Artist of the Week: Rococode

Rococode -the Vancouver electro-pop duo of Andrew Braun and Laura Smith- have finally come out with some new, long-anticipated music last month! But their latest EP Panic Attack doesn't mean that they've done their duty for putting out music and that they'll go back into recluse for another few years, like so many bands. It's actually a teaser for their upcoming full-length, which spawned so many questions in my (Jess) mind that I had to call up Andrew Braun this weekend and ask him about it. Here's some of our conversation:

photo by Lynol Lui

photo by Lynol Lui

Jess: How was New York? Why did you chose to start your tour in New York?

Andrew: It was just the way that the tiing of CMJ and when we finally got our stuff together to put the thing [EP] out. It wasn't like 'Hey we're going to NY to do this stuff,' it just kind of worked that way. All coincidence. That was basically based around doing the CMJ showcase stuff.

Jess: Do you go a lot?

Andrew: I wouldn't say a lot but it is always definitely a good time. It's kind of just awesome to just walk around and be there and watch people. Worth the trip alone.

Jess: Did CMJ go well?

Andrew: It went really well we had a chance to meet a bunch of people we'd been working with, and it's nice to put faces to email addresses and we had a lot of people out to the shows.

Jess: Do you have any Vancouver shows that you can spill with me, even though they aren't announced yet?

Andrew: No. I have no secrets. We're just kind of buying our time here. We haven't been able to put one together .

Jess: So you just put out the EP but you're putting out a full length in less than 6 months... aren't you super busy?

Andrew: We're just getting ready to go on a little tour next week. That's kind of busy but it's just a little week-long western Canada tour, nothing we haven't seen before. This EP is basically like a preview sort of thing for the record. I think a couple... maybe one song will be on the record. We're still getting the preparation of everthing else on the move, the videos and this and that.

Jess: Are you working on creative stuff or mostly business stuff at the moment?

Andrew: Our creative contribution is mostly yes/no/yes/no when it come to art. We're really excited, I really like that stuff. We alwas work with the same people and we get excited about what they're going to do. We click on the visual side of things, I enjoy it because it's not stressful. Music videos, packaging..., I really like that process of figuring it out even though I don't really contribute a lot other than my opinons.

Jess: What do you do to stay creative when you're not in the music writing stage?

Andrew: Mostly me and Laura we've been working on a bunch of remixes for other bands. It's a new thing, it's pretty fun and definitely a way to keep the creativity rolling in a different avenue. [We] sort of discover what other peple are up to. It's a nice way to learn about these things... nothing is released yet but we'll see how that goes.

Jess: How was it working with Humans for the remix on your EP?

Andrew: Great, we alwas had weird chance encounters, like just on the street, and I really like their sort of mix of pop and club sort of sensitivity, which is something I really enjoy about what they do. Iit's still catchy even though I wouldn't be super into house music, but they do a really good job of keeping it really poppy. Something I like to listen to as well as expand it into party mode. I don't really know the club side, but that's what I imagine.

Jess: What was the goal of having the remix on the EP?

Andrew: It's kind of the same as the art thing, we don't realy contribute any sort of direction to that, it was just sort of 'hey, you guys do your thing with this' and they did, and I really like that as well.

Jess: Does hearing another perspective of your song through the remix make you reconsider your song writing?

Andrew: Not realy, I think it's really intersting seeing what elements the remixer will gravitate to and what they'll pull out. It doesn't really make me think backwards particuarly about the song but its definitely an intriguing process.

There's a big difference between what remix used to be -just sort of put a dance beat behind something and that's the remix- but I think it's kind of evolved into something that's a total reimagining. Or like in this one, it just kind of took, basically took 2 or 3 vocal lines and made a completely different song out of the whole thing.

Jess: Is that what you and Laura do when you work on a remix?

Andrew: I'm still tyring to keep them as pop song , so I'm still keeping them in that form. Like, they still have a chorus and a verse and things like that, I like to sort of take little snippets of things that are kind of like more deeply burried in the recording and make those into important things.

Jess: So you flip it?

Andrew: Yeah, I kind of find a tiny little guitar squeak or something like that and mess aroud with those things.

Jess: What was the story or meaning behind Banks? It's a little coded!

Andrew: Well, Laura would say, I would say too but she's the one that would talk about it, it's sort of our little protest song about the way the world has gotten, I guess. And sort of trying to break down everything and reimagine the way that we exist in the world and get back to sort of a more peaceful planet, I guess. Using a bank and monetary constraints and all this life that we have here and... does that sound convoluted? It's just basicaly kind of about trying to break away from where we're at in the world in terms of everything and the environment and oh... capitalist counstruct shit and all of that. Especialy living in vancouver where it's getting harder and harder to exist.