Origin: Quebec City, Canada
We sat with Jeremy of Electric Neon Clouds this week and learned about the upcoming synth-duo from Quebec, Canada. Read about their creative process, influences, and more below. Check out a snippet of the interview on our IGTV / Youtube but most importantly, listen to their music (links below).
Who are you, where are you guys from, and what do you do?
We are Electric Neon Clouds. We are a duet, even though on the pictures and we're now two. I'm one half with my brother Tommy. We're from Canada and we're making electronic synth-pop music with a lot of 80s influences as well as modern pop stuff. Our upcoming music even like urban and hip hop influences. It's a big mashup of all the different pop areas. We're from Quebec province, actually Quebec City.
How did you guys develop your style?
We played for almost seven years for another project, which was punk rock like blink 182. We've been playing together for 10 years now even though Electric Neon Clouds is a year and a half old. Actually we finished a pretty long tour with our old band and we got back in the studio. I worked on songs for probably two or three years without releasing anything. By the time we decided to start a new project. I started listening to a lot of electronic music and a lot of 80s and I started being interested in synth. So that was a natural transition from rock indie rock to more pop sounds. At first, it was a studio project. Basically, we released our first EP in 2018 and not a single song was played as a band. We had no idea how this thing would sound like live. It was released in December 2018 and it took almost a full year before we did our first full-band live show because we had to figure out how we're going to play those songs. I always write alone with my computer, my synth, and my stuff. And then Tommy adds drums and we record drums. Everything is recorded separately. So basically, as they do it, the live set feels like twentyonepilots, I'd say. I play guitar, bass, keyboard, vocal, and Tommy plays drums, samples and vocal.
How was the creative process making the "Memories" EP?
Actually, the three EPs were written and recorded all at the same time. But the "Memories" EP was the main part, as this start of the project. We wanted to set what our sound was like so that's why we have the power-pop and the 80s influenced the ocean and stuff but "Memories" for us was the main component of that three EP sequence. The main song, which is "Hello," was written in 2017. That song was the moment I realized that I wanted to do modern pop and synth-pop music and it actually started because at some point I wanted to be able to work alone because my brother was not always available, and recording drums were pretty loud. I was living with them at my parents' house back then. I started experimenting with drum machines basically. It was not even a choice. It was just to be able to work and write music. I started to mess around with drum machines. It was just to mess around and I wrote that song in a day and it was the first time for years that I felt like that's what we have to do, and I really feel good making that music. From that, I wrote probably another 20 to 25 songs, and we ended up keeping 16 and during the recording of the EPs, we actually dropped some songs and we ended up with four themes. Those three EPs were all made at the same time. But the different one is really the last one, which is B-sides. We feel like our older rock influences a lot more in those songs. And that's why we wanted to release them cause we liked them, but they're so different from memories.
Since you mentioned some of your influences, who are some of your influencers?
The biggest influence is the 1975. I think anybody who knows me knows that. But we have a lot of 80s influences, like Bruce Springsteen, Tears For Fears, Depeche Mode. We have a lot of modern stuff. You don't really hear it that much, but I love Post Malone and modern pop and alternative stuff. CHVRCHES is a really big influence. Bleachers is one of our big ones. That pretty much sums up the big portraits.
I'm glad you mentioned Post Malone. He expresses a lot of alternative rock in some songs. Is there something that you always aim to convey in your songs?
Even though there's a lot of different sounds, the vocal energy is really the central part. We have slower songs, but the power and the vocal always stay the same. And that's what connects everything together. Songs like "Heartless" was just for me. I bought, at the time, my first sampler and I just messed around with it for hours because I had something in my head really clear and it took only the loop you hear in the first couple of seconds. It seems like nothing but it's probably like 90% of the songs for me. A lot of our songs, if you listen carefully, have a lot of percussions, samples, and stuff. Some songs have 10 drum tracks or 25 tracks of little percussion samples and it gives a vibe to the song that you can recognize, even though it's a different vibe. Even the slow piano songs have a lot of stuff moving around always, and that's really something I love to do, but I think it can differentiate our music from others. The goal is to take the best and everything you love from the musicians and bands you, and it's okay to have influences, I have a lot of them. But in the end, what I like & what I try to do is take little bits here and there, but have something that makes it original that it's just not like that.
Fast forward to the current state of where we're at. You mentioned you guys are currently creating music, how has that been going for you guys?
We are actually working on our first LP. At first, we wanted to do other EPs but we felt like it was the right time to do our first LP. I'm working a lot on that right now. I'd say it's pretty different from what we released before. The synth-pop sounds are still there. But we have one song, for example, where the drumbeat is more like trap. We pushed the modern influence a little further and we removed, I'd say, a little bit of the 80s but it's still there. We have a lot of piano songs. There's a lot of pianos, "epic pop", like over the top drums. If somebody liked what we did before, they'll probably like what we're doing now. But if somebody does not like the little rock side of what we did, they might prefer what we do now cause the rock side is pretty much pushed on the side right now. I'm actually in the studio right now. I was just recording vocals this morning, so I don't really have an idea how and when it's going to be released. We talked before about the production and how we make the songs. We have a lot of vocals that you probably heard on the EPs and we have on the new stuff. A lot of the songs were written with my part already doubling with an octave higher part and always doubling with an octave lower part. And actually the octave lower is my other brother who's now left the band. But he still likes recording the parts cause I just can't do them. So we want to take the time to fully produce the thing to the point we feel like we have in our head. Anyway, there's no point scheduling anything. So we decided to just take our time and make a better version of this album.
Since we're nearing the end, and I like to ask artists this, what are you currently listening to?
I recently came back to a Canadian band called Half Moon Run, I don't know if you know them, but I listened to them for a couple of years and I recently came back to them. It's like indie-folk stuff but the 1975 record really took a lot of place and I had to listen to the leak when it leaked last week. I recently discovered Shallou, a producer of ambient electronic but I listened to a lot of his new album. It's just great. I discovered him two or three weeks ago and I was blown away at how I never listened to what he's doing before. I've been listening to his latest album pretty much every day when I walk because I live far away enough from the studio and work to be able to listen to full albums. Every day I try to choose a new album to listen to on my way and that's why I like to walk because that's the only moment I'm concentrated enough to really appreciate music because I feel like we lost the moments where we just sit down and listen to music. We're overstimulated by everything. So when I walk, the only thing I have to concentrate on is to walk and listen to music. If a new album comes out and I really want to listen to it, I just go for a walk for no reason. But that's the only moment that I have a deep appreciation of what I'm listening to.
I'm glad you mentioned that. The loss of actually feeling the music and actually sitting down and listening to it has been decreasing slowly over time because most people focus on top 40 music and what they're fed.
I don't blame people for that because as a musician, I have to dig for new stuff. So if you're not passionate about music, I totally understand that. You don't have time or the energy to search for stuff. I want to discover stuff and I have to work and dig into playlists and dig on YouTube and Spotify to find new stuff. There's so much music that is just put in front of you. There's already too much stuff that you can listen instantly. So I don't blame anybody to not like listen. I'll go listen to the 125th song on that weird playlist.
Don't forget to check out Electric Neon Clouds on Instagram!