NOT TiGHT

NOT TiGHT

“When it’s just us two, it’s really easy to make music,” JD BECK tells Apple Music. “We play around, and the tracks come pouring out.” Instrumental prodigies DOMi & JD BECK certainly have a telepathic connection when it comes to creativity. First meeting in 2018 at the NAMM trade show in Southern California, where the two teenagers were individually invited to perform as part of a larger ensemble, Texas-born drummer BECK formed an instant connection with French keyboardist and Berklee student DOMi Louna (born Domitille Degalle). The pair soon began writing fast-paced, note-packed jams to upload to their Instagram, and by 2020, they had caught the attention of multi-instrumentalist Anderson .Paak. Swiftly signing them to his APESHIT label, he challenged the duo to release an updated body of work as a debut. “He basically told us we could do better than the album’s worth of material we already had,” BECK says. “So, we put together a wish list of collaborators and got to work.” The result is NOT TiGHT, a 15-track jazz-fusion odyssey of head-nodding hip-hop, psychedelic vocoder experiments, and rhythmic freakouts. “We just wanted to surprise ourselves with this album,” DOMi says. “This music is an expression of ourselves at our core.” Here, DOMi & JD BECK offer their thoughts on each of the album’s tracks. “LOUNA’S iNTRO” DOMi Louna: “We thought the album needed book-ending to help bring the listener in and then back out of the tracks. We already had the outro, “THANK U,” so we wrote these chords and added synth patches before sending it to violin, double bass, viola, cello, and harp players all around the world. It was like a mini online orchestra opening the album for us.” “WHATUP” DL: “We’ve had these chords since 2018, as they were part of a track that was going to be the intro for our original album. We kept playing around with it when we were locked down together during the pandemic, and after deconstructing it a few times, we decided to make a new tune. We added a drum solo section, and so now the record has two intros before we get into ‘SMiLE.’” “SMiLE” JD BECK: “I sing dumb little melodies a lot, and when I was in the bathroom on my phone one day in 2018, the melody just came to me. I put it together in my head and shouted to DOMi to quickly set it to some chords.” “BOWLiNG” (feat. Thundercat) JDB: “We met Thundercat around the same time as meeting each other. Whenever we were in LA, we would go and stay with him and take over his house. We always write a lot with him when we’re there—we must have 50 song ideas together already. Back in 2018, we’d all go bowling a lot, as it’s his favorite thing to do, and so we wrote this song about hanging out in the bowling alley.” “NOT TiGHT” (feat. Thundercat) JDB: “It’s probably the closest representation of our sound—just singing random melodic lines to crazy chord combinations. In 2019, we played it for Thundercat, and he loved it so much that he wanted to be on it. He became the first instrumentalist to collaborate with us, and it was incredible to have him soloing on the track with DOMi.” “TWO SHRiMPS” (feat. Mac DeMarco) DL: “We wrote the instrumental for this track while we were on tour in 2019. JD had a little drum machine, which he made a loop on, and then I added the keyboard parts and put it in a 9/8 time signature. We met Mac the same day we met Anderson .Paak in 2019, and by 2020, we were spending a lot of time at Mac’s house. We played him this instrumental, and he started singing along to it, just listing random sandwich names. The track was originally called ‘Sandwiches of America.’ We ended up rerecording new lyrics with him, but thankfully it’s still food-related.” “U DON’T HAVE TO ROB ME” JDB: “I’ve been playing gigs by myself since I was 11, and I got used to the element of danger, being in cities late at night. When DOMi and I started going out in LA, you could feel when there was danger, like one day we were in the parking lot of the bowling alley at 1 am, and this dude asked us for a cigarette, and it really felt like he might pull a knife on us too. It made us think about how we never have cash—only cards that we can cancel easily—so why even go through that trouble of robbing us?” “MOON” (feat. Herbie Hancock) JDB: “Andy made us write down all our goals for the record, and among them was a list of people we’d love to work with. Herbie was at the top of those names. One of Andy’s managers had a connect with Herbie, and he called us one day to say that Herbie had watched our videos on YouTube and was down to collaborate.” DL: “We were shitting our pants, as we knew we now had to come up with the best song we’d ever written. Sunlight is some of our favorite stuff that Herbie has done with the vocoder, and so we wrote ‘MOON’ to that same vibe. Luckily, we got him on piano, too, and when we recorded it together in 2021, we got to hang out with him, which was amazing.” “DUKE” JDB: “This track is a George Duke reference. We had been hanging out a lot with Earl Sweatshirt and his producer Black Noise, and they inspired us to put three of our loops together into one track and then record it as a new song. The record is full of crazy songs, and we needed something to chill after Herbie—a track that has a natural feel.” “TAKE A CHANCE” (feat. Anderson .Paak) DL: “We really wanted a feature from Anderson, as we’re huge fans of his, and so we had to come up with something unique and very pretty for him to sing and play on. JD wrote this hook, and when we played it to Andy, he just started rapping over the verses, and then we all sang on the chorus. The whole track was a bunch of surprises and sections put together, since Andy can fit over pretty much anything.” “SPACE MOUNTAiN” JDB: “When we first got to LA, I couldn’t get into any clubs, so the only thing we ended up doing, apart from making music, was going to Disneyland. We went on the ride Space Mountain a lot, and it felt like the perfect title for this crazy tune. The first section is a loop we wrote in 2019, where I recorded the drums through an intense compressor, and then the second half used to be part of the original intro to our first album.” “PiLOT” (feat. Anderson .Paak, Busta Rhymes & Snoop Dogg) DL: “We made this beat in 2020, before we signed with Anderson. We used to send him clips of what we were making, and the day after we sent him this, he emailed it back with him and Busta on it, which was amazing. Once we signed, we had Snoop Dogg on our dream list of collabs, and we thought he would be perfect for ‘PiLOT.’ He was down for it, so we went to Snoop’s studio for six hours one day and recorded it all super smooth. It was very cool to see him and Andy interact and write to our loop.” “WHOA” (feat. Kurt Rosenwinkel) JDB: “DOMi wrote the first part of this tune when she was 12. It was on a random Sibelius session that she played by accident, and I loved it. I knew we had to do a song with it, and Kurt felt like the perfect fit. We met him through the drummer Louis Cole when we were in New York in 2019. A week after he had the track, he sent it back with him soloing from beginning to end. It was perfect.” “SNiFF” DL: “The original title for this was ‘You Can Sniff My Butt.’ JD wrote it in 2018, all in one go in front of me—and it’s one of my favorite things he’s ever made. We played it at every show as a closer and people loved its pace, so it felt like a good idea to close the record with it too. It was one of the earliest songs we came up with together.” “THANK U” JDB: “This used to be a crazy loop in a 13 time signature, which was called ‘Dermatologist’ because DOMi had just learned what that word was. We wrote it in an Airbnb somewhere in 2018 and then, when we came back to it a few years later for this record, we realized it was perfect to send to the mini-orchestra who played on the intro. It rounds out the album really well.”

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