When placing the two words sister and girlfriend next to each other, they may evoke certain senses of discomfit and notions of social transgression, as it is a term that may have been appropriate in describing the relationship between couples in royal families centuries ago. But the Seattle based synth pop quartet are light years ahead of the middle ages, and, if anything, the complete opposite of transgressive. Their website addresses their stylistic marriage of the old and new, as it quotes, "They imagine a future where every groove bumps and every melody sparkles. They are forward-looking but backward leaning marrying the rhythms and harmonic density of R&B with the push/pull dynamic between space and forward movement of house music."
The name Sister Girlfriend is a dually ironic and potentially iconic name, simultaneously possessing the ability to induce double takes from not only readers, but listeners as well. Fusing synth pop elements with deep rooted R&B styles, the group generates melodious, ear catching hooks that seduce audiences to the dance floor. Their latest track were premiering, "Old Enough to Know Better", contains a quick paced dance beat layered with a fleeting synth riff on the underside of the track, complimenting the sparsely placed piano and synth riffs that mirror each other throughout the length of the piece. "Old Enough to Know Better" is the first to be released for their upcoming, Randall Dunn produced (Sun O))), Marissa Nadler), Knock
EP, which you can preorder here
available August 4th.
Q&A [Questions arranged by Don Saas]
Sister Girlfriend is a very unique name for a band. It conjures up some heavy, transgressive images. Where's the name come from?
The name is taken from two Prince songs: "Sister" and "If I Was Your Girlfriend." A very deep love of Prince runs through all of our music, especially the earlier stuff. So we have to give him credit for any transgression that our name might conjure up. That guy was aggressively playing with gender and sexuality expectations in his music and in his image and to do all that while also being on top of the pop world is kind of awe-inspiring.
At the same time, there's some cheek to our name. In my opinion it isn't as heavy as some of the other band names that have caught attention recently. Our main focus is to make sure everyone is having an amazing time when they're listening to our stuff. So while we recognize there's absolutely power in a name, we definitely don't put ourselves in the same camp as intentionally iconoclastic names like Viet Cong or Default Genders. We're much more in the vein of The Futureheads or Radiohead naming conventions - tipping our caps to a musical idol by taking our band name from their works.
"Old Enough To Know Better" seems to sit comfortably in chillwave, electro-funk, and synth-pop. Who were some of the acts that were influencing your particular brand of electronic music?
"Old Enough to Know Better" started out as much more of a straight-up house song, actually! A ton of the early influence comes from classic house pioneers like Mr. Fingers. As we kept playing it it organically became much more of a hybrid electronic pop track as we discovered "oh hey the breakdown would sound cool with this beat" or "if we change chords underneath this melody at the end it's gonna hit so much harder." There was a lot of jamming on this groove in our practice space to perfect the sound of the song. So we have to give a lot of credit to the people blazing trails in that liminal space between house and pop - Little Dragon is a huge one, as well as Matthew Herbert and Risn Murphy.
What can people who enjoyed this track expect when the rest of your new EP, Knock, is released?
Every song on Knock
EP moves bodies. That was a big thing. We wanted each song to inspire movement. So if people are bobbing their heads and shaking their butts to "Old Enough to Know Better" then they can look forward to five more songs that move and shake! Each song has something different about it - something that surprises and burrows its way into ears and brains and stays there. We have horn counter-melodies and heavy loping beats and woozy synthesizers. It also all sounds amazing, thanks to the collaboration of our incredible producer/engineer Randall Dunn. He took our concept - to create an electronic pop record with a healthy dose of 1970's studio pop - and understood it immediately, punching up our ideas with great ideas of his own and encouraging us to embrace the direction we were taking our sound.