2015’s best record yet hits shelves today, courtesy of relatively obscure Austin, TX indie label, Red Eye Transit. And that record is Indépendance, the first full-length from Tomorrow We Move To Hawaii, an Oslo-and-Berlin-based duo comprise of Marianne Stranger and Eyvind Brox, whose sounds are as hard to pinpoint or characterize as they are fucking badassedly brilliant. The two each have backgrounds playing in rock projects, although they’re currently leaning in a more synth-and-electro-pop direction… but their aesthetic lacks the gloss usually associated with those genres, while boasting the abrasiveness of their time as rockers, but also their love of the golden age of hip hop. Most often they sound of a combination of London punks discovering dub and dancehall in ’77 and our own generation of electro-based noise poppers attempting to follow in the footsteps of Alec Empire and Atari Teenage Riot. Yesterday I got a chance to chat with Marianne Stranger, who told me what Tomorrow We Move to Hawaii is all about.
Izzy Cihak: First of all, I have to ask: How did you come up with your moniker? It’s super cool.
Marianne Stranger: Yes, thanks! We actually passed this massive graffiti in Berlin, and when we read this sentence we immediately loved it, and took it as our band name. Unfortunately, the graffiti is painted over, so it almost feels like it didn’t happen. Maybe it was just an optical illusion..?
Izzy: And what have been the highlights of the band so far? You’re still relatively new.
Marianne: We had some really cool supporting gigs, like the one supporting Grimes. She was life an elf, and we were backstage singing with her; she has an incredibly high-pitched voice. Also, our showcases in SXSW was really cool, being in that madness. They even have a taco cannon over there! And of course, when ROb da Bank from BBC1 exclaimed, “I love it!” to our single and broadcasted it, that right away was pretty cool!
Izzy: Is there anything that you think is especially important for fans to know about your approach to making music?
Marianne: We have from day one been very open to each other’s musical contributions, and we can bring onboard whatever, as long as it has a nerve to it. It’s always a matter of just going for it, playing around to discover new ways. Also, Eyvind and I make a good team. He’s got a more calculated and refined way of making music, in comparison to my more evocative and impulsive expressions — it’s a good match!
Izzy: Your debut album drops this week. What would you consider to be the album’s most significant influences, musical and otherwise?
Marianne: This time we have been more influenced by hip hop. Maybe it’s not so obvious, but you can find it in subtle ways in the beats, along with my more nineties rap rave vocal. We also are releasing a book this time, with my drawings and lyrics. Drawing is a method for me in writing lyrics; I see all these images when I write, but it’s good to note them down to see the connections.
Izzy: Do you currently have a favorite track from the album, whether one that you’re most proud or just one that’s especially fun to play? “Chin Up” is one of my favorite songs I’ve heard in recent years… It’s like this amazing electro take on dub, like a dance club remix of something off of Cut by The Slits (Hopefully that’s not insulting.)
Marianne: No, not at all, and thanks! Well yes, I think that’s my favourite too. Eyvind made the beat on the plane heading over to Austin, TX (SXSW), and I made the vocals in a cabin by the sea in Norway — so it also has a good, broad inspiration, scenery wise.
Izzy: You’re signed to Red Eye Transit. How did you get hooked up with them? What are your thoughts on the label?
Marianne: Tommie Gonzales (RET) is truly dedicated to giving bands he believes in a good chance in this chaotic and demanding industry. I believe in thinking outside the box, like now, with releasing our book. We met them through our Norwegian label, Brilliance, back in the day, but we ended up working exclusivly with Red Eye because they are just really good people also. And fun to hang out with!
Izzy: What are your most significant hopes and plans for 2015? Any chance of a US tour? If so, what can be expected of the live experience?
Marianne: People say we are a very strong, evocative, and wild experience live. I guess you just have to believe that? And, yes we hope to go over there again; we really like the US audience so far! The fans we met are very open and dedicated, like the girl that saw us at SXSW who liked us so much but thought we really were moving to Hawaii and said “ahh, no, are you moving tomorrow?? Aaah, bummer- We just met you!”