Singer/songwriter Deelo and producer/director Julian Strangelove make up Garçons, a musical duo hailing from Canada's capital (Ottawa if you need a little geography refresher). Their latest EP Body Language (released July 25) is an infectious mix of funk, soul, and R&B, reminiscent of Frank Ocean and Outkast, giving their sound a nostalgic early 2000s feel that will make you long for the time when your biggest worry was guessing what Frappuccino flavor Britney Spears would favor next.
But Garçons are also pushing the creative envelope visually; their music videos are proof of that. Take those for their songs "Numba One" and "Little Things," for instance. Directed by Strangelove, the color palettes and editing tropes make for some serious eye candy, with Deelo in a floor-length fur coat dancing in settings worthy of a Wes Anderson movie just one of many strokes of genius.
The duo, who recently opened for Ludacris in Toronto, ran us through their new seven-track album and let us in on their process and inspiration.
1. Numba One
2. Little Things
STRANGELOVE: With the music, it's always been about telling stories and creating this colorful world for people to get lost in. This is a song about the love/hate relationship we have with the little things in life. Sometimes they make your day, other times they drive you crazy. We recorded the final version of the song in Montreal. If you know about the music coming out of Montreal right now, you'll be able to hear the influence. But it's also got a fun, high energy, old-school disco feel, especially in Deelo's singing. After we recorded the first draft, I think we just sat back and listened to it on a loop for the rest of the night. It’s really fun to play live, too. It always gets the people moving.
3. Pink Dress
DEELO: Pink Dress highlights a specific aspect of fantasy that people like to get lost in while forgetting that nothing can ever be perfect. Even the girl of your dreams had to go through all of life to get to where she is now. She’s been through good and bad times, ups and downs. She is going to have imperfections, but so are you. If you look closely, there’s beauty in those imperfections—that's what this song is about.
4. Fly Solo
STRANGELOVE: This is our favorite song on the EP. It’s just so weird and experimental. Everything came so naturally during the writing process, which felt so effortless and meant to be. The intro part where Deelo starts talking about his crazy night was a true story. He came into the studio the next morning and recorded that part right away. It was perfect. The phone call bit was added after—Deelo got a phone call while we were writing and answered his phone in that hilarious “Hey Bro” voice. It was so funny; we just had to add it to the song. We also love the jazz elements that make the song abstract in a sense. There isn’t a proper structure or direction. It’s all about putting the feeling first - which is usually the case when we write.
5. Hang With Us
DEELO: We love to embrace the things that make us human and we love to talk about that in the music. This song is all about kicking it with friends, playing your music loud, acting like fools and just having a good time. We feel like the listener can interpret it in their own way. But at its core, the song is about encouraging people to not take themselves too seriously. They just need to be true to themselves. It's definitely a really positive song with a great mix of hip hop & jazz, and we love that about it.
6. Take It Slow
DEELO: Take It Slow was the first song we worked on for the EP. It was just so gritty and groovy that we knew it was something special from the beginning. There’s a nostalgic "early 2000’s" attitude to it, which we love. Obviously, we were inspired by that entire era of music growing up. Love songs with infectious hooks and dirty beats to dance to. I think it’s our favorite to play in the live shows because we get to dance with people.
STRANGELOVE: Morning has a “classic R&B love song” feel to it, but it’s just so goofy at the same time. I think it describes the careless state of mind and freedom we have in the studio. The line about having to close his nose because she has bad breath is hilarious. We’re just having a really great time making music. So if we can make the listener laugh too, that’s amazing. It's only 2 minutes long, but why not? I think it feels more like a thought than a song. It comes in and out so smoothly so it was a great way to end the project.