Rebecca & Fiona is a Swedish DJ duo from Stockholm. At the heart of the music Rebecca Scheja and Fiona Fitzpatrick make as Rebecca & Fiona is their friendship. The pair met through a mutual friend over six years ago in their hometown of Stockholm and immediately connected over life, music and everything in between. Both were grounded in the Swedish DJ scene, promoting club nights around town, and eventually transformed their connection to the genre by creating music of their own. The duo released their first single, "Luminary Ones," in May of 2010 and scored an opening slot for Robyn on her European Tour. Their sound expanded on buoyant debut album I Love You, Man, which was released in the U.S. in the spring of 2012. Now Rebecca & Fiona's second album, Beauty Is Pain, reveals a continuation in their friendship and an evolution in their music.
The pair has been touring extensively since 2011, trekking around the U.S., Asia, Australia and Europe, and performing alongside artists like Tiësto, Kaskade, Axwell and Steve Angello. Their travels have brought them to festivals like Electric Daisy Carnival, Tomorrowland and Beyond Wonderland, but in between all these shows -- in hotel rooms and on airplanes -- Rebecca and Fiona focused on writing, always interested in capturing new ideas for their next album. Beauty Is Pain is the product of two years' worth of writing, mostly captured in the duo' studio in Sweden last fall. There was no specific vision going in, just the hope to create a cohesive narrative work that reflected the producers' continually expanding skill.
"We've always been just producing what comes out of us," Rebecca says. "We just do what we feel is great. We never look for what other people want or what we should do. It's completely us. We develop it together. We have never sat down and talked about what we should make, or what would be good for us to make."
"We really wanted to make a whole story," Fiona adds. "The first album was a lot of different songs that have popped up from a lot of different places. With this album we wanted to direct it so it would be more whole where all the songs made sense together. Everything should be connected visually and musically."
The musicians collaborated with several other producers and co-writers during the process, including Kurt Uenala, Adrian Lux, Simon Yemane, The Loops Of Fury, Panda Da Panda, Duvchi and Cristian Dinamarca. Swedish producer Carli was deeply involved in the process and helped mix the final product. In the studio, Rebecca and Fiona took the demos they'd been creating on the road and transformed them into vibrant, layered tracks that embrace a variety of styles and influences using synths, programming and real instruments. The pair even enlisted musician Gustav Bendt to play saxophone on several tracks. There is an overall pop tone to the album, embellished by EDM, rave and indie sensibilities.
"We have become much better producers," Rebecca says. "In the beginning when you write you have to find your own voice. It took a while for both of us to find what we thought was cool and interesting and unique, and to learn what sounds we liked from different genres. You have to combine the stuff you like from everything and create your own sound from that, and that's what we did on this album."
First single "Candy Love" is a pulsing club anthem while its follow-up single "Holler" is a soaring ambient number with an infectiously propulsive beat, both revealing the hook-laden pop aesthetic of the album. The songs veer from heart-racing jam to slower ballad, drawing inspiration from '80s and '90s sounds, while embodying a punk-like attitude beneath the music itself. In the midst of the album, "Dreams" surges with a compellingly catchy melody and rousing chorus, underscoring the overall vision of Rebecca & Fiona's music.
"We want our music to be empowering for people who feel insecure or alone or feel different," Fiona says. "Our music is the story of how we became self-secure by enjoying the people we are and how we look and what we're good at. We engage in what we like to do and we want to spread that to other people. We want all the stories to be told. What's most important is that fans can find their favorite track and they get to interpret how it speaks to them."
For the producers, this is the most important aspect of Beauty Is Pain, which they hope can be experienced as a complete piece rather than as singles. The duo's live shows, which they treat as unique, individual experiences, connect these tracks to their earlier work, coming together with an overarching sense of empowerment.
"We're really aware of what we do," Rebecca says. "It's important for women and young people. We stand up for what we think and believe, and we want to inspire young people to do cool stuff and develop their interests. We want to inspire people to not let anything hold them back. Our message is to look into yourself and discover what you want to do. That's the way we live and make our music."