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Tales from the Dungeon: He Met Her Interview

Recently, we met up with Rocky Chance and Mowgli Moon from LA novelty He Met Her as they passed through London on their way from Berlin. Talking over a quick live session and a semi Sunset Blv. glass of wine in North London, we chatted the perils of late-night Berlin, shared vices around Mexican food and discovered what a little-known studio called Le Dungeon means to the duo, which is where the majority of their work comes from.

Avid self-producers, it seems that He Met Her's work stems from a similar space as much of Hollywood's original self-styled creation. Not willing to fixate on one single genre or sound, He Met Her range from disco to dub, and dancehall to twinkling pop dependent on the reference that they have taken for the track. Despite a discography of one record - 'Take Me Tonight' and a mixtape that's done the rounds of the blogs, much of this pair's production is surprisingly mature. 'Take Me Tonight' as an example, is a glossy, synth-driven medley of vocals, building on themes from Drive, layered with steady, grooving rhythm. In contrast, He Met Her's mixtape takes Mowgli's cutesy vocals and layers them over sun-soaked West Coast hip-hop and R&B.

Focusing on working with friends, and discovering their sound as they travel through Europe and America, He Met Her appear to eschew the classic route of many musicians these days, and focus more on building up both their fanbase and book of songs through the people they meet, and the places they go to. Currently in London, and having spent a while in Berlin recording, the pair are now making decisions on where to go next. New York seems to be a popular destination, but we hope that they stay in London for a while and play a few shows.

LF: So to start out, it would be great to know a bit about how you came about. What started He Met Her?

HMH: SO you mean how 'He' met 'Her'? (Laughs) Well, he used to go to a restaurant I worked at, like 3 and a half years ago, and he would always come in, and he ended up hanging out with me most of the time at those diners, at the front stand, he would be talking to me and we would be like, what's going on over there, look at that outfit, you know, we were just always laughing and talking together.
Mowgli: And then I was like, oh, do you know how to sing?
Rocky: He literally just came up to me and was like 'Can you sing?!'
Mowgli: I was like, I produce music, and have been trying to work on some sort of project with someone and try to create something, and she was like, 'oh, I don't know, like I've never really tried, but I don't think I sound that bad' and then we were like, alright! Let's do it! It took us literally six months to finally go into the studio - we talked about it and we would hang out for six months, and talk.
Rocky: Yeah - we were like, making up names for the band, and we like had so many too, because every day there was a new one and we were like, oh this one today! That one's better. We had Boy/Girl, but we just started thinking that was just too co-ed, but then we actually had 'Co-Ed', and I was like that's cute, but,
Mowgli: yeah - that sounds like a college band
Rocky: and then after that, we went to Berlin
Mowgli: Yeah - after that, we had this opportunity to go to Berlin and record.

LF: So are the songs you're working on now the ones you recorded in Berlin?

HMH: Yeah - so the work that we're doing at the moment was recorded in Los Angeles, but yeah - we did record in Berlin. When we first started, it was a new project, and when you're trying to do a guy and a girl duo, these things can get really cheesy, or things can become really cool, or just too abstract, I mean some of these duos become too abstract. I mean we try to stay in the middle - we try to be cool, but still relevant, and keep some of the classic sounds.
Rocky: Yeah, so in Berlin, it was more of an experimental time, I mean we tried all kinds of shit out in Berlin.

LF: Was there anyone in particular that you worked with in Berlin?

Rocky: We know some friends, out there, we actually had a really good group there, and they're totally the fresh, cool fun people in Berlin, so that was great.

LF: And how does Berlin compare to LA?

HMH: Well it's the sister city isn't it? But their music is a lot more techno, electronic based, which we love, but we really like organic stuff as well, and we want to incorporate that in what we're doing, so that was a lot more difficult there, like the people we worked with there were just I don't get it - make it hard!' And we were like, ok, but what about that?
Mowgli: They were very beat-heavy, but it was cool - I mean being in the atmosphere and everything, we loved it.
Rocky: And we grew to love something about it, and put that in our own stuff.

LF: So has what you've recorded in Berlin worked out?

HMH: Well, they're kind of little babies resting there - we have probably one song from there called Surface Situation, and it's got this kind of No Doubt reggae feel to it, and we're going to release that, but the rest are going to be found, and come to haunt us probably!

LF: Talking about style, a lot of your songs are very different, and it seems that you guys are evolving with every song - how do you go about writing at the moment?

HMH: I think that the people we are around, and the music we're listening too influences us. We listen to everything, and love stuff from everything, so we just end up being 'why don't we just do that?' - take everything and just put it all together. We make lists of things - I've got a list that goes like - Pineapples, Sharks, wave sounds, red and blue lights - just a bunch of words, and then that ends up in a song.

LF: So for the EP that's coming out soon, what should we expect from that?

HMH: This one is very electronic-pop-indie, and I like to throw the word disco in there. It's dancey, but not full-on rave club - we want everyone to groove around when they're listening to it.

LF: How about Crime Novella (their latest release)?

HMH: Well we had a song that we started maybe four different times called Crime Novella, and every time it was different, and we couldn't finish it - there's something that we really like about it, and with the name, we like the whole mystery crime / gore / Dick Tracey look of it.

LF: So, with LA being such a cultural melting pot at the moment, what does LA stand for for you?

We've discovered that LA, although I love it - I was born and raised there - and will always love it, but they don't appreciate the search for new music. I mean artist development doesn't really happen there - it's not fun. You have to search for the scene, and you've got to really be in it. But you can go to New York - we visited recently, and people just know about you - we got invited to do so many shows. The sad part about it is that so many bands end up going to Europe, or the East Coast, and they're from Los Angeles, and then a few months later you start hearing this band, and people think that they're from Europe, when actually they're not. It's a bit like us.

LF: I suppose it could be something around using the internet to self promote - I mean you guys use your tumblr to talk about yourselves - is that how you see thing growing, or do you think it's all around doing shows?

Well we haven't performed this new EP yet, and these songs, each one is a character - I mean it's like wearing a different outfit for each one, so I think when people see that, people will understand that better. We're really visual people, and we want people to see things. We make a whole load of videos, with Omar putzing around making stuff with the YouTube audio.

LF: And seeing that you produce all of your own material - how far does that go in what you do?

I mean it's really important to us - everything down to the visuals and stickers. Visually, it's easy for us, and more fun I would say.

LF: What's next for you guys then?

Next? We have the mixtape and the EP out there, and we wanna play shows, and kinda see where it goes. We're really excited to perform mostly.

LF: And in terms of inspiration, what's exciting you at the moment?

Movies, it's always movies. We love Drive, we totally love that. We used the Kazinsky track quite a bit, and it's been quite an inspiration for us.

LF: And in terms of place, you're in London now, where's next?

I think we'd go back to New York - but we're going to hop around to wherever we can get the most shows. We have a friend who's just remodelled his club, Cookies, in Berlin, so we could go back there, and that place is totally cool and grimy, but still sweet.

LF: And for London, how much longer are you here for & how are you finding it?

Well we're here 'til at least June, and we're trying to do as much as possible. London's really great - I mean in Berlin, it's really intense, but in London it's more relaxed, you can chill out a bit more - it's a bit like LA in that respect. The people here seem to not care whether they hang out at home, or go out. In Berlin, you get broken!

He Met Her are playing shows in London throughout June. Keep up to date with what they're doing via their Tumblr page.

Words and images by Oliver Spall
21:33 - 03/06/12