Blue Hawaii, made up of Raphaelle Standell-Preston (aka Ra) and Alexander Cowan (aka Agor) have followed a distinctive path over the past seven years. The Montreal-based electro pop duo’s chilling sophomore record of 2013, Untogether, was released simultaneously with the breakup of their romantic relationship, followed by extensive touring, still maintaining their professional and musical bonds. On Oct. 6, Blue Hawaii released Tenderness, their third full-length that Arbutus Records calls “a concept album which brings forth the challenges of handling relationships online.” Before they play Good Room on Thursday, Oct. 19, Blue Hawaii shared their go-to grooves while they’re on the road this month.
The songs you chose for this playlist are created by artists all around the world–Germany, Japan, Canada, etc– do you think that certain countries have their own distinct sounds when it comes to dance music or electronic music?
That probably used to be more true, but by now we draw inspiration from stuff far beyond national borders. Also people make music and build communities based on social and cultural needs just as much as around certain sounds.
Do some of these international sounds influence you to diversify your own sets or your music?
As an artist it’s pretty important to be connected and relevant to the world around you. We read a quote from someone involved with discwoman recently saying something like ‘making music in a vacuum in 2017 makes no sense’… which really sums things up nicely. I think that’s true both for the social/cultural reasons as well as sound sculpting. You have to be trying pretty hard NOT to be influenced by things past your own backyard. Going on soundcloud and finding stuff that has >1K streams from places all over the world is a really direct and cool way to interact with new sounds and artists.
Toni Moralez – EVRY TIME (I CLOSE MY EYES): This tune was uploaded a couple weeks ago and is just plain fun 😉 Another gem from Toni Moralez you can find on Soundcloud is: HER NECK, HER BACK (ONLY TOUCH HER IF SHE WANTS 2)
Terio – 遠い: Is this vapourwave? More than that, it’s just really cute haha…
Ciel – erhu jam: This is similar in sound palette but actually danceable
You chose two tracks that are influenced by Japan and anime. What draws you to that?
That was just from a soundcloud dive one day. I guess it’s pretty internet-y, don’t think we’ll be taking vapourwave to the grave or anything, those tracks just had a unique kind of sound going on and were a bit slower. The kind of anime we like is the Ghibli sort (who doesn’t) that feels so lifted and human, something so powerful and moral about the lessons in those films.. and the drawings are so pretty.
Tenderness is all about “challenges of handling relationships online.” Do you think some of these challenges, like isolation, miscommunication, and lacking physical intimacy are relevant to strictly forming fan bases, sharing music, and forming musical relationships online on platforms like Soundcloud and YouTube?
ahah I don’t think we were really considering that but into this idea. the way algorithms determine which music is going to be heard is both really cool and kinda scary. a computer makes a decision of what you’re going to hear and who/what is going to be shared. it’s important to remember that machine learning can also carry the bais of the human behaviour which creates it.
Kevin Griffiths – Fat Yak: This is that kind of house music that probably sounds like total lounge music to a lot of people. Kevin G has a special touch though. So dang cleaaaaaan. Cuts through a set. Makes people dance without forcing them too. Love that live percussion loop…
DJ Zozi – Mellow Vibe: This is from last year, just a mellow vibe, ya dig?
When you’re on the road, are you more likely to choose a dance-y track or a mellow track?
mellow, baby, during the day
keep that beat going all nite long
What can fans expect from your live show?
we re-invented all the songs to be played on two older Korg electribes and an access virus B synth & a DJ mixer… with live vocals and looping etc. it’s kinda a cool early 00’s setup.
photos by http://www.sarahodriscoll.com/
Interview by Natalia Barr