The indietronica duo of Eric Victorino and Giovanni Giusti, from the Bay Area, came together haphazardly to form The Limousines
. Victorino was the lead singer of punk-rock band Strata when he heard a mix of Jay-Z tracks done by Giusti. He contacted Giusti and they kept up an Internet correspondence that morphed into back and forth music creation, all without having met each other in person. Opting to desert his musical past to head in a direction, Victorino left his band and together the duo began taking their music more seriously. After barely performing live, they began opening for acts like Duran Duran and playing a festival with Flaming Lips and MGMT. Playing and creating as The Limousines essentially is something that they were mindlessly thrown into, which is quintessential of their general insouciance. It is obvious they are creating music ultimately for the fun of it. Sonically, their music is one giant effervescent groove that will force you to involuntarily jut your hips from side to side despite your lifelong vow to never show signs of satisfaction in dance form. But once you sift through the electric glam, the poignancy of their work will reveal itself. Half their songs are dripping in irony, from the deliciously sarcastic "Very Busy People" to "Internet Killed the Video Star" giving a not-so-fond social commentary. They excel at exposing true human nature, like in "The Future", saying, "I just wanna f*ck every once in a while", all the while giving us a funky beat to mindlessly swing our hollow noggins to. We recently spoke with the masterminds behind The Limousines on their formation and creative process. Here's what they had to say:
For Eric: Where were you looking to go with your music when you decided your vision didn't align with Strata's?
I just wanted to have fun and make music that didn't bum me out, I wanted to see people dancing at shows instead of beating each other up. As a person I've never been good at being positive, so a lot of what we do us actually negative with a little sugar on top...
For Gio: What were you doing before Victorino heard your Jay-Z remix?
I just had graduated recording engineering school and got a job working in construction as a glazier (glass worker) because there were no jobs in the recording industry due to over saturation in the bay area. I was living in my moms house producing music in my bedroom in my spare time just for fun.
It's interesting timing when I met Eric because I was making the move into more electronic sounding material and experimenting more with technical boundaries.
Why do you think you guys worked so well together instantly, even though you come from different musical backgrounds?
It was just the right timing where we both were making a change musically and I think we appealed to each other because of the differences and where we both came from. It was like having a new girlfriend because the old one was a bitch. Also, production was so simple and much easier than having 5 dudes in a room yelling at each other why one part is better than the other. I'd just lay out a structure of a song, send it to him, then he could do whatever he wanted. It's still like that. We've also learned to work with each other as far as getting in a room and creatively building from the ground up from scratch. Both work and both are very fun.
Victorino described your music using a reference to Lennon's "Imagine" in a recent interview and he explained it perfectly. You have this feigned happiness in your music, as a sort of front to weed off those who dont take a moment to look at things more thoroughly, but when you listen to the lyrics it's fairly dark compared to the blithe, I'm-just-here-to-dance sound associated with the music. Is that sort of an existential commentary?
Trust me, I would love to be able to write like a no-brainer club banger pop song, its just not how I'm built. Plus I don't think Gio would let me slip like that lyrically, he's always pushing me to write smarter lines.
The sarcasm in "Very Busy People" is what won me over. Do think it's easier to be sarcastic or sincere in music?
Sincere lyrics have their place, I just think shit comes out weird when someone's trying to be sincere when sarcasm or humor are more appropriate for the subject matter. We haven't written a love song yet, but some of our older stuff was pretty heartfelt. Take a song like "The Future", it's about appreciating the little things that make us happy, rejecting dogma and superstition in favor of embracing our temporary nature, not fearing death, loving life - it's got a little bit of humor sprinkled in but that's just the language we speak. Now, a song like "Very Busy People", that's about how our generation is just working their asses off on shit that doesn't matter, like social networks and porn and video games, how we feel so busy all the time but we're just jacking off with all of this. That's a song that's gotta be dripping with sarcasm.
Where did you get your influence, musically and otherwise?
The artists who inspire me the most are Flaming Lips, Bright Eyes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
I grew up listening to records my dad would play. He'd play early jazz CDs in his car loud as hell like Dave Brubeck, Wes Montgomery and Miles Davis along with 80's Peter Gabriel and The Police. I think that's what got me into music. I love nu-disco electronic. Also, Daft Punk, Prodigy, LCD Soundsystem, New Order, The Smiths.
When did you start writing?
I was around 18. I've never learned classically but I started getting deep into the production of music at a recording school. So although learning the technical sides of music like mixing and mastering was interesting, I was really more interested in actually making sounds and what notes worked with each other and why.
What is your writing process? Does it usually start with the beat with Gio or the melody with Eric or do you bounce ideas back and forth?
For our last record, it usually started with my beat and Eric would sing on top, but Eric would influence me to change melody lines or layer different sounds on top to compliment the cadence and timing of his voice. Now we've progressed to where Eric can sing into his iPhone and send me the vocals by themself and I can import that into Pro Tools and create music for it. Like a producer would do for a remix.
Do either of you bleed into the others creative territory? Does Gio give lyrical input or does Eric crank out a beat now and then?
We pretty much do our jobs separately, but respect each others views when it comes to creating. If Eric's not feeling something of mine or the direction it's going, I won't go that way and vice-versa. We both give each other input.
Any plans for a new album?
We're always creating and working on new stuff so of course there will be.
What are your plans for the rest of the year and beyond?
Our plan is not to have a plan. Try to keep this thing fun and under control.