Electric Guest’s sophomore record, aptly named “Plural,” is just as rangy and genre bending as the title implies. The album is the pop rock two-hander’s first in five years – that is, if you don’t count the one they wrote and discarded for being “really dark,” and admittedly a departure from their 2012 debut, which featured backup vocals from the then-unknown Haim sisters. After regrouping with a lean team of producers, including both Ariel Pink alum Cole M. Greif-Neill and Rihanna scribe John Hill, doe-eyed frontman Asa Taccone and drummer Matthew Compton have emerged with a sophomore-slump-defying follow-up that oscillates between gentle Californian feels and sultry, R&B-infused beats. We caught up with the twosome just in time for the album’s release.
How did you guys meet?
Matthew: We moved to LA around the same time and met because I was coming over to the house that Asa lived in, which was this communal house of musicians. I just kept coming over and playing stuff, and now here we are.
Asa: He was pretty much the only dude who was always willing to drive across town and play. But his sound ended up being so much a part of it.
How did the Haim collaboration came about
Asa: They’re our homegirls. One of them, Danielle, lives down the street from me. I go to her house a lot. They’re in our new video, dancing around this ’62 Lancer, this ancient old thing. Everything in the video was such a family affair. It was like, “Oh, you have a cool car? Bring it up!”
Are you into cars?
Asa: Yeah, I’ve bought a couple old cars. LA is such a driving city, and I could be bummed out about sitting in traffic, or be like, “I’m sitting in this awesome car!”
What do you guys like to do in LA?
Matthew: For a long time there was nothing in Downtown LA, and now all this stuff has opened up and it’s slowly trickled to where we live, Echo Park and Silver Lake. It’s like bridging this gap where there was just nothing there and within the last year so much of Echo Park has blown up.
Asa: I surf, but I’m not good. In California, every beach is packed, even if it’s cold. You’re never surfing alone. You’re surfing with 20 to 100 people, all the time. And no one talks to each other. You just go out there… I go to this one beginner’s beach. I think it’s just called Topanga Beach, and it’s a hideous beach. It’s right next to this like American Apparel, this kind of gross store and the beach underneath is kind of ugly. But the waves are really gentle and easy to catch.
Speaking of waves, the “Dear to Me” video feels pretty beach-y… Is that part of your vibe?
Asa: It’s got a beach vibe and there’s a little sub-plot where I go to the beach.
Matthew: “Dear to Me” was one of the first ones we wrote for this new, new record, after we pushed ourselves out of our comfort zone. Just feel-good.
What’s the song about?
Asa: I think it’s about getting to an age where regardless of if you’re… whatever relationship you’re in, whether it works or not, there’s still love. When you’re older and in love, it’s just like, whether this works or it doesn’t, like, I love you. It’s all love. And that was the sentiment.
What happened with the first version of the album?
Asa: We were like grinding and always writing. And it wasn’t an official hiatus. We just… we wrote a whole other record, and turned it in, and everyone was like, this is not very good. Because it was… we turned in a record like a year and a half ago that was really dark and somber and slow, because that’s the place we were in, mentally. And then some things changed around in our lives and we got to a happier place, which is what the capitalists want, you know, more conducive. And actually naturally the songs that we wrote in the last year just were a different thing. And we felt better about it too. It wasn’t like we just catered to some bullshit record label thing.
Asa’s brother Jorma Taccone is one-third of The Lonely Island. Are you guys into comedy?
Asa: No, god no. I’m only affiliated. I can’t even watch comedy anymore. I never rent or go see comedies. I don’t know why. It’s such a dissociation. I always think that with comics it must be so difficult to be known for being funny. Then people are like, “Tell me a joke!” I think it’s dangerous when you start thinking of yourself that way. I love that world, just for my brother, but I don’t want to have anything to with it myself.
What’s next for you?
Matthew: We just shot a video, and then we’re going on a US tour. We’ll be at The Bowery Ballroom on March 5thand Music Hall Williamsburg on March 6th.
“Plural” is available Friday, February 17th.