From its inception, we wanted our debut album, Île de Rêve to explore the ground between collaborative and solitary artistic pursuit through the album’s main concept: islands. At once, they are these seemingly isolated places, but they’re also deeply influenced by all that happens around them – particularly those who reach their shores.
It’s the same with music-making. At first glance, our album is the product of recording sessions between the pair of us exclusively, but that masks the many conversations and the exchange of ideas; the featuring performances, formal and informal collaboration that go into making such a work.
Conceptually, we wanted to lay a cornerstone, but also to allow space for people to interpret the music and to work with the project in their own ways. This was realised through the series of album visuals we worked on with Tough Honey Collective which now play proudly behind us at our live performances, a beautiful visual accompaniment to the record.
The Space Between Swells EP was another collaborative outcome of this kind. A series of re-interpretations of the album’s music, the record is also intended to provide a window onto how fellow musicians have made sense on growing up and living on islands.
In this pursuit, we invited Max Essa, who was born in the UK but has been based in Japan for many years and fellow Brit, Mark Barrott who is now based in Ibiza (and who in fact still runs International Feel, the first label to release our music).
For Max, the tone of the record rekindled “memories of an overnight ferry from Barcelona to Ibiza circa 1989, the Okinawan island of Ishigaki on a July evening by the ocean a couple of years ago and tatami room at Bar Bonobo in Tokyo at 6am on a Sunday morning”. All those positive years of island-hopping and party-going proving the abiding memory. The island as utopia, perhaps.
Mark Barrott’s work proved a little more introverted, living “in the palace of the listener’s mind, at 4am in the morning in the quiet nature of the night”, reflecting the deeply personal connection we have to the many places of our pasts.