TRUE Pop Independents

If you are one of our regular readers then you’ve probably already read our review of Made of Glass, the sophomore record from Swiss electro-pop-R&B duo True.

The record is truly something wonderful. Pun intended. It’s nourishing content-wise and equally liberating musically. It’s the type of soundtrack that you want to infuse your home with on a beautiful Sunday morning, to squeeze a bit more colour out of life. And if you miss Prince and wish that Aluna George would be around more, this stuff just might fill that void. 

Since we’ve been playing this record quite a bit in the last few days, some questions started to bubble up. Instead of speculating, we decided to get a hold of Daniela Sarda and Rico Baumann and let them do the talking. One particular thing that we were really curious about was how is it for them to be an independent act and to compete with pop titans

Your latest record addresses some pretty heavy topics, yet the music doesn’t really reflect that outright, why is that? 

Rico: In my experience there’s no happy without sad and no sad without happy. Music touches me more when there are several layers to it. The songs that make me really happy always have a sad note, somehow. I’m pretty bored by most songs with melancholic lyrics when the music says the same thing. It’s like in horror movies, where the innocent looking puppet is much scarier than the ugly monster.

Dani: I think that it’s human. Many people who are very sensitive do that. You want to surround a soft core with a hard layer otherwise it gets too fragile. 

Is it hard to be this open and vulnerable on a record? 

Rico: We didn’t really think about it. I guess it is, that’s why we repressed the thought that people are actually going to hear these songs.

Dani: Normally, it is very important to me to be as realistic and as honest as possible. But when it comes to issues that are painful or uncomfortable such as loss, getting older, our own mortality, we tend to repress that. Admitting that you are weak also requires courage, but you feel much better when you can overcome this obstacle.

In the last few years, more so called pop artists started to talk about much more complex issues, ranging from mental health through politics – why do you think that is? And why now?

Rico: Hmmm. Is there more of this than there has been before? I’m not sure about that. But maybe now is a time where artists feel like they’re the ones who have to be honest because who else is going to be, right? Also, more people feel like they have something to say and that it’s important to say it.

Dani: It may have something to do with the expectation that pop music should be easy and entertaining. Times are changing, pop music should also be allowed to grow up.

Outside of the sound, pop is a construct, right?  It’s very much about the visual spectacle: the styling, the videos etc. The multimedia concerts seem to be as important as the music itself. Producing all these things, however, requires a lot of resources which smaller labels don’t usually have. As an independent act, what’s your take on this?

Rico: The visual aspect of music is very important to us as well. We also put a lot of effort into making good videos, but with modest budgets. At the moment we feel like we only want to make a video when we really have a vision for it. We don’t want to just make one for the sake of it. That’s so boring, and there are so many of these music videos out there already.

Dani: I really hate this. Honestly, what I love most is singing and making music. Why do I have to deal with things that I have no idea about, like producing the coolest video on earth without any money? I am terribly bad at organising! Sometimes I would like to be like Justin Bieber. I have the feeling that he goes on stage, sings his songs and then goes back home. The rest has been organised for him by a thousand other people. (laughs)

Will you be going on tour with this record? 

Rico: Yes, we have an amazing live band. It sounds much different from our recorded material, but still like True. I think we can show a different side of our music live and I’m looking forward to that!

Dani: Yes, finally we’re coming to the part that we love the most – playing live.

Will we see you in London?

Rico: I really really hope so!

Dani: Yes please!!!