In my notes taken during my recent interview with Los Angeles-based synth-poppers Touché, I see an underlined phrase I seem to have scrawled mid-chat: “Talk about how fucking nice and playful they are.” Touché are Alex Lilly and Bram Inscore (with additional help from Aaron Redfield), who seem to have a cosmic kind of connection… but in a cute, quirky way… not in like a faux-“deep” way… They finish each other’s sentences… but not in an expected way… more like in a Mad Libs way… They seem to be very much a two-headed animal… who is surprised by its second head’s every other comment. Alex Lilly and Bram Inscore were childhood friends, who recently reunited to combine their musical chops, which are quite impressive. I sort of fell in love with Lilly a few years ago as a backup singer for The Bird and the Bee and then with her own, tragically short-lived, dream pop project, Obi Best. Additionally, she is 1/3rd of folk supergroup The Living Sisters. Inscore is best known as a current member of Twin Shadow, but has also played bass and keys for the likes of Thurston Moore, Charlotte Gainsburg, and Beck.
Touché released their debut album, It’s Fate, this May and the sound isn’t exactly a million miles from some of their previous projects. The biggest difference would seem to be in the initial conception of each song. “For me, it’s definitely more physical than previous projects,” says Lilly and Inscore describes it as, “It’ a little more energetic, a little more electronic. It’s also less personal.” The two write the songs together so, a lot of the distillation process, according to Lilly, is the two finding a common ground, or an overlap in their thinking. She explains, “Even though it’s pretty esoteric, it has a message… (laughs) we must sound like a Reggae band.” Inscore tells me that he has a lot of literary influences: “Stories, but not personal stories. Stories based on classic concepts, like greed and desire.” Lilly chimes in, “It all comes back to the seven deadly sins, doesn’t it? It’s really a social, more than a political, commentary.”
Inscore tells me that the band enjoy incorporating symbolism with their aesthetic… both musically and visually. He explains that their first video (“Everything He Wants”) was actually a spoof on Adam and Eve, “If the Apocalypse happened and Adam and Eve both had to get back to their tree.” He explains the band’s videos as embodying, “A B-movie, lo-fi filter… A surreal quality, but also a bit of the fantasy/sci-fi world,” while Lilly clarifies, “But we try to steer clear of the complete ironic filter.” The band apparently have a lot of cinematic influences. Inscore mentions David Lynch, which leads to my assessment that nearly every band I chat with cites David Lynch as their biggest cinematic influence… which is met with guilty laughter. Lilly explains, “He’s really a musical director… and the whole micro style. You can see one minute of a David Lynch film and know it’s David Lynch.”
Inscore also says that both of them are quite fans of Lars von Trier and Jorgen Leth’s documentary experiment The Five Obstruction, which has von Trier task Leth with remaking his The Perfect Human five times, with five, different sets of parameters, dictated by von Trier. “It’s a really interesting conceptual piece,” says Inscore: “It really relates to music… taking a story that already exists and presenting it in different styles. I mean, most music these days would seem to need to fit a certain style.” Lilly explains the benefit of these arbitrary restrictions, as they have often tended to be necessary in the art world: “In the music world, there’s almost too much possibility… which makes things even more difficult.”
Although they currently have only three dates booked (6/28 at the Glass House in Pomona with Twin Shadow, 6/29 at the Henry Ford Theatre in LA with Twin Shadow, and 8/28 at the Echo in LA with Lucius), Touché tells me they are hoping to spend much of 2013 on the road. “I love to tour with a band that I like. More touring would be great,” Lilly tells me. They are also quite excited about their current live show. “It’s a noisier version of the record. There’s more dancing and more layers of content,” says Lilly. “It’s a little more aggressive than the record… Alex takes a lot of guitar solos, which is really fun,” Inscore adds. In addition, Inscore also tells me they would like to work on a new kind of a record: “We would love to have more collaboration on the next record.” Lilly then adds, “I want to make an album that’s middle-Eastern techno… Bram is currently shooting me dirty looks…”