Photo Credit: Jack Bridgland
We connected with Australian duo Angus Campbell & Eliot Porter of ‘Two Another’ fame ahead of their new release ‘Stronger.’ We caught up with the boys now based in Stockholm & Amsterdam to discuss influences, upcoming work & how the pandemic has affected their plans for 2020.
What inspired the two tracks ‘Another Night’ and ‘One Night,’ and what’s the direction of Two Another in 2020?
Angus: ‘Another Night’ and ‘One Night’ are two tracks from our upcoming project “Two Sides”, which we plan to release in October. I guess it symbolises a change in direction for us sonically and also in the way our records are written. They’re based on our thoughts, lives, and emotions at the time we were writing them.
Eliot: These two tracks are far more introspective than any of our previous releases. We’re working with a new producer who’s added lots of flavor to the production of the songs. We’ve also used a lot more samples and even more live instruments on our upcoming tracks. We wanted to step out of bedroom production and change the way we approach our music.
When did you guys move to Europe and how did the both of you meet? How did the idea of Two Another become a reality? Has the shift to Europe affected your overall aesthetic?
Angus: So, we’ve been family friends since we were kids and really connected through the music program at our school run by the “Bag Raiders,” they taught DJ-ing and music production. After we left school, we started working with each other and another friend and began writing songs/producing music. We ended up moving to Europe in 2014. I was in London, and Elliot was in Brussels. We finally launched the project in 2015 when Elliot moved to London, and we got our first release together.
In Australia, it was tough to finish songs because we’d end up just going to the beach. London was a lot more conducive to studio life because of the harsher winters and just drawing from new experiences and working with new people.
Eliot: The way people work together in London is also quite different from Australia. Just the entire “Sessions” style, the number of musicians here and people who are doing different things in London. It was quite energizing coming over and changing things. BUT…a lot of the guys on our record are Australian, so we still haven’t lost that piece of it. Just the depth of talent in London is insane!
We recently spoke to Jordan Rakei , and he was telling us a similar story of how he moved from New-Zealand to Australia and then on to London. He described how he identified with the South London jazz scene and how the shift changed the aesthetic of his sound.
Angus: Definitely! Up until recently soulful music wasn’t that popular in Australia, they’ve been a bit more into electronic and indie music. In London there was a big soul scene, with so many different artists and musicians you can draw from and work with.
Apart from Two Another, are there other projects you guys work on personally? If so, how do you guys split the time between ‘Two Another’ and these other personal projects?
Angus: We both work on things outside of Two Another. Eliot does a lot of top lining and has a few solo tracks that he’s been working on. I do produce for a friend of mine, Lou Stone and do production for other artists. Predominantly we’ve always just liked working with each other because it’s nice to have a partner to bounce ideas off. It’s kind of lonely to be doing it by yourself and hard to always have the motivation and inspiration for ideas to keep going forward.
Eliot: I have so much admiration for the James Blakes of the world, who do everything from start to finish, but it’s good having that partner.
Who are some of your inspirations when it comes to music? How has this inspiration shaped the sound of Two Another?
Angus: My parents listened to a lot of Motown and classic music like The Beatles, Marvin Gaye, David Bowie, and stuff like that. My brother got me into electronic music in the early 2000s… Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, and I also got into the Ed Banger. When I left school, I started listening to things like D’angelo, Pharell, and Mark Ronson. We’ve always been into different genres of music so we try to to switch up how we make music quite a bit.
Eliot: My journey follows the same course. For me, the first thing that got me listening was what my parents would play on the record player, and later discovering electronic music. That’s when I then downloaded my first music software to try to make like crazy electro music, which seems weird now. Angus introduced to me to the Justin Timberlake album, all of D’angelo’s stuff, and a lot of soul music. When we started together, we began emulating that in our music and attempted to make more bassline driven swung beats…we were all about that in the beginning.
Angus: Our sound has also been shaped by all the musicians we’ve met along the way. I used to work at a studio in Sydney and that’s where I met a lot of guys who played keys, bass, and drums. They had this huge wealth of knowledge of funk and soul music that I picked up from them. It sort of pushed our sound to really embrace musicianship and the live elements, especially with me working on the computer predominately !
Eliot: Initially Angus and I were just producing in our bedrooms. So when we saw the guys do their thing, we decided we need to funk up the sound a bit, swing the drums a lot more and really try to blend the electronic and live worlds.
