One day on Myspace fate set its course when George Reid approached Aluna Francis’ then band My Toys Like Me to remix one of their songs. Aluna and George soon lit creative fires in each other so bright that they decided combine their wonder twin powers to transform into the electro-pop duo AlunaGeorge. We spoke to the man behind the noises. [Aluna]George let us in on the early bedroom × beach blanket recording sessions, finding a superstar, what their music is and where it would be best enjoyed.
What’s your favourite color?
I dunno. Green.
What’s your zodiac sign?
Not sure. I want to say Capricorn. Late December.
Sagittarius? What’s Aluna’s?
She’s just had a birthday, but I can’t say what it is right now.
Probably Cancer. So what’s your least favourite question to be asked?
Probably “Describe your music.”
Oh… that was my next question.
[Laughs.] I think I can do it, man. If you need me to do it, I’ll do it.
Eclectic beats with simple songs written over the top. Or funny little beats and noises paired with a nice song that goes over the top of the noises.
Where would an AlunaGeorge song best be enjoyed?
There’s a couple on the album that would best be enjoyed with someone you hold close to yourself in a bedroom. I think that would work out quite well.
You used to play guitar. How long did it take you to learn to produce music.
I’ve been learning slowly but surely since I was 16. I’m 25 now. When I started, it was before every bit of information was available on the internet. So I think it was a slower process than it is now. But I’m glad it took that long, and I’m learning still.
What’s the strangest noise you ever sampled?
There are [sounds] that are Aluna that people haven’t picked up on yet. There’s a song called Attracting Flies, and in the beginning it sounds like a flute, but that’s actually Aluna.
You guys were in other bands separately before you started your duo. How did your respective bands react when you went off to do your own thing?
Well, mine was over for a few months. And they were very supportive. It felt good. But Aluna’s band was slightly different. She was writing with me like twice a week and the rest of the time writing with them. And even before we said “Let’s be a band,” we were literally just writing. After a while, they got bored of her attention being split and said “You gotta do one of the other. This isn’t working out.” So she picked the option of writing with me.
How did you guys meet?
It was over Myspace, man. I messaged her band and asked if I could remix one of their songs. They let me, and that’s pretty much how we met. I was meant to do some writing and production for them for their second album.
Why did you guys click so well?
I think we found something in each other, musically, that the other one was missing. Beyond that, we just got on really well immediately. We just complimented each other nicely from the start.
What did you think when you first met her?
The first time we met was with her bandmate who I had been communicating with. So I’m with Aluna and this guy named Gus, and we were just geeking out over equipment stuff or whatever. And my immediate reaction was she was just sort of fun and sweet. And after that, when I got to know her, maybe a few weeks later or a month, I started getting the feeling of why aren’t you a huge superstar? I couldn’t figure out why the opportunity hadn’t come her way before.
So you guys moved into a studio together to record the album?
We had our London-based studio. But it was really sort of a day-to-day place of work. You’d go in and write music then run off. After a while, we moved to a residential studio for a week just to get away from London. And it was really productive. I’ve never done something like that before. Fortunately, we didn’t get much signal on our phones, and the internet was really bad. So all we had to do was write music, and that’s what we did. It was really good. I think it’s because there’s so many distractions all the time now. It’s quite often very hard to completely cut yourself off from your friends to pursue something creatively. But it was really beneficial. I mean we got like two songs out of it that are actually on the album – Superstar and Outlines – they were slightly more personal songs because we were out there looking at each other like, “So… what do you want to talk about?”
Where were you guys recording before you had any support?
In my bedroom. There are songs on the album that we recorded in my bedroom like You Know You Like It, which was recorded up against a beach towel in my bedroom. Your Drums, Your Love was recorded there. Bad Idea. We still have the same set up. The only thing that’s different is we have a room that’s soundproof. It’s still a computer, a keyboard and a microphone, really.
What do you have to have when you go to record a song?
Not much. I prefer a computer. The computer has to have a mouse these days. I use a Macintosh computer, and I can’t get along with the new trackpad. Aluna would prefer some daylight, but that doesn’t come standard with most recording studios in London.
What’s your favorite track from the album?
Uh… I like them all, man. But there’s one called Superstar, which is about my dad. So, I like that one a lot. It’s nice to have that there.
Is there anything going on in music that you just don’t like?
Something I miss is the mystique – not knowing everything about everyone via social media and such. When I was younger, someone like Thom Yorke from Radiohead – you’d have to really read into the interview and build up these visions of the people because you’d really only see them in the interviews or performing. You weren’t saturated with information about them. I miss that.
Body Music is released in Australia on July 26 on Island UK/UMA.