Today I’d like to introduce you to a soulful electro-pop duo ‘Tropic’! Tropic is comprised of singer/songwriter Jo-B Sebastian and DJ/ Producer Phuse (Jarel Hill). I got to pick the duos minds on their music (including their latest single) and much more. Check it out below …

I always start out with an easy and quick question. So CD or Vinyl?

Jo-B: Vinyl! My parents kept a bunch of records around the house and firing up the record player was always a big event when I was a kid.

Jarel: I burned so many CD’s in high school. CD’s helped me talk to girls, so I’m gonna have to give this one to them. Thank you CD’s.

So for my readers who don’t know how did Tropic come to be?

Tropic: We met through a mutual friend, We heard each other’s music and both became a fan of the other. We started chatting on Facebook messenger, which led to Jarel remixing Jo-B’s single, and eventually we started working on our first single together, “Breathe Again”. We actually didn’t meet until maybe 4 months after we started working together. We finally met when Jarel invited Jo-B to his birthday party. We started playing with other ideas, one song turned into another, and another until we realized we worked better as a pair, and Tropic was born!

So you just dropped your debut EP “Bittersweet”. Can you tell me more about the creative and writing process behind that?

Jo-B: I actually heard the early sketch of “Bittersweet” before we even started collaborating on “Breathe Again”. Our mutual friend was listening to it one day and I remember thinking, “oh my God, I need to get on this song somehow.” It was just the perfect soundscape, equal parts electronic and R&B, a bit of a throwback without sounding dated. When I brought it up to Jarel, he admitted that he had no idea where he wanted to go with it and that he was considering just shelving the track. We agreed to work on it together and I sat at the piano, put the track on loop, and came up with a chord progression, wrote the lyrics and melody and sent it his way. It’s been the most collaborative and organic process I’ve experienced working in music. Each song containing elements intrinsic to ourselves as individuals, combined to make something uniquely Tropic.

Jarel: All of the songs on our EP started off with a rough draft of something I have been fiddling around with. Once I come up with something that I feel Jo-B can sing to, I send it his way. If he likes it from there, it’s a back and forth process until we’re both 100% happy with it. Whenever I get back the vocals from him, it always changes the way I think about the song. Also chopping up his voice has been a huge part of all the songs on the EP. Jo-B even contributed additional chord progressions, bass rhythms and melodies, so it’s truly been a team effort.

Let’s talk about your new Earth Wind and Fire cover. Why did you choose September? What were you hoping to convey that was new and fresh with this cover?

Tropic: We made this list of songs to cover and this song was at the top of both of our lists so we decided to try it. They’re also one of our top bands of all time so we really wanted to do it justice. It’s the most feel-good song in the world and our EP was pretty melancholic, so it made for a perfect contrast.

What lyric from ‘September’ do you find yourself most drawn to?

Jo-B: “Our hearts were ringing / in the key that our souls were singing”. I like the imagery of heart and soul being perfectly in sync and in tune.

Jarel: “Love was changing the minds of pretenders”.

Where do you draw your biggest inspirations and influences from? In particularly on the “Bittersweet” EP?

Tropic: One of the things that brings us so closely together as musicians is how in sync our musical tastes and inspirations are with each other. We’re inspired by both the new and the classic. New being guys like SG Lewis, Majid Jordan, MNEK, Marian Hill and classic being Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson &, Earth, Wind and Fire.

Which musician would you like to collaborate with next? And Why?

Jo-B: There are so many artists I’d love to work with. It’d be an absolute dream come true to collaborate with Mariah Carey, she’s not only an untouchable vocalist but her songwriting abilities, while constantly overlooked, are just as inspiring to me. On a more contemporary note, I’d love to collaborate with SZA, MNEK, Tom Misch, and SG Lewis.

Jarel: SO many in so many genres! Right now I would love for us to link with a rapper. Goldlink, Amine, Anderson Paak. would be some of my dream collabs.

What lyric have you written means the most for each of you?

Jo-B: “Sun comes up as I come down / never one to say goodbye”. I wrote these lyrics during the tail-end of a relationship. I couldn’t sleep, my head was just racing with all these negative thoughts, I literally had to tire myself out and would finally drift off by sunrise.

Jarel: “Sheets are warm with the smell of you” really sticks out to me. It’s like something Jamie Foxx would say and I LOVE Jamie Foxx.

Are there any artists that have been “On Repeat” for you as a band lately? What music have you guys been digging?

Tropic: NAO, SG LEWIS, Disclosure and Majid Jordan have some new songs we’ve been enjoying. SZA’s Ctrl album is still in heavy rotation. And newcomers Blasko, Moli and Weslee came out with EP’s that we both love. We have also been waiting impatiently for that Bondax album.

Throwing in a fun one here… What’s your favorite ’90s jam

Jo-B: Tough, I love ‘90s music but I think it’s a tie between Mariah’s Heartbreaker Remix with Da Brat and Missy Elliot and Janet Jackson’s I Get Lonely. Can go wrong with Mariah and Janet!

Jarel: Pony by Ginuwine

And what’s next for Tropic?

Tropic: We’re getting out there and playing this new music. We’ve got two music videos coming up from the Bittersweet EP. We’ve got more covers, and some remixes to round out the end of the year. Also we may or may not have started working on our next project 😉

Anything else you guys would like to add? Thank you for your time!

