The indie pop duo give us the lowdown on new album Light Myself On Fire and made us a playlist to boot!
Muso’s love a sibling duo, it’s a fact. From the vicious rivalry of the Gallaghers to the harmonious unions of sisters Haim and Tegan and Sara, working with those you’ve known your entire life is practically a shorthand for collaboration. It’s something that brothers Ryan Marshall Lawhon and Taylor Lawhon know all about.
“[We] can’t speak for other siblings, but we’ve been best friends our entire lives, so it makes it a lot easier for us,” they share. “We rarely have to describe what we want to accomplish in a song, it’s instinctual and we both seem to just get it.”
Collaborating together first as Pacific Air – which was birthed from the ashes of Ryan’s school time solo project – the Los Angeles based pair now work together as Mating Ritual, spinning their respective love of 80s synth pop and post-punk into a buoyant and spiky tracks. This marriage is displayed perfectly on the title track of their second album Light Myself On Fire, a unabashed, toe-tapping, head-bopping riot which surmises precisely what Mating Ritual are about.
Below, the band share more of their new album and sound and even made a playlist of their influences to boot. How kind!
We loved your new single ‘Light Myself On Fire’! Can you tell us a little about how you brought the track to life?
That song was actually written for another band that didn’t get used originally, but when we were drunk one night we found it and we re-wrote the lyrics and recorded the song as you hear it now in about two hours. Sometimes the best stuff comes really quickly.
It’s a real toe-tapper with a great rhythm! How important is it to you as songwriters that you get people moving to your music?
It’s become more and more important to me as I get older. When I was younger I was very much into new age and much more etherial music, but as I grown up I’ve really been drawn to more rhythms and movement, which I feel might be a bit of a backwards trajectory. I feel like a lot of people get into to calmer music as they age but I just keep getting angsty-er.
The video is visually striking yet quite minimalist. Who did you enlist to help you in the creative process and what was inspiring it?
That video was made by IAMMASKARADE, who did all the videos for this album. They aren’t meant to be seen as “music videos” so much as they are visual elements that complement the themes of the songs. His ‘Light Myself On Fire’ visual was one of my favorites, along with ‘Spitting In Two’.
You’re brothers and you’ve been in bands together before. How does writing for Mating Ritual differ from your previous projects?
I think our process is still the same, we just grown a lot as musicians and people, so we are a lot more critical and precise with how we work now. It’s important to self edit, something we’re just now really beginning to thrive at.
You’ve managed to blend your individual loves of 80s synth-pop and post-punk. What artists do you love from that era and how do you feel they’ve impacted your sound?
New Order is probably my favorite band. I’ve always loved them, but only recently did they kind of become that in my mind. They’re the only band that has impacted me at every stage of my life and bring me back to some of my earliest memories. We also love OMD, Wire, The Replacements, Ryan Paris, and the list goes on. The 80’s was a great era for pop music.
You’re about to drop your album Light Myself On Fire – congrats! What about it is exciting you the most? Did you encounter any difficulties when writing?
This was actually the most immediate and streamlined process we’ve ever had for an album. Almost every song seem to come out of nowhere yet be finished the next day. Since we did everything from start to finish, working quickly certainly helps us not get sick of the songs, which I’m hoping doesn’t happen anytime soon, we are about to start touring the album!
What is your favourite track on the album and why?
I go back and forth, but I think I like ‘Splitting In Two’ the best. I don’t have a good reason for it, it’s just one of those tunes I really connect with.
What else do you have planned for 2018?
Lots of touring. US, UK, Europe, it’s gonna be a busy fall for us. We’re also hoping to have our next record written by the end of the year, we’ve got a general idea of what we want and have already started writing.
We love new music around here! Can you each pick an artist that should be on our radar?
Really been into Lump, Laura Marling’s new project. Jack Ladder’s new album is weird and fantastic as well, same with Alex Cameron.
Mating Ritual’s new album Light Myself on Fire is available now.