Since 2004 Coco Electrik have released several singles that were equally at home on the dancefloor or iPod but it was the release of long player Behind the Sun which saw Electrik’s stock skyrocket. A giddy ride across many musical styles including electro, pop, funk and trip-hop it has received pludits such as “One of the strongest albums of the year” (Mixmag) and “Imagine Elastica meeting up with Roxy Music over a couple of super strength illusions” (One Week to Live).
Anne, you’ve come a long way from the western suburbs of Brisbane to being a European electro-pop chanteuse. Your former school-mate Taylor has also done well for herself with Disorder magazine, was there something in the water at your high school?
Sheer stubbornness and determination probably. A few of the boys in my music class actually went on have some success with a band too. For the life of me I can’t remember what they’re called. Something star? Anyway, it was a great little school. Very liberal. Made a change from three years holed up in a rural, cow-poke boarding school.
Do you think you’d have been able to do/be Coco Electrik in Brisbane or Australia?
Personally I don’t think I could have done Coco in Australia. I needed to go somewhere new, somewhere I could be a nobody for a while. A stranger. And find my feet. At the time of moving over here, all the Australian bands that were trying to break the UK market would just end up playing some Camden dive to a bunch of pissed ex-pats. Talented bands like You Am I and Regurgitator— who deserved to be recognised by a wider audience. I think a lot has changed since then. Modular has a great deal to answer for, in the best possible way. They brought Cut Copy and Wolf Mother over here and people love them.
With a last name such as Booty, was it was inevitable that any musical endeavors would be dance orientated?
Yes! Probably. Or funk. I have Funkadelic’s “Loose Booty” as my ring tone. I’ve been toying with the idea of changing it to The Beastie Boys’ “Professor Booty” but I haven’t got the heart to lose Bootsy, as it were.
The album Army Behind the Sun has been a long time coming, was it a great feeling to finally have it released?
Yes, indescribably wonderful to have it out there, doing its thing, living its life.
Where there any reasons for its protracted birth?
The reason it took such a long time to come out was waiting round for the right record deal. Tummy Touch were keen after releasing a couple of singles but then they felt the album wasn’t quite the right fit for where they were headed at the time. So in the end, after some interest from other labels here and there but with nothing concrete to offer, Tummy Touch ended up helping us set up our own label.
It is really an astonishingly varied album taking in styles including electro, funk, rock, jazz, trip-hop and hip-hop, was it your intention to write such an electric album or did it just evolve that way?
I confess to having a terribly eclectic taste in music, which no doubt added something to the final mix. But honestly, I think it’s chaotic nature is probably more down to the fact that it’s four years worth of music all bunched up and cozying down together.
How did the band you tour with — Matty Ducasse (from Skylab), Adam de Gruchy and Martin Dean — form? Did they contribute to the album?
Matty I met through Tummy Touch and DJ-ing, Adam is a friend of Paul Harrison (aka Royal Appointment) who co-produced the album and Martin I found on myspace. Matty produced half the album, and Adam and Martin came on board to add the occasional bass and drum effect.
You toured London and Sweden this year. How do you find performing live?
I love playing live but I still get nervous. I don’t think that will ever stop. Awful, gut stricken nerves.
When played live do the songs take a different form than the studio versions? The live footage on YouTube (some without a keyboard player) seem to emphasize the rock/funk element.
Yes, they are definitely more rocky. We don’t play with keyboards at all, though I want to get a keyboardist in the line up at some point.
You’ve collaborated with a number of artists; you guested on Acoustic Ladyland’s wonderful “Cuts and Lies” and Lo Slung’s “Pretty”; Whitey featured on your track “Paint It Red”; Skylab has remixed “Apple Pie” and “Sasparilla Kiss”; and “Your Love Is Gum” was released as a split 12″ single with Tom Vek’s “If I Had Changed My Mind”. How did these come about?
Acoustic Ladyland was through myspace and via a mutual friend who produced their latest album. Tom was because he was a label mate at the time (on Tummy Touch), Lo Slung — Adam is Coco’s bassist, Skylab is an old Tummy Touch connection too. Dan, Coco’s manager, used to DJ with him and we had mutual friends. Matty (Skylab) not only remixed a couple of tracks for us, he also produced half the album and plays guitar in the live band. Whitey is an old friend.
Your first single “Your Love Is Gum” had a different vocal style to most of your songs, was this because of the song itself or were you still finding your voice?
Good question… Probably a bit of both. That was the very first track I ever wrote with Milan. And the very first one Paul produced, on a whim, as he was busy doing stuff with Mains Ignition at the time.
That single and “Tainted Love” don’t appear the album. Was this because they didn’t fit within context of the album, or due to licensing issues?
Mainly context. Again, as “Your Love Is Gum” came out so long before the album, I felt it defined a different era in a way and wanted it to stay as a separate single for fans to stumble across one day. “Tainted Love” was something we recorded for an Audi project, so again, I wanted to keep this separate.
Does your singing voice and some of your phrases (“Dime,” “Apple Pie”) lead anyone to think you’re American? Do people get surprised when they realise you’re Australian?
I’ve never been mistaken for American only British. Which is frustrating in many ways as no one in Australia realizes I’m Australian! When we DJ’d at Cut Copy’s album launch over here (they had asked us as they were fans of “Your Love Is Gum”) they were really surprised when I told them I was Australian. I guess that’s what you get for leaving your home town for the big smoke ten years ago. But it would be great to get some recognition back home for sure.
You mentioned you’ve started writing for the next album, what kind of songs can we expect?
Something more streamlined I guess. Although I love that Army Behind The Sun is so chaotic, I’m really looking forward to recording the next album over a set period of time and being able to develop a more defined sound in doing this. I’ve been listening to a lot of old Ze Records stuff lately and re-acquainting myself to my 70s and 80s soundtrack collection on vinyl. So some interesting sounds should hopefully be coming your way in 2008.