Jo-B: Just wanted to take the time to thank you for having us! Grateful for the opportunity and we hope you all stay tuned. We’ve got big things coming, we’re just getting started!

Jarel: No, thank you! Great questions. Really appreciate your time. Cheers!!

Stream Bittersweet EP below:

Tropic // Bittersweet

Tropic Socials:

Tropic // Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tropicofficial

Tropic // Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tropicgrams/

Until then,
Brittney W.
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loom:ngs

Meet loom:ngs, a unique electronic music duo comprised of Zola Johnson and producer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Daniel Loumpouridis. With what began as a dorm room project soon became much more, their unique take on dark electronic music with cool synths, pop sensibilities and great melodies. This is a band you don’t want to miss.

“We want to use our musical and lyrical sensibilities to explore the relationship between what is being said and what is being heard.”  – LOOM:NGS

I got the chance to interview to loom;ngs just ahead of their release of their amazing cover of Joy Division‘s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart‘. We discuss Joy Division, why THIS song, and just music in general. Let’s get to know loom:ngs

Loom:ngs

Meet loom:ngs …

Hi, Zola and Daniel. Congrats on the new cover single ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’. Before we go into that …

1. Quick question … Coffee or Tea?

Daniel Loumpouridis: Tea, every time.

Zola Johnson: Depends how I’m feeling, but usually it’s tea at night, coffee in the morning.

2. Can you guys tell us how loom:ngs came to be? 

Daniel: The first time I met Zola was when we were both in college, I saw her play a couple of her original tunes at an open mic and it blew my mind. I walked right up and hugged her.

Zola: It was weird.

Daniel: It was weird. But then we started working together and we just kept making more and more music until eventually we realized we should probably just be doing this for real.

3. I absolutely love the cover of “Love Will Tear Us Apart”. You’ve managed to keep the original feeling while updating it. So can you tell what initially drew you guys to this song? Where you Joy Division fans prior?

Dan: Totally. We both grew up on 80’s pop and absolutely adore this song. We knew we wanted to cover a tune from that era, but once we looked up Ian Curtis’ lyrics it felt like it was meant to be. They’re so gut-wrenching and beautiful at the same time, but we felt like they got lost in the original arrangement, so we really wanted that to be a focus of our production.

4. Are themes of loss and love something that you guys feel most comfortable in telling? Or just telling about human relationships overall? Be it good or bad.

Zola: I always write and sing from my heart rather than my head. I’m definitely more comfortable talking about love and loss than something I’ve never experienced. Every song we write is true to us in some form or another, regardless of the actual narrative being sung. “Make This More” isn’t necessarily a true story, but that doesn’t mean that the emotion and feeling in the songwriting isn’t perfectly honest. It all comes from a place of authenticity, and for me that means it comes from a place of real emotion.

5. Where do you draw your biggest inspirations and influences from? In particularly for this song?

Dan: James Blake and Kanye West have written my bible when it comes to production. We always try to look at things from that perspective they seem to have where it’s like “okay, this is what people are doing, how can I do that but better?” They’re both pop musicians, yet they consistently defy and then redefine pop preconceptions. I could go on for days about those two. Specifically we wanted this song to feel like it lives in 2018 as much as the original feels like it lived in the 80’s. We have those classic trappy hi-hats that are everywhere now, some future bass-inspired synths, and lots of vocoder. You can’t go anywhere on the radio right now without hearing some combination of those three things.

6. What lyric from “Love Will Tear Us Apart” hits home for each of you the most?

Zola: “There’s a taste in my mouth / as desperation takes hold” is just so descriptive and honest. Absolutely haunting.

Dan: “Why is the bedroom so cold? / you’ve turned away on your side / is my timing that flawed?” just absolutely destroys me. Every time. Every freaking time.

7. If you could give any other Joy Division song the ‘loom:ngs’ treatment what would you choose? 

Zola: I think we could do some weird stuff to “She’s Lost Control”

Dan: I’ve been pushing for us to try out “Bizarre Love Triangle”. I know that’s New Order, but it’s kind of the same band so I’m counting it.

8. Are there any artists that have been “On Repeat” for you as a band lately? What music have you guys been digging? 

Zola: Hundred Waters, Vince Staples, LCD Soundsystem, Jamiexx, Lorde, and always a healthy dose of Radiohead.

9. Do you guys have any dream collaborations? 

Dan: I feel like Johnny Greenwood and I would get along real well musically. The man can arrange the hell out of a string section.

Zola: I’d love to work with Justin Vernon or Nicole Miglis from Hundred Waters. I relate so much to their lyricism and the way they approach songwriting.

10. And what’s next for loom:ngs?

Zola: Our first EP is coming out later in the summer, but that’s just the first step. We have so much music that we’re beyond excited to share, and an amazing live show that we’ve been working so hard on. This year is going to be filled with good things.

 

LWTUA COVER

➡️ Stream loom:ngs – ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ ⬅️

loom:ngs socials:

https://facebook.com/loomingsloomings
https://instagram.com/loomingsloomings
https://twitter.com/loomingsloomings
https://soundcloud.com/loomingsmusic
Until then,
Brittney W. 🙂 xx