Rebecca and Fiona: Swedish EDM Duo Is Ready to Take on America
Rebecca Scheja and Fiona Fitzpatrick, known to EDM aficionados as Rebecca and Fiona, are two performers on the rise. Their collaborations with Kaskade, Adrian Lux, and Basutbude have earned them recognition in their homeland, Sweden, but with the release of their debut I Love You Man (due Tuesday, July 10 via Ultra Music), the twosome looks to take on the North American market, where the popularity of EDM is booming.
But while I Love You Man features the electronic textures of modern club music, the songwriting is decidedly old-school, owing nearly as much to the classic synth-pop of Robyn or The Pet Shop Boys as it does the chilly vibes of Tiesto or David Guetta.
"We wanted to make something that would last," Fitzpatrick said via telephone. "It's a bit more organic than a regular EDM collection of songs."
The duo is headed to Scottsdale, courtesy of EDM brokers Relentless Beats. We spoke with Fitzpatrick via telephone, and discussed the record, the exploding popularity of electronic music, and the unlikely inspiration of synth-punk masters Suicide.
The electronic dance thing is very, uh, short-lived sometimes. A song is popular for a month and then people get tired of it, because it's so intensely played. All the DJs play it, it's all over the place. We wanted to make something that wasn't just contemporary, something you could have at home and listen to. -- Fiona Fitzpatrick
Up on the Sun: You guys are finally heading over to America. Is that an exciting prospect?
Fiona Fitzpatrick: We're extremely excited. It's the most fun thing we've ever done, actually. We're having the time of our lives.
You guys have had a fun career so far from the looks of it -- but electronic music is really breaking in America in a way that it hasn't for a couple of decades. I imagine you guys have noticed that. Where we come from, it's a big explosion in the same way. It's not as big in Sweden [as it is in America]. That's why it's so fun to come here, and it's booming. The big audiences are exciting. It's not only a subculture.
Right. The lines have never been more blurred between mainstream pop and electronic music here in America. It's a very exciting time for EDM performers like yourself. Certainly. It's really really fun. It's a big scary. It's a bit out of control. We're so used to playing to a specific audience at Ibiza or underground clubs, but now the audience is so big and open-minded, it's a different kind of performance.
How so? This audience is more used to going to a normal pop or rock concert. The expectations from that and going to a dance music concert is a bit different. It's kind of like going to a party; you have to participate in the concert in a way. You can't just stand and look at the audience.
You have to move. That's what people are so excited about. It's part of the event.
I Love You Man finds you going out of your way to combine some very traditional pop songwriting with electronic production. Was that a conscious effort, to create songs as opposed to strictly party music? We wanted to make something that would last. The electronic dance thing is very, uh, short-lived sometimes. A song is popular for a month and then people get tired of it, because it's so intensely played. All the DJs play it, it's all over the place. We wanted to make something that wasn't just contemporary, something you could have at home and listen to. It's a bit more organic than a regular EDM collection of songs. It's a combination between pop and rock, '80s and '90s pop, and contemporary dance music.
What kind of songwriters influenced this record? We're very inspired by a band called Suicide.
Alan Vega and Martin Rev? The rockabilly/drum machine stuff? What about their records spoke to you? We like the depth. It's so melodic and catchy but very dark. We would almost call it party music, even though it's really not.
A very special kind of a party, I think. [Laughs] Yeah. We wouldn't play it in our shows. But we really like bands like Phoenix, Miike Snow, and Vampire Weekend.
Do you think that globally the sound of bands like Phoenix and electronic sounds have grown closer together? Four or five years ago bands started being remixed by Justice or Soulwax. Phoenix was getting popular, and I guess that's what started happening, collaborations. The dance scene kind of took the pop and is almost owning it at the moment. Sometimes it seems like a house remix, like a Tiesto remix of Coldplay, will be bigger than the original on radio.
We had a very intense friendship and I think the ["Bullets"] video kind of paints a picture of that in a screwed up way.
Tell me about this "reality show" you guys had in Sweden. We did it on a public channel owned by the government. It's free . . . it was focused on new music and culture and they have TV shows that don't have to be commercial; they don't have to have a lot of viewers, as long as its picking up different parts of culture in a meaningful way. We had a documentary about us in 12 parts. It was about us touring and making music. I wouldn't go as far as to call it a reality show. It's not juicy or anything, you know?
There's a big difference between a documentary and American reality television. Exactly. It's not a selling point at all, you know? We thought it was going to be very small, but it blew up. I don't really know why. Maybe because the dance music culture is so trendy, and people are interested in what DJs do. We weren't at all prepared for it.
How long ago did you shoot it? It was two years ago, so just at the beginning of our DJ career. The lives we had then are very different from what we have now. So we feel pretty distant from it, but it's nothing we're ashamed of. It's us at a very young part of our career. We would not be presented the same way two years later. We were really poor [laughs].
So maybe it would be juicier now. [Laughs] Now we could make it every month and it would be different.
I imagine this documentary would be very different than the "Bullets" video. Yeah, but someways the "Bullets" video resembles the life we had because we lived in the same apartment and was pretty junky. We always had four friends staying over and it was really small. We had a very intense friendship and I think the video kind of paints a picture of that in a screwed up way.
I imagine it was a little exaggerated. You guys weren't stealing bikes back then, were you? Kind of! That's a way of showing how we do everything together.
Are you going to be performing DJ sets or performing live? It will be DJ sets in Arizona, but we're working on live performance. We won't be doing the concert thing, because we always go back to the that were are DJs, and the culture of DJs in clubs, but we are developing a live set for special occasions.
Rebecca and Fiona are scheduled to perform Friday, July 13, at Wild Knight in Scottsdale.
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