With the current situation caused by COVID-19, how has this affected your workflow? Have you found yourselves in the studio or writing more in these crazy times? If you guys are in different places, how does that work in terms of creating music?
Eliot: Like everyone, we’ve had a couple of tours canceled, so we’re endeavouring to get into the world of Live Streaming, and we’re trying to create more content around what we do live. In terms of making music, it has changed because we’d meet up in London, go to the studio, meet up with the producer we’re working with, Dan, and put out our ideas in the room. Now we’re just sending things back and forth, it’s a bit slower, but it might lead to something good because we can sit back and think about things a bit more.
Angus: Weirdly, on a creative front we were kind of used to working in isolation because Eliot has been living in Amsterdam for about a year now and I was living in London. Now it’s really hard to make any concrete plans because nobody knows when we’ll be able to perform again or restrictions will be lifted.. This year we’ll be releasing more music than ever before though so we’ve just got to be positive!
Can you tell us a little bit about your new release “Stronger”?
Angus: We had been working on an idea very different from the final record before Luke Wynter played a bass part – we then rearranged the instrumental around his bass groove, adding a more drum machine type beat.
Eliot: Lyrically the song addresses our romanticised expectations of adulthood and that moment you realise no one is there to hold your hand and you need to carve out your own path.
How do you guys like to spend your time away from music?
Angus: I have a young 18-month-old daughter, so she keeps my hands pretty full!
Eliot: I’ m a big family man, so I’ve been with my family and partner. Love cooking as well, and recently I’ve got into running. I ran a marathon last year, and it’s been about health, getting out riding my bike around and staying active in Amsterdam.
On a recent Instagram post, you guys said your track, “Dreaming,” was an end to your first chapter. Could you elaborate?
Angus: I guess it’s similar to what Eliot was saying earlier in terms of ‘Two Sides’ being a new page for us. “Dreaming” was one of the first songs we ever wrote together. We had it as a demo and didn’t know what we wanted to do with it. At that point, we had already put out two EP’s and a mixtape and it felt like that chapter of songwriting was coming to an end. It was nice capping that off with “Dreaming.”
When you guys released “One Night,” you jokingly said it would be the last track with the lyrics “Night” in it. How do you guys approach songwriting and lyrics when it comes to your music? What inspires your lyricism?
Eliot: Yeah, We were serious about that. We do promise that it will be our last time with the term ‘Night’ in the title(laughs). People have asked us whether they’re different tracks or not. We should probably call it “The Night Series.” Our songwriting is different every time. Sometimes it happens really quickly with Angus and me in a room bouncing ideas off each other. I might go home and finish a few things, or it might happen over a whole year just writing segments and changing things out. The theme often stems from simple conversations between Angus and me; What’s going on in our lives, what feels important to us because it has to come from both of us. That’s when we’re all invested in the music, and we’re proud to put out something that reflects both of our lives.
Angus: I also just think you love singing the word “Night” when you sing.
Who are some of the artists you guys are listening to right now?
Angus: There are so many good things out there at the moment. ‘Joesef,’ ‘Aquilo,’ ‘ST Francis Hotel’, ‘Prep’ and ‘Dan The Lion’ are all releasing great things at the moment.
Eliot: ‘Omar Apollo,’ ‘Col3trane,’ ‘Son Little,’ ‘Still Woozy.’
Any collaborations/features you have planned for 2020?
Angus: Hopefully !
What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given?
Angus: Try to enjoy it and be in the moment.
Eliot: Don’t sweat the small stuff, don’t let the little things distract you from the bigger picture of what’s happening.
What about musically?
Angus: I don’t know if this was the best piece of advice someone gave me, or something i learnt in the studio.. Sometimes, if people like your demo, they like it for a reason so don’t overwork it too much because you’ll lose the essence of it. We’ve over cooked a few things in our time !
Eliot: Don’t listen to yourself too much.
Whose Studio sessions would you guys have wanted to be a fly on the wall?
Angus: I’d love to be in the studio with Kanye. Every second with him would be fascinating to me. I’m a big fan! Daft Punk would also be exciting.
Eliot: Mackelmore or a Pharell session would be fun! The making of that JT album! I want to see how he records those sweet harmonies and how he stacks them! Also, A Beatles session would be sick right after they discovered the mellotron.
What’s the last record you bought?
Eliot: Dark Side, the Nicholas Jaar record!
Words by Adithya Mathews & Akhil Hemdev