INTERVIEW: Collarbones

by Hannah Galvin

Meeting over the Internet back in 2007, Travis Cook and Marcus Whale united their musical projects to create their electronic duo COLLARBONES. Placing themselves in the genre of “porn groove”, the fellas’ production could also be described as Chillwave and R’n’B which continues to strengthen as their musical career progresses.

Their catalogue consists of a variety of remixes and playlists, as well as their debut record Iconography that was released back in 2011. As an addition to this, Collarbones only just very recently released their sophomore LP Die Young.

Currently in the midst of their tour, Purple Sneakers caught up with Travis of the group to discuss influences, his long distance musical relationship and the progression of the group’s sound.

Apparently Marcus sooks when he doesn’t have the luxury of copious amounts of pineapple juice in his rider. Who knew?

You guys don’t live in the same states, is that hard to deal with when it comes to putting together your tracks?

It’s easy to deal with. The internet makes anything possible. Everyone has fast connections. I’m not on a 26k modem in 1997. I’m not in 2003 updating my AIM away message to a reference to The OC and how much I want to kiss Marissa Cooper. We’re a studio band.

What is your recording process like, considering the distance?

We talk enough about the tracks on Facebook chat and in person to know what direction we’re going in. A few of the tracks on Die Young stemmed from a zip file of music I made. A few stemmed from Marcus working in his bedroom. A few we oversaw and worked on together in person. We went into studios with our friends to record vocals more professionally.

What are the local music scenes like in your respective places of residence?

I wrote “Adelaide is for incestSydney’s a little more competitive, a little more industry. It’s quite varied. There are a lot of bands we like playing with in both cities, ones along the lines of our music and ones totally different.

The new album, Die Young, hit the shelves a few weeks back. What can we expect from the release?

R’n’B ballads, 4am slow motion rave, emotions, sex. Mostly sex. You can expect a new lease on life.

How do feel Collarbones has developed in the time between your debut album, Iconography, and now?

We’re making anthems for teens instead of just talking about everything from a distance and intellectualising it. We’re trying to make ourselves into the Iconography, you might say. I think we both agree embodying an idea is a lot more interesting and fun than just talking about it. I’m very interested in willing things into existence, and how important someone’s perception of you can be. We joke about being a boy band while also genuinely wanting to be a boy band. Making fun of things with a serious facial expression and intent.

Musically, Marcus is very into R&B and that’s coming through more now in his voice, and in the relaxed tempo of some of the tracks. I’m into a lot of forms of dance music and you can hear that on “Hypothermia”. I’ve been distancing myself from the glitchier hip-hop vibe slightly because I’m not finding that sound as exciting anymore. I’m just letting things run their course until I’m less interested in them and then moving on.

What influences do you take into your recorded material?

Mostly the TV shows Cybergirl and Crash Zone. Also, I believe I’m the Australian reincarnation of Mr. Oizo. And I’m really influenced by the idea of Centrelink Bourgeois. Conor Maynard, Avicii, Miguel, EDM, Aaliyah, EBM, R. Kelly, Nihilist Spasm Band, Fatima Al Qadiri, Jeremih, Hippos in Tanks, Orchestral Manouevres in the Dark, Iannis Xenakis, Genesis P-Orridge, porridge. Jeremy Scott is basing his next fashion line on us.

A lot of critics are calling you guys one of the best Electronic acts Australia has, how does it make you feel to have such intense praise considering you’re still a relatively young act?

It inflates my ego to the size of a wheat silo. We’ve started demanding coconut water. I have bodyguards. I don’t ride in a vehicle unless the windows are tinted darkly. Marcus cries if we don’t get enough pineapple juice in the rider. I am your messiah, bow to me. Bow. I implore you to tattoo my name on your butt.
I say that and someone in LA already has a little bone tattooed on her collarbone in dedication to us, so here we are with those self-fulfilling prophecies.

You’ve set out on a tour that coincides with the album’s release, so can you give us a little insight into the Collarbones live show?

Marcus has emotions. We command you to dance. We all have an emotional catharsis in the form of a rave. Airhorns. 909s. 808s. Crowd surfing. I dedicated a song to “all of the beautiful butterflies out there”. Marcus has a dirty Freddie Mercury moustache right now. We’re a band of contrasts and you can see these contrasts get up close and personal with you.

One of these show has you billed with Naysayer & Gilsun, which to me is a very interesting combination, how did this come about?

I’ve liked them for quite a while, caught them in Adelaide once, danced. We were trying to find a place to launch Die Young and they had booked The Standard before we could. We decided to join forces for the benefit of everyone in the universe. It should be some sort of party.

What else is on the horizon for Collarbones?

Scandals. Shows all over the place. A couple of festivals (OutsideIn, Newtown Festival) in Sydney and a show at the Great Hall of the National Gallery of Victoria with Teengirl Fantasy, one of my favourite bands in the world, probably, I’m never one for hyperbole.

If you want the chance of showering the boys with coconut water, catch them play the last leg of their tour while you still can!

Published on Purple Sneakers.