vocals and dark electronic production, their sultry sound immediately caught our attention. Fresh off the back of the release of their sophomore EP ‘Dark Souls’ we caught up with the duo to find out more.
Hi UNDERHER! Please could you give us a brief introduction to you as an act?
We are a live music duo consisting of Kalden Bess, producer and sound engineer for the last 11 years in the techno industry, and Jessica Abruzzese, songwriter and singer for the last 13 years. We’ve incorporated our diverse backgrounds and infused sensuality into techno/deep melodic house music.
Your new EP Dark Souls comes out on the 23rd. Could you give us a bit of a background to the two original tracks on here - where and when were they made, and what is the inspiration behind them?
‘Dark Souls’ was one of the first tracks we wrote a little over 2.5 years ago in Montreal. The theme revolves around growth and the need to move on to something better. There’s an undeniable element of mystery to the sound, which ties in with the symbolism of imaginary travels to other worlds.
‘Strained Are We’ was written over a year ago in light of the attacks in Syria. It reflects the position of a victim during the crisis. The track is enhanced with a deep sound and a haunting and powerful synth line. We also wrote this in Montreal.
There’s also three remixes from the upcoming producers Strinner, Dorfler and Koa. Could you give us some background on these acts? What is it about their approach that you like so much?
Strinner is a very talented producer from the UK. We love the way he builds suspense and depth in his sound. He really knows how to take you on a journey, and that aligns with our music big time.
Dorfler is from Vienna, his sound is very ethereal and spacey. He knows how to marry vocals and music, and this was an important factor for us. We also have another awesome upcoming remix with him.
Koa is from Russia, and makes trip hop music. We heard his remix of Lana del Rey’s ‘High by the Beach’ and thought it was so sexy. We were eager to have him add his spin on one of our tracks.
You’ve previously “unofficially” released a lot of your music via free downloads on Soundcloud, but this is only your second “official”, properly distributed EP. How have you found the process of formally releasing your music? Have there been any challenges or is it just a relief to get it out there properly?
When we began releasing our music for free, it was really in an attempt to introduce ourselves to the world and get some feedback. We definitely feel that we’ve found our place and our sound in this industry. We are ready for a proper release, also due to great guidance from our manager. We have almost 3 years worth of tracks, so we wanted to strategically release them and we believe adding the remixes in just complements the overall discovery of the music.
You’ve got a few DIY video clips and live performances on your Youtube, will you be looking to release any official music videos in the future too?
We definitely want to release some official music videos in the future. It’s a matter of time.
Tell us about how your music came to be featured on the Spanish Netflix series ‘Elite’? Were you happy with the way your tracks were used?
Our manager introduced our music to a Netflix representative. She ended up really appreciating our sound and she’s worked wonders in getting us featured. We couldn’t be happier with the placement of the tracks. ‘Strained Are We’ plays in a threesome scene, which is hard to forget as it builds up the scene tremendously. ‘Dark Souls’ plays in the party scene, which also suits us well.
You are both from Montreal - what can you tell us about the musical scene in this city? Where are the best places to go to check out the latest upcoming talents?
Montreal is a very artistic city. The electronic music scene is growing little by little. There are some well known clubs that showcase some great talent, such as Stereo, Newsspeak and also some great outdoor festivals like Igloofest and Piknic Électronique.
You also recently moved to Berlin. How have you found the change? What are the main differences or things that have struck you between these two cities?
In terms of similarities, both are multicultural and open minded. However Berlin is so special in regards to musical inspiration and activity. It really is the heart of the electronic music scene as it’s been cultivated over years. It’s been a fairly easy transition, we are really enjoying being here and have met so many amazing artists.
Continuing on the travel note, you’ve played at a real variety of countries, including Lebanon, Tunisia, Dubai and Switzerland. How do you find these different crowds? Are there any gigs that have really stood out? And do you have any plans to come here to London??
We would love to play in London, and I'm sure we'll find ourselves there sometime next year. But each city has its vibe. We can’t say we have any favourite gig per se because every performance has been special in its own way and the crowds have been great. However we’ll always remember our performance in Lebanon because the video of us playing there was the reason our manager approached us. And the UNDERHER journey has been rolling since then.
And finally, is there anything exciting coming up in 2019 that you can share with us?
A lot of releases upcoming. Remixes, albums, you name it. There will be nonstop UNDERHER action in 2019.
'Dark Souls' is out now on Beatport