The electric duo, fresh off the success of the summer release of `I Love You,… (Fredrik Skogkvist / MSO…)
America is the Wild West of electronic dance music today, and the Swedish house duo Rebecca & Fiona are fascinated by its native fauna.
“Coming to America from Sweden, it was so unusual to see that there’s an ‘EDM crowd’ here with the face paint and the boots,” says Fiona FitzPatrick, on a ledge inside the Venice branch of the coffee shop Intelligentsia. “It’s so different from Europe. We love the energy and respect it, but we were so startled by the EDM guys here — they’re so beefy!
“That’s so not sexy to me, ‘Bro-step,’” she adds, punching a reporter’s shoulder in mock rave-dude-camaraderie.
Beefy EDM bros who can salve their wounds at that dig — and anyone else who values crafty and charismatic neo-house — should catch the group Saturday at Exchange L.A., a victory-lap set after the summer U.S. release of the group’s debut full-length “I Love You, Man.”
Though already many times over platinum in its home country, the group has begun to make major inroads in the gold rush of American EDM while keeping its idiosyncrasies intact. The two have collaborated with the genre’s leading light, Kaskade, on a hit single “Turn It Down,” and a bevy of their own singles owe as much to 1980s Giorgio Moroder and their own country’s artisanal indie-pop as the neon-splattered fields at Electric Daisy Carnival.
“Bullets” and “Jane Doe” find the exact seam between the three-minute pop confections of Sweden’s Robyn and the long-form house structures that transform melodic hits into something more captivating. The duo are known for a breathy, detached vocal style (imagine the Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser trapped in a deep freezer), which balances the emotional rush of mixes that can dip to a meditative pace on tracks such as “Dance” and the acoustic-guitar-driven “If She Was Away.”
It’s a sound they forged in part to combat the plague of over-earnest and anonymous female house vocalists. “We hate most dance music with vocals,” FitzPatrick says, “all the melody is in the instrumentation and when someone’s wailing it doesn’t add anything.”
FitzPatrick and Rebecca Scheja were a hit at this year’s EDMBiz conference in Las Vegas, where they ripped on skeptical dance fans and critics who were somehow astonished that young women were capable DJs and producers.
And yet they don’t shy away from the star power that comes with being twentysomething women in an ocean of dude-liness at major U.S. raves (DJs such as Audrey Napoleon and Maya Jane Coles are helping rebut that as well). In the “Bullets” video, they subvert pop-video cliches by partying in their underwear in a creepy bathtub full of milk; “We Are Girls” tweaks a cover of Style of Eye’s “We Are Boys” to rib anyone sputtering in disbelief at young women who can beatmatch and wrangle Logic production software.
“When we play that one live, we definitely feel the girl power in the room, “ Scheja says, half-kidding and half-not. “We definitely want to inspire girls to produce. You don’t just want to be the girls singing on someone else’s house music. It’s more fun to be in control.”