You may know Ben Browning as the bassist for the mighty Cut Copy, but with the launch of his solo project in 2012, Browning has begun to cultivate his own unique sound and will release his debut album Turns later this summer. His latest offering “Friends Of Mine” is a welcome addition to Browning’s growing discography, and is the second single off this full-length debut. Twinkling FX and pulsating synths rise and fall under Browning’s dreamy vocals, the end result is a lush pop track that almost seems to move in slow motion.
Turns is out on June 16th via Yellow Year Records but until then listen to “Friends Of Mine” down below.
01. Back to the start
02. Make it easy
03. Friends of mine
04. Life Dudes (Tripping through Royal Park)
05. You can be there
06. Are you acting?
07. Donâ€™t wait your turn
08. Beaches of love
09. Donâ€™t forget the night
For a dj, vocalist, and producer who has put together sound pieces for major clothing brands, hosted her own radio show, released works on labels like Foolâ€™s Gold and Future Classic, and headlined shows in some of the worldâ€™s largest cities, Anna Lunoe is a surprisingly down-to-earth person.
Sheâ€™s a pleasure to be around with a relaxed demeanor, infectious smile and charming Australian accent.
Focussed on the personal journey toward artistic fulfillment, Lunoe approaches music production as if it were a muscle needing regular exercise; which helps explain the abundance of work sheâ€™s been releasing over the past couple years including a collaboration with Van She keyboardist and producer Touch SensitiveÂ on â€œReal Talk,” which becameÂ Beatport‘s 4th highest selling indie/nu disco track of 2012.
Our interview takes place in a stairwell above Nashvilleâ€™s High Watt club where sheâ€™s about to perform. There we sit, geeking out about dance music and sweating from the rising heat, occasionally pausing to enjoy one of the songs being played bellow.
Joseph: Having grown up in Sydney, why do you think Australia is such a safe haven for dance music?
Anna: That’s a great perception people have on Australian dance music. I think it’s because Australiaâ€™s largely a really positive country. Weâ€™re not talking about Berlinâ€™s underground late night minimal techno sound, weâ€™re talking music made for open-air bars and festivals with positive with hooks and synths. For the most part it sounds like summertime.
Joseph: There are a lot of Australians like yourself whoâ€™ve migrated to LA. Do you have a group of friends out there?
Joseph: The first time I saw your name was on â€œLove Tingâ€ with Wax Motif and then I kept seeing you popping up on various collaborations throughout the year. What does the back-end look like when youâ€™re working with someone?
Anna: Every time itâ€™s different. Sometimes we’ll sit down in front of a blank Ableton session and work it out from scratch. We might intellectualize it before or we might not.
Sometimes it starts with one of us making a sketch or someone will come to me with an almost finished track and ask if I want to write a top-line for it.
Joseph: Whatâ€™s a top-line?
Anna: So a top-line is a vocal line. When you see a Swedish House Mafia song with a girl singing on it, theyâ€™ll send that out to a bunch of different vocalists, get them to write lines for it and then theyâ€™ll pick the one they think is the catchiest.
Joseph: Itâ€™s good to hear though. I know itâ€™s sexist but Iâ€™m always skeptical of whether some of these girl dj/producers are actually making their own tracks.
Anna: Well yeah, It could be any producer, not just girls. I could tell you a bunch of guy producers who have ghost writers working on their stuff. People youâ€™d never think. It’s very common.
Iâ€™ll be the first to tell you though, a lot of people get help. I donâ€™t think that’s always a bad thing, but I do think itâ€™s not so great when no one talks honestly about it.
Joseph: Well I donâ€™t think thereâ€™s anything wrong with â€œhelp,â€ but itâ€™s not always transparent as to whether somebodyâ€™s name on a track means they did it, you know?
Anna: Yeah. Itâ€™s something that trickles down from pop music. Obviously Rihanna and Beyonce arenâ€™t writing or producing their own music and their nameâ€™s all over it. They are the brand.
It’s a very grey area but If I wrote it with someone, Iâ€™ll tell you.
Joseph: So do you have some tracks youâ€™ve made on your own from start-to-finish?
Anna: Ya! The track â€œUp and Downâ€ off of the Foolâ€™s Gold release was me start-to-finish. And plenty more coming out next year.
Joseph: What kind of sounds are inspiring you right now?
Anna: Right now Iâ€™m really going against the loudness of everything. All the songs I want to make are really stripped back, or maybe just not so heavy.
Joseph: I feel like a lot of Australian music is headed that way as artists continue to change and grow â€” but I feel like thereâ€™s something missing between the super pumping â€œEDMâ€ and all the casual disco and deep house out there right now.
What happened to the fun, gritty, vocally-driven dance sound that surfaced around 2007 when all of this was just taking off? Is there just not as much good indie-pop to make awesome remixes? As an Australian, what do you think about all of this? [laughter]
Anna: I have so much to talk about on this!
