Interview: AlunaGeorge on Working Together, Britain’s Emerging Electronic Scene, and Digital Media


AlunaGeorge is on fire. The electronic/R&B duo have mounted a swift road to ascension since the release of their first track "You Know You Like It" hit the digital sphere back in April of last year. Throughout the rest of 2012 the British act began to release a steady stream of heady, sugary electronic pop that quickly rose to the surface—their first commercial single "Your Drums, Your Love" even debuted at 50 on the UK Singles Charts, quite a feat for a group's first ever commercial release.

At the end of December they were lauded by critics with a shortlisted spot on the 2013 BRIT Award of Critics' Choice nominees and earned the second spot on the BBC's Sound of 2013 poll. After vocalist Aluna Francis lent her chirping soprano to Disclosure's "White Noise" release in February, the group gained even more exposure as the song hit No. 2 in the U.K. The brotherly duo of Disclosure had already gained a fair amount of traction in the U.S. and their mix of dubby, house production left the lane wide open for AlunaGeorge's sound to gain foothold.

With contemporaries like Jessie Ware and Charli XCX on the vocalist side and the success of production heavy duos like TNGHT, the U.S. pop landscape is perfectly positioned for AlunaGeorge's takeover. Just off the release of their debut album Body Music (out 7/29), we spoke with both Aluna Francis and production mastermind George Reid about the group's quick ascent, unlikely origins, the first song they ever wrote and where they see themselves in the current musical landscape.

Let's discuss the way you guys got connected. George you did a remix for Aluna’s old band, My Toys Like Me? How did you hear of them?
George: To be honest, I simply found them on MySpace and asked politely if they’d let me have a go and remix one of their tracks. They hadn’t heard of me before that point, but I just sort of thought I’d take a shot and ask them if they’d let me mess around with one of their songs and that was how we got started. I was trying to do remixes at that point, I was getting hold of sort of stems from songs here and there. It always gets a certain point doing a remix, and because I had no material of my own really at that point, no one ever wanted to use my remix because they couldn’t get anything out of it, if that makes sense. So I was messing around, often doing remixes with friends, stuff like that. This was just one of the first things that got released.

What drew you to work with him Aluna?
Aluna: Well, initially it was actually a different guy I was working with who set up this introduction between me and George—they were bonding on a  production level. So I really didn’t know George at all, I didn't have any intentions. I just turned up at George’s house having met him over coffee one day and was like, ‘Oh hey, I’m here to... I have no idea, let's just hang out and try some stuff.’ So that was actually really nice because it meant that whatever happened after that was very open—very fun with no agenda. You know, you only really get that kind of pure "no agenda" stage actually thought about at the early stage of your career I think. So we have really fond memories when we think of that time, like that I literally had the thought, ‘I have no idea what I’m doing here.’

George: It’s just like any sort of friendship really. Although, actually normally with friends you have mutual friends and sort of hang out first, so I guess it is weird starting something as complete strangers. But you’ve gotta put yourself out there every now and again and see what happens.

Was there a moment when you were working together where it kind of hit you that working together was something special?
Aluna: I think really that first day, wasn’t it George?

George: Yeah, it was.

Aluna: We actually wrote a song that day, and it was fun and we didn’t even know each other! So that stood out as kind of a bizarre blessing to be able to do something like that. That song is called it’s called "Double Sixes," it was like a free download for a while.

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