8 Songs, 24 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

When TNGHT first emerged in 2012—thanks in part to a rambunctious, smoke-filled SXSW performance that went viral online—the oddball duo of Glasgow producer Hudson Mohawke (Ross Birchard) and Montreal’s Lunice (Lunice Fermin Pierre II) became a sensation. Armed with an exhilarating debut EP of bombastic hip-hop beats that flirted with bass music and electro, they quickly became a welcome antidote to then-booming EDM. “Things had gotten fragmented within dance and electronic music,” Pierre tells Apple Music. “We had this weird sound that no one knew how to place.” Success came quickly via festival gigs, commercial syncs, and even interest from Kanye West (“Blood on the Leaves” samples their track “R U Ready”). But as experimental trap music veered mainstream, the scene and sound the pair helped build became diluted by commercial imitators, costumes, and Vegas-style pyrotechnics. The following year, TNGHT announced a hiatus. Says Birchard, “We didn’t want to become a caricature of what we’d been trying to do.” They each returned to their solo careers—Pierre toured with Madonna, Birchard joined West’s creative inner circle at G.O.O.D. Music—but the cult following they’d amassed as TNGHT held strong. Seven years later, the duo found themselves living in LA and decided to go for round two. The resulting EP, II, is a glitchy, distorted field day of leftfield electronic music that once again thrusts club music into stranger territory. Here, they guide us through it, track by track.

Serpent
Lunice Pierre: “This was the first song we did, and it was a make-or-break moment. If it worked, we’d keep going; if it didn’t, we wouldn’t. We didn’t want any pressure around it. We started making some ambient stuff to get a feel for the new equipment, and at one, almost accidentally, the sounds became metallic, melodic, and big. It sounded so f**king fun that we knew we had something. Later on, Ross suggested putting ad-libs over it, so I started yelling at the top of my lungs—so loud that the neighbor’s dog started barking and I barked back. Obviously, we kept all that.”

Dollaz
Ross Birchard: “There were a lot of moments in this record where I wanted to strip things down to the bare elements—sharp angles, breathy pauses. Because it’s effective. This song actually hits harder because of the negative space. When you come from a background where you predominantly make hip-hop and rap music, like we do, you’re always leaving room for a vocal. We’ve learned never to overstuff songs.”

First Body
RB: “This was the last song we made and it took some serious fine-tuning. It was a catchy party song, but we wanted it to be more—we wanted a guttural reaction. The thing we’re ultimately aiming for is tricky to pull off: We want to make relatively serious music that doesn't take itself too seriously. We want to make party songs that don’t insult your intelligence. It’s a balance.”

Club Finger
LP: “We consider this song an observation on the sounds we grew up on. It’s hard to overstate the influence that rave music and rave culture had on us. It was all we listened to as teens, and it was something we really, really loved. We’re always trying to find ways to incorporate it into our music, but you want to do it respectfully—you don’t just want to wholesale rip it off.”
RB: “You almost want to recontextualize it, because so many people think that music is super f**king corny. But for me, what I love about it is that it’s really, unashamedly hard music but it has this cheeky edge. It’s almost winking at you, or daring you. That’s something we tried to capture here.”

What_It_Is
LP: “This is a heavy nod to the Missy-Pharrell-Timbaland era, which imprinted itself on our brains as young beatmakers. The music they were making was so unusual and influential. From the moment I started producing, I wanted to figure out how to make those types of sounds.”
RB: “I like to think this is our weirdo take on a big pop song, except it’s largely one drum loop with some scattered scratching. It’s almost meditative.”

I’m in a Hole
LP: “We were toying with other ways to program drums and found a sample from Syv de Blare, a singer I worked with on my debut album. She wasn't saying, ‘I'm in a hole,’ but I like chopping vocals to make them sound a certain way. Once we got it to work, we felt like we should follow it.”
RB: “I know it sounds so corny, but that’s our artistic process: We look for things that feel weird but sound interesting and follow them as far as we can.”

