Subscriber only: Xeno & Oaklander / Chris Und Tina
Double A-side seven-inch single
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Xeno & Oaklander / Chris Und Tina
This month: Double A-side seven-inch single featuring Talking Heads/Tom Tom Club’s Chris und Tina with their electronic stormer ‘Incognito’ and Brooklyn’s modular duo Xeno & Oaklander and their romantic minimal synth outing ‘Moonlight’
THE LOWDOWN PART ONE…
With Chris und Tina’s Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth
WHAT EXACTLY IS CHRIS UND TINA? HOW DID IT GET STARTED?
Chris: Chris und Tina is the electronic side of Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz. It will be our vehicle to do whatever music we want without regard to what people may have come to expect from us. If we want to create a dark, melancholy song we can do that. If we want to get funky with a TR 808, we can do that. It’s a clean slate for us. We have no expectations other that our own artistic fulfillment.
Tina: My thoughts exactly.
WHY DID YOU VEER TOWARD SYNTHS AND NOT GUITARS FOR CHRIS UND TINA?
Chris: Quite a few a few years ago we went to see our friend Mick Jones at one of his Big Audio Dynamite shows at Toad’s Place in New Haven, Connecticut. It was a great show and afterwards I complimented Mick on his radical sounds. He said, and I quote, “You know, Chris, there’s a lot of cool music being made today that’s got fuck all to do with playing the guitar.” That statement has stuck with me.
Tina: While we used only sequenced synths and drum machines on ‘Incognito’, no way would I rule out electric guitar on future tracks! I think if we had a live performance rule though, we’d be most likely rule out electric bass guitars and rock drum kits. My Ampeg SVT amps and cabinet together is nearly as tall as me and weighs more a fully-loaded refrigerator.
‘INCOGNITO’ HAS A BIT OF HISTORY AS A TRACK THAT FIRST APPEARED ON A CHICKS ON SPEED COMPILATION…
Chris: Yeah, where are those Chicks? I miss them. They did a fabulous version of ‘Wordy Rappinghood’ with a cameo by Tina. They are one of a kind and not afraid to get crazy.
WHEN CAN WE EXPECT SOME NEW CHRIS UND TINA MATERIAL?
Chris: How nice of you to ask! Tina has a cool idea for a song about the very young Marquis de Sade that sounds promising. We’ll try not to keep you waiting too long.
THE LOWDOWN PART TWO…
With Xeno & Oaklander’s Liz Wendelbo and Sean McBride
CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHAT XENO & OAKLANDER IS AND HOW IT GOT STARTED?
Liz: We’re a minimal synth girl/boy duo started in 2004 in Brooklyn, New York. We play analog synthesisers and drum machines and sing. I’m French/Norwegian and Sean is from Maryland. Back then we were playing primarily in art galleries, museums and lofts. The label we were on, Wierd, was run by a cool painter, Pieter Schoolwerth, and it hosted a seminal party on the Lower East Side in New York every week for 10 years, which we performed at a lot. In 2014 we signed to Ghostly International and were able to reach a wider electronic audience while re-affirming a strong minimal electronic identity and culture. It’s great to see minimal electronic music finding its place in the hearts of those who didn’t know about it.
YOU ARE DEEP INTO VINTAGE ANALOGUE GEAR, WHAT ARE YOUR GO-TO INSTRUMENTS THESE DAYS?
Liz: I’m a Roland girl myself, and I’m a fan of Dave Smith Instruments. I have a soft spot for the Arp 2600, it’s mesmerising.
Sean: I can say without hesitation that the Serge Modular is my ultimate instrument of choice. While being somewhat complicated to bring with me on the road, it is in my opinion, the greatest synth ever made. In the studio I still regularly use my old Roland Paraphonic RS 505, the Roland System 100 and the 2600s.
Liz: Our studio is a fascinating place where an explosion of cables spills over vintage gear, antique books, modules and postcards. People like spending time there, it’s like a treasure trove.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT ‘MOONLIGHT’
Liz: ‘Moonlight’ is a synth reverie through exotic landscapes at night, a romantic Bossa Nova, a hypnotising dance under the moonlight, like a strange dream, like a surrealist movie.