So basically, 2007 was when I first gatewayed into this type of music as well, so I can personally vouch that it was really exciting.
And then the EDM thing started to build and we all got channeled into this huge beast and it all kinda just blew out.
I think a lot of people feel the same way, like â€œhold up, weâ€™ve lost something here.â€
The other problem is, since no oneâ€™s buying music anymore the labels are pretty much only going for short-term pop turnover to pay the bills and not focusing on developing artists.
In this climate, one bad album gets you dropped. Think about what that would mean if a band like Radiohead got signed today â€” we mightnâ€™t have Ok Computer, Kid A or The Bends because their first albumÂ only had one crossover hit on it.
In the long term, this might be costing us albums that unite a generation. Iâ€™m not saying, ‘things were better before,’ because there were problems with the old system too. My point is, the way we consume music has changed.
Some things about that are really exciting though, like seeing underground producers getting big pop opportunities â€” like Diplo working with Usher and Lil Wayne or Santigold being sampled by Jay Z.
I love the access it gives artists. You can make something, upload it and if itâ€™s good, people will spread it. Thatâ€™s cool.
I guess the downside of having more listening platforms is that our attention is more divided. Itâ€™s rarer for an alternative artist to make a really big impact â€” like a generationally uniting impact. Not to say it doesnâ€™t happen, but it is rare.
photo: Justin Vague & Studio Das Monk
Joseph: As an artist in this generation of music business, how do you keep from getting jaded?
Anna: At the end of the day, Iâ€™m just fortunate to get to do the thing that makes me happiest right now, which is making music in as many different situations as possible.
I had a few years before I really started working on music where I knew what I wanted to do but didnâ€™t know how to action it and found myself getting pretty frustrated â€” especially because I wanted to do everything myself and not ask for help.
Joseph: I think a lot of people considering music production go through similar processes; and end up kicking themselves for not starting earlier.
All these kidsâ€¦
Are there no more normal, late-20â€™s producers? Do they all have to be 15?
Anna: Ya, if youâ€™re not 15 forget about it! [laughter]
Donâ€™t let all these young producers scare you.
When you think about all of the sounds your brain has been consuming over the years â€” whether youâ€™re a blogger or a DJ â€” that gives you a unique view to bring to the table.
I met this awesome 60-year-old parks and recreation guy once and Iâ€™ve never met anyone so empowered with dance music in my life!
He was making techno! He was making house music! He was making disco! He knew everything about every software. If you can keep learning as you move through life and continue to move forward artistically, that’s the journey right?
Good on you young producers, you’re very inspiring but youâ€™re also scaring everybody! So the message here is, if youâ€™re over the age of 21, youâ€™re not dead!
Donâ€™t worry about it, just fuckinâ€™ work!
Joseph: Thisâ€™ll be the last one because I know you have to go. Have you ever considered yourself something of a role model to aspiring girl producers?
Anna: I donâ€™t think anyone thinks of themselves as a role model but I’ve always looked up to the strong, idealistic women of the music industry. I still love Bjork, Fiona Apple, Annie Lennox, Robyn, Sheila E, Ladybug from Digable Planet â€” any woman whoâ€™s doing something different. People who go with the grain and do things that are already there and do it well, thatâ€™s cool too but for me itâ€™s all about contributing something. Thatâ€™s what inspires me. I donâ€™t know if Iâ€™m executing that just yet but thatâ€™s the goal I am working towards.
Glimmering electropop trio Caotico have been compared to MGMT and Cut Copy even though they say they’re in fact more influenced by Lil Wayne and Madonna. The outfit was probably one of hottest debut acts here in Sweden during 2011 with a range of remixes and festival gigs, with the release of their debut album in 2012 (will be drop February 22nd on Baseline) they’ll most likely be heard everwyhere. Here’s a first taste in the form of a Discobelle premiere, new single “Into The Beat” that has radio hit written all over it.
In spite of their recurring problems with dandruff, huge accolades are due to Cut Copy, as their recent Zonoscope album was nominated for a Best Dance/Electronica Album Grammy which they could easily scoop one up.
To celebrate this achievement, Modular are giving away veteran of the scene Andrew Weatherall’s version of “Sun God”, which feels like you’re drifting through the cosmos on a narwhal – epic, blissed out dance pop for this universe and any other ones out there.
Australian trio Cut Copy just released their third album, the mesmerizing electropop effort “Zonoscope”, on Modular Records. Here’s the video for the single “Need You Now” and the band also did a mixtape entitled “A Tale Of Two Journeys”. Catch Cut Copy pretty much all over the world during the rest of the year.
The mixtape is described as being: “A medley of hits performed live at the Island Diamond Dance Hall in ’87 by Bobby Boomerang and his band.”