I don’t know about you but when I was 15, I was hanging round the back of the co-op with a cheap bottle of cider smoking Benson and Hedges trying (and failing) to look cool.
Tim Ayre and Jean Capotorto (Tim and Jean), are both still in their teens, the only difference between them and me is they are travelling the world performing at festivals and releasing stunning slices of sunny Electropop, such as new single ‘Come Around’.
Hailing from Mandurah, a coastal town south of Perth in Western Australia, the pair met at a train station where upon they spent 2 days holed up in Jean’s Bedroom.
No, they weren’t watching Adult Movies and smoking weed, they wrote 2 songs (one of which was Coming Around), and posted them on the Triple J Unearthed website. The next thing you know they are performing in the US for record labels and have a host of contract offers.
Fast forward a year and they have recorded an album with John O’Mahoney at the famous Electric Ladyland Studios in New York, toured with La Roux, Franz Ferdinand and Moby and are heading to the UK for some dates in May.
If you like MGMT and Empire of the Sun with a slice of Neon Neon, mashed together with Men at Work and ‘Holiday’ by Madonna give them a spin. We spoke to Jean to find out more.
How long have you been working with Jean?
We’ve been playing music together for around a year and a half now. Though we’ve been playing live in bands for several years, occasionally bumping into each over before we made the decision to get together to jam out some ideas.
Is the latest single ‘come around’ reflective of the rest of the new album?
I’d say its pretty similar in terms of an overall vibe, but there’s definitely some elements to it that are more natural and organic that I don’t think people will be expecting.
How do you make it work live, do you use extra musicians?
We play live with several keyboards, two Junos, a Moog and a Nord as well as electric and acoustic guitars. We have a band that includes a drummer and another one of our friends playing additional guitar, keyboards and triggering samples.
What is your fav synth?
My favourite and most used synth would have to be my Juno 60 which is modded like crazy. That or either this cheap, beaten up Casio keyboard I found on the side of the road in Singapore.
Who gets the most groupies?
I’d say Tim gets most of the groupies (if any) because he’s got the golden curls. I can’t pull that off. I’m just French… Most of the time we struggle to get groupies anyway due to the fact that we’re pretty awkward dudes.
Are your sounds all created organically or do you have a fav sound preset?
Most of the sounds on the record were created live apart from some of the earlier songs we wrote. It was all in the box when we first started hanging out until we hassled our parents enough to help us out with buying keyboards.
Are fans of Men at Work?
To be honest I haven’t ever really given them a chance. I was too young. missed it completely. I only know the obvious one… ‘Land Down Under’.
There is a fine line between Pop and Cheese, do you ever cross it?
There are always lots of lines that you instinctively try to avoid. Not just going down an obvious path but avoiding self indulgence. all you can do is go with what feels right to you. Everyone else will of course have their opinion.
We’ve been influenced by lots of music. Tim is a big jazz and blues fan and I’m into Sonic Youth. While you might not hear that on the record it’s part of our thing when it comes to music. I like the kind of pop structures used by Tom Petty.
Who is on your stereo at the moment?
Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Herbie Hancock and Rolling Stones.
Where is your favourite place to be?
My favourite place would be just hanging out at home. Where I live its a really small and relaxed town that’s just a nice to come home to. There’s really nothing more to do other than go to the beach and play music.
Are you looking forward to coming to the UK?
We’ve been really excited to come to the UK for a long time so we’re stoked that its finally happening. A lot of our favourite music has come from the UK so it will be cool to see where it all started.
What are your plans for the rest of 2011?
For the rest of the year we will be touring pretty hard. Just finished a Festival tour with Erykah Badu which was great. Such a great band to watch each night..inspiring stuff. We’re about to head off on our own headlining tour of Australia then We’re heading back to the US later on and to Canada for the first time also.
Now if they only go and listen to ‘Business as Usual’ by Men at Work a few times they could really be on to something. Tim & Jean’s debut single ‘Come Around’ will be released on 8th April via Publica Records. Tim and Jean on Facebook