Danish R&B duo Quadron has been keeping busy this year: in the run-up to their second album, last month's Avalanche, producer Robin Hannibal released an album with his project Rhye, while singer Coco O. appeared on Tyler, The Creator's album Wolf and on the soundtrack to The Great Gatsby. Coco recently joined touring bassist Thomas Drayton in the PAPER kitchen to perform "Crush" and answer some questions.
Does Robin ever come on tour with you?
No. He tried it out for a little bit, but he's not really a performer. So it's always been my thing. It was never a surprise to me because I knew how Robin worked from his earlier projects. And I knew that he wasn't touring also because he has tinnitus. He's not a great live player either, so I always knew I had to find some other musicians.
How did it take for Quadron to start playing shows?
The first album was the first songs we did together. It took us a year to write the album, and right after we were done I started performing a little bit in Copenhagen.
What was it like meeting Los Angeles musicians?
It was really inspiring. Copenhagen is small, and everybody kind of knows each other. There's only one music school. So coming to the States, there was just a whole new world opening up of great talent. Here people are very much into just meeting up and jamming and developing off each other. In Copenhagen it's more structured, "We have a gig."
What music were you listening to when you started working on Avalanche?
Robin and I, there are just some key albums in our lives, and we just always go back and listen to that. I was listening to indie rock stuff when we did the album but I don't think that's what it sounds like. It doesn't always translate. My musical upbringing is more like a footprint in me: Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Sade.
How do you collaborate as songwriters?
The first album was kind of like an introduction to each other as working partners. Robin was more experienced than I was, so a lot of the songs on the first album started off with him having some demos, and then I put my input in it and we developed together. So the next album, I really wanted to put my input on it. The way we work the best is if we start something from scratch together. And later on maybe he arranges something, and I write some lyrics. I don't play instruments, so that's his thing. But the songwriting is very much just bouncing off each other's ideas.
And you have a song, "Where the Wind Blows," under your own name on the Great Gatsby soundtrack.
Yeah, but I didn't write the song, I'm just performing the song. It was a great opportunity for me because it's a great company to be a part of, all these great artists. It was a songwriter called Andrea Martin, it was a last-minute thing, they needed somebody to perform the song.