In 2012, Nick Sanborn of Megafaun's solo act, Made of Oak, opened for indie-folkers Mountain Man. During the show he hit it off with Mountain Man singer Amelia Meath, bonding over a mutual love of pop music.
The two kept in touch, and eventually Meath sent Sanborn a Mountain Man song to potentially remix. The correspondence led to the two collaborating on the song, eventually turning it into the first Sylvan Esso single "Play It Right," an eclectic mix of pop vocals, and energetic production that's probably going to be the dance single of the summer.
Early this May the duo put out their self-titled album and recently embarked on a tour with Oakland's Tune-Yards. In anticipation for their show at the Granada Theatre this Friday we asked them a few questions about video direction, what they like about Texas, and getting a crowd to dance.
DC9 at Night: How's the tour with Tune-Yards going? Anything interesting happen so far?
Sylvan Esso: It's lovely! They are Dreamboats. Feels like a really excellent day with Puxatawnee Phil.
You've both toured through Texas before with other bands, and recently to SXSW, is there anything you're looking forward to in the state?
Breakidoo tacos, and ribs, and twang, and Stetson Men!
[Note: If you google "Breakidoo" your top results all come from either Sylvan Esso or Mountain Man's social media profile. It seems like Meath is the world's biggest fan.]
You've put out two pretty great videos, which both feature highly choreographed dances. Is that going to be worked into your live show?
It will be less choreographed and more ecstatic. We are very open to the audience doing choreographed dances if they feel moved to, though.
What exactly is going on in the "Coffee" video? Are you time traveling to different parties? Be honest, is this video secretly Back to the Future 4?
Nope! Think about it like Goldilocks but with raging instead of porridge.
Is there a set aesthetic you look for in your videos? How involved in the creative process are y'all?
We are really hands-on with anything that represents us, from design to production. Amelia wrote the treatment for the "Coffee" video, and Nick co-directed "Play It Right." We are also surrounded by an incredibly creative team who worked on both videos with us, not to mention an amazing group of extras from the Triangle. I suppose you could say the set aesthetic is our dear pals' brains at work.
You've put out a pop record that's extremely danceable; did you go into the project trying to make music that would get people up and moving?
Yes indeed. Moving and thinking, thinking and moving!
Do you feel like dancing is an important part of music?
No, not necessarily. But it sure feels good to be a dancing human.
You've stated in other interviews that you just want people to have a good time at your shows. What would be the perfect way for the crowd to show you they're enjoying themselves while you play?
Dancing instead of documenting.
Got any surprises for Dallas on Friday, going to bust out a county cover, or something weird like that?
Oh, there's always room for surprises...
tUnE-yArDs perform with Sylvan Esso, 8 p.m. Friday, May 30 at the Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave., 214-824-9933 or granadatheater.com, $25
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