A lingering conversation (and walk to your car) with your crush after last call; the nostalgic daydreams of a memorable decade-old moment in time; the seductive taste of someone’s breath right before you first kiss them.
Every once in a while there is a band that breaks through the stale, inanimate boundaries of modern musical genres and seems to psycho-sonically sum up the story of one’s life.
For me, that band has become Electric Guest, the creative conception of lead singer, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Asa Taccone[/lastfm], and drummer, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Matthew Compton[/lastfm]–with some inspired production by [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Brian Burton[/lastfm] (a/k/a [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Danger Mouse [/lastfm] of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Gnarls Barkley[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Broken Bells [/lastfm] fame).
An unsigned band boasting only a handful of shows and a limited amount of internet fanfare, the mysterious Electric Guest are slowly, effectively gathering nods from industry élite and word-of-mouth promotion by savvy music appreciators.
[pullquote quote="Everything on the album is written out of something from my life." credit="Asa Taccone"]Electric Guest has held the attention of new fans with their captivating live shows and their ’60s-esque, melody-driven beatitudes dedicated to the dynamic viscera of feeling.
Even with the polish of production and the undoubted sparkle of talented musicianship, Electric Guest’s music lacks any of the contrived, mechanical ploys of many modern pop-rock bands.
Taccone explained that what the listener hears is an immersion into his own life stories, his own psyche:
“Listening to interviews with other artists, people have pretty much antithetical approaches to the same thing. I know people who are like ‘Oh, I just write fantasies,’…because I think things have been so watered down…everything on the album is written out of something from my life.”
“I tried to make it open-ended enough to not have it be about me so that it wouldn’t transcend and have people connect to it. I think a lot of music that ends up being obviously about the singer doesn’t allow people to feel whatever it emotes for them.”
“Everything on there is out of something.”
Similarly, Electric Guest’s musical influences share the same fluidity as the many varying influences of life; not one experience can define one person–or one genre accurately convey Electric Guest’s sound. Compton explained:
[pullquote quote="There's so many things that are just universal feelings that we want to try and get across. " credit="Matthew Compton"]“Generally, no matter what the genre of music is, there’s always certain things that really connect with us like emotion.”
“I feel like on every song, we’re trying to pull from different genres that we’re influenced by–whether it be something from a score that we like or an R&B song or an old Motown song.”
“There’s so many things that are just universal feelings that we want to try and get across. I don’t think it’s one thing in particular…I think that we both really enjoy things sounding a little odd and interesting.”
Ironically, in this pervasive world of social media music marketing and “buzzbands” blowing up the “blogosphere,” Electric Guest’s popularity is mostly built on the pre-Internet musical rules of success: great music, adept management, word-of-mouth from devoted fans, and the quintessential “It” factor.
This is quite fitting given that one of the first conversations I had when I sat down to interview Taccone and Compton was about the innate disenfranchisement in an internet driven culture, or as Compton says, a “society where things are a little more disposable than they were before.”