AlunaGeorge is a London producer-vocalist relationship between friends Aluna Francis and George Reid. When Francis would visit Reid's bedroom to write, she often pared down opinions on her friend's dating lives -- why she was right and these douchebags were wrong -- to sticky sweet hooks. Reid would set her rants-turned-pop to beats that knock at unexpected places, as inspired by Timbaland and the '90s R&B radio hits he produced. The combination proved to be weirdly infectious, as the duo only fell second to HAIM on BBC's Sound of 2013 list.
Out this week is their heavily buzzed debut album Body Music and it scatters songs from 2012's You Know You Like It EP among the glitching (Reid) and cooing (Francis) mix, of their own lives but also those juicy opinions that Francis kept from her friends. "It's kind of the sound of me and George getting to know each other over the past three years," Francis said to Hive, before AlunaGeorge spoke further about the conventional wisdom that should (but often doesn't) inform music and dating.
Some songs on Body Music are pretty sassy. Were there personal experiences that inspired them?
Aluna: Well, most of them are people stories, but it's from the perspective of -- when someone's telling you something, telling you a personal experience and you kind of want to jump in with, like, "He's talking shit to you! Get rid of him," blah blah, but you need to hold back on those kind of thoughts or you will send someone in the wrong direction or talk all over what they're trying to tell you. I tended to put that in a song, instead of make these strong responses to someone else's story.
What's an example?
Aluna: "Attracting Flies" was definitely like that. What else? "You Know You Like It," and well, "Lost & Found: is actually one of the rare times when I've done a made-up a story or a scenario, the collective knowledge of being on the rebound and trouble you can get yourself into. Just the other day I was just saying to a friend, "Don't get back on the horse yet. You're on the rebound, and you're going to get yourself into trouble. You're going to crawl up on some douchebag immediately, and you're in a spongy kind of state." That's what "Lost & Found" is about: One week you're out with your friends. You're in that soft and spongy kind of state, and you have to look out for yourself and stop yourself before you're falling off with the nearest douchebag.
What are your relationship statuses? Are you actively dating, staying single, or...?
Aluna: Not a lot has changed, really. We're still into keeping hold of people that are important to us and making sure they get kind of all the same feelings of affection that they've always had. That goes across the board, for family members to friends to more "extensive relationships." I think what's nice is that all these people are so supportive of us, and they're giving us a longer string, a longer leash. If we don't get back to them within the second of a text or something, they're like, "Oh, it's okay, you're probably busy."
What was the hardest thing about putting together Body Music?
George: I think the difficulty came with the final song selection. In the three and a half years that we've been writing music, there is a lots of lots of lots of songs that we've got and even enjoy.
Aluna: The song listing, the order was completely baffling because it's like, do we choose in order of speed or mood? People would be like, "Put your best song on number four" -- like, what? That's probably the only area where I still have no idea, of what I think about the order of [the album]. I do like having "Outlines" first.
Wait. Is there this conventional wisdom behind an album's track order?
George: You kind of lose conventional wisdom when it's your own music. Just, you just don't know what to do!
Aluna: It's this kind of skill that one doesn't have until you have to do it. You just have to pretend know what you're doing.
Kind of like dating, actually.
George: I guess so. Well, yeah in that sense. By the time you know what's happening, it's probably too late.
AlunaGeorge's Body Music is out now on Vagrant.