Rare Times’ internet tags include ‘ambient’, ‘chill out’ and ‘disco’. Probably the four words that perfectly fit the sound of this Californian four-piece.
They’re one of those bands that somehow formed from four people who might never have met but by chance or probably fate they found each other in a downtown LA warehouse with the perfect mix of talents and a chilled-out disco ambience. Jazz pianist, Anthony Calonico, electronic producer, Alex Talan, drummer, Chris Parise and guitarist, Marcus Andersson have just released their first EP of the year, Missionary (hear song no. 1 No One’s Looking Out on our February mixtape) and have 2 more in the pipeline. i-D online talk to and get an exclusive mix from the boys. It’s a mélange of slow electro-jazz, velvet vocals and the occasional R&B smooth talking voice over that makes a perfect late-night jam.
Coming from different ends of the music spectrum, how did you guys all come to heads? Alex: Anthony and I met in college. At the time, we were listening to a lot of Plastikman making moody ambient that sounded a bit like Vangelis. We moved to LA after school and, one night, saw Chris playing a jazz gig in Little Tokyo. We immediately noticed his potential as an R&B drummer. About a month later, we met Marcus on a ghostwriting session and we immediately clicked. He brought us back to the types of songs we all liked when we were kids, like Max Martin’s 90s catalog.
What are each of your roles within the band?
Alex: Anthony starts the demos in his bedroom with sounds that I’ve created. Then the four of us go to work on the song, writing the lyrics, melodies, and parts together.
How do you keep the individuality between the four of you?
Alex: It feels natural for us because we’re all coming from very different places musically. We rely on everyone’s strengths to do something original.
Where do your musical roots lie?
Alex: Anthony and Chris are both formally trained jazz musicians. I was a guitarist who realized I was more into the pedals than the guitar, which eventually led me to electronic music. Marcus brings the candy to the mix; he grew up on shred and Swedish pop.
What messages do you portray through your music?
Anthony: The pleasure and pain of love.
Tell us about the concept behind the song “No One’s Looking Out” And what about your experience whilst recording your forthcoming “Missionary EP”? We heard that was an interesting one.
Anthony: It’s about what you do with idle time, when you’re cruising at night…
Alex: We live and record in a warehouse space in downtown LA. It’s a hectic spot – trucks pulling in, sewing machines running all hours, and a porn studio upstairs. We learned to appreciate the moments of silence.
What do you guys get up to when you’re not making music?
Chris: Just trying to survive. We all have our part-time hustles.
Who in the band has the worst bad habit/s?
Marcus: I’ve spent way too much time on the Occult: crystals, tinctures, love spells…
Alex: I just graduated from Monster to Screamin Energy.
What are you wearing head to toe?
Marcus: Combat boots, ACNE jeans, and a raincoat by Rains.
Alex: Brown satin boxers as shorts, a grey t-shirt, and some blue Nike Freeruns.
Anthony: All black, white tank.
Chris: GG$ sweatshirt and green Levis.
What are you going to do after this interview?
Marcus: We’re going over to Chris’ to watch Melrose Place.
Introduction: Felicity Kinsella
Interview: James Hutchins