Katrina Natttress: Your debut LP, The Bad Ones, is about to be released! Are you super excited?
Cari Rae: There's literally no words to describe how stoked I am!
Nattress: Are you doing anything special for the release?
Asher: We got invited to some fancy bourgeoisie dinner party that has nothing to do with us. It's either that or solo whiskey shots.
Rae: A toast or 10 is definitely going down.
Nattress: You’ve been garnering some buzz after releasing your EP, Dark Roots. Does this create any added pressure for your LP release?
Rae: I wouldn't say pressure, really. We both have so much confidence in these songs as we've grown together with this project immensely since the EP, and we're really thankful that so many people discovered us from Dark Roots.
Asher: Pressure is a good thing. I think people just want to hear what we have to say.
Nattress: You self-released Dark Roots and worked with famed producer Nicolas Vernhes on the new album. This must have been a big transition for you. Tell me about it.
Rae: Working with Nico was so inspiring. He really got to know us and helped tailor the vocal recording experience with my atypical style. He really is a genius when it comes to getting the best possible sound for the material and the individual.
Nattress: How did you get connected with Vernhes?
Asher: We had been in contact with quite a few people over the course of a few months and nothing really felt right. Nico had heard the demos, and had a very positive reaction to them. We talked on the phone for an hour and immediately knew he was the right one. It was a relief.
Natttress: What was it like to work with him?
Asher: The process was relaxing and always exciting because we were unsure if we were going to finish it in time. He encouraged us and my ability as a producer and songwriter so much during the process and we're eternally grateful to him. Some of the things I'd recorded in our demo sessions ended up on the album because he thought the sound was perfect. It was this really beautiful contrast of neat polished studio sounds versus piano's I'd recorded with my phone's built in microphone.
Rae: It was like a dream, that's the best way to describe it. He would turn the lights down low and say, "Now imagine you're in a dark lit ballroom... singing to your one true love who's leaving for months abroad... etc", and just lay out this whole visual scenario to illustrate the sound he wanted from us. He knew how to translate it to me, because he knew the different styles in which I sing are evoked almost entirely through emotions.
Nattress: Aside from releasing the record, you are releasing its single, “Time,” with covers of Dirty Projectors’ “Gun Has No Trigger,” and Lana Del Rey’s “Born To Die” as its B-side. What made you decide to add these covers?
Asher: Well, I was on the train humming the opening melody to "Born To Die" and kind of got obsessed with the idea of turning it into a pseudo-James Bond song. I think underneath all of the bombast of the original was just a very beautiful melody. The second cover came from multiple conversations I had with Nicolas about "Gun Has No Trigger.” We both thought the song was incredible and would always remark how the title reminded us of a Bond movie or song. I have a feeling that Dave Longstreth won't be too fond of it.
Nattress: You’ve been compared to other boy/girl synth pop outfits like Tennis and Cults. Do you agree with these comparisons?
Asher: Not at all. It's flattering to get those comparisons, but I think what we do is musically and inspirationally coming from a completely different place than those bands. I'm interested to hear what they'll compare us to after the full length comes out.
Rae: Yeah, I'm really thinking those comparisons will fizzle out once the full length is released, but I can see how we get them being a boy/girl pop band.
Nattress: Fashion seems to be a large factor in your band as well. You have modeled for aNYthing’s Summer 2012 Lookbook and Nylon this year. Anything else in the works?
Rae: I love the fashion side of being a musician. It has so much to do with the sound you're translating and how you feel. It's awesome that we're being recognized for our style, and I think it just means more people are really getting into what we're saying through the music.
Asher: We also modeled Jack Henry's fall collection for ILWYW.com a couple weeks back. We've got some more shoots set up for the next few months, which is great because I think they're a lot more enjoyable than just plain band promo photos.
Nattress: You get to play with some killer bands this summer. You’ve played with Mates of State and Surfer Blood, as well as playing alongside The Hold Steady, Blonde Redhead and Cults during the inaugural Brooklyn, Sweden festival in August. How does it feel to be a part of that?
Asher: I always feel like we're frauds when we're sharing the stage with these other bands to packed rooms. We've been very fortunate and I'm incredibly thankful for all of these opportunities. It's all stemmed from chance encounters, too. I met Jason and Kori from Mates one night when I went over to Nicolas' studio to get some of the session files to bounce for a remix. They heard the album and loved it. They've been extremely supportive and offering help in so many ways. The most helpful is that Jason will be coming with us to Sweden to fill in on the drums!
Rae: It's so awesome! I get to sing these songs we adore, then sit around and watch all of these great acts who I've been listening to for years in headphones for free.
Nattress: What’s next for Blonds?
Rae: Anything and everything.