Gimme Summn
LP: “Working on a second project helped both producers better understand their collaborative dynamic. If there’s a pattern to how we work, it’s this: I goof around on Ross’ drum machine until he jumps up and says, ‘Wait! That! Do that again!’”
RB: “It sounds very us, but it isn’t safe. We did not want to regurgitate the first record. That would be really boring. I’ve been thinking a lot about being present and how it can affect your art. Art is true when you aren’t worried about how it’s going to sound or look later. There is only now.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

When TNGHT first emerged in 2012—thanks in part to a rambunctious, smoke-filled SXSW performance that went viral online—the oddball duo of Glasgow producer Hudson Mohawke (Ross Birchard) and Montreal’s Lunice (Lunice Fermin Pierre II) became a sensation. Armed with an exhilarating debut EP of bombastic hip-hop beats that flirted with bass music and electro, they quickly became a welcome antidote to then-booming EDM. “Things had gotten fragmented within dance and electronic music,” Pierre tells Apple Music. “We had this weird sound that no one knew how to place.” Success came quickly via festival gigs, commercial syncs, and even interest from Kanye West (“Blood on the Leaves” samples their track “R U Ready”). But as experimental trap music veered mainstream, the scene and sound the pair helped build became diluted by commercial imitators, costumes, and Vegas-style pyrotechnics. The following year, TNGHT announced a hiatus. Says Birchard, “We didn’t want to become a caricature of what we’d been trying to do.” They each returned to their solo careers—Pierre toured with Madonna, Birchard joined West’s creative inner circle at G.O.O.D. Music—but the cult following they’d amassed as TNGHT held strong. Seven years later, the duo found themselves living in LA and decided to go for round two. The resulting EP, II, is a glitchy, distorted field day of leftfield electronic music that once again thrusts club music into stranger territory. Here, they guide us through it, track by track.

Serpent
Lunice Pierre: “This was the first song we did, and it was a make-or-break moment. If it worked, we’d keep going; if it didn’t, we wouldn’t. We didn’t want any pressure around it. We started making some ambient stuff to get a feel for the new equipment, and at one, almost accidentally, the sounds became metallic, melodic, and big. It sounded so f**king fun that we knew we had something. Later on, Ross suggested putting ad-libs over it, so I started yelling at the top of my lungs—so loud that the neighbor’s dog started barking and I barked back. Obviously, we kept all that.”

Dollaz
Ross Birchard: “There were a lot of moments in this record where I wanted to strip things down to the bare elements—sharp angles, breathy pauses. Because it’s effective. This song actually hits harder because of the negative space. When you come from a background where you predominantly make hip-hop and rap music, like we do, you’re always leaving room for a vocal. We’ve learned never to overstuff songs.”

First Body
RB: “This was the last song we made and it took some serious fine-tuning. It was a catchy party song, but we wanted it to be more—we wanted a guttural reaction. The thing we’re ultimately aiming for is tricky to pull off: We want to make relatively serious music that doesn't take itself too seriously. We want to make party songs that don’t insult your intelligence. It’s a balance.”

Club Finger
LP: “We consider this song an observation on the sounds we grew up on. It’s hard to overstate the influence that rave music and rave culture had on us. It was all we listened to as teens, and it was something we really, really loved. We’re always trying to find ways to incorporate it into our music, but you want to do it respectfully—you don’t just want to wholesale rip it off.”
RB: “You almost want to recontextualize it, because so many people think that music is super f**king corny. But for me, what I love about it is that it’s really, unashamedly hard music but it has this cheeky edge. It’s almost winking at you, or daring you. That’s something we tried to capture here.”

What_It_Is
LP: “This is a heavy nod to the Missy-Pharrell-Timbaland era, which imprinted itself on our brains as young beatmakers. The music they were making was so unusual and influential. From the moment I started producing, I wanted to figure out how to make those types of sounds.”
RB: “I like to think this is our weirdo take on a big pop song, except it’s largely one drum loop with some scattered scratching. It’s almost meditative.”

I’m in a Hole
LP: “We were toying with other ways to program drums and found a sample from Syv de Blare, a singer I worked with on my debut album. She wasn't saying, ‘I'm in a hole,’ but I like chopping vocals to make them sound a certain way. Once we got it to work, we felt like we should follow it.”
RB: “I know it sounds so corny, but that’s our artistic process: We look for things that feel weird but sound interesting and follow them as far as we can.”

Gimme Summn
LP: “Working on a second project helped both producers better understand their collaborative dynamic. If there’s a pattern to how we work, it’s this: I goof around on Ross’ drum machine until he jumps up and says, ‘Wait! That! Do that again!’”
RB: “It sounds very us, but it isn’t safe. We did not want to regurgitate the first record. That would be really boring. I’ve been thinking a lot about being present and how it can affect your art. Art is true when you aren’t worried about how it’s going to sound or look later. There is only now.”

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