Anonymity has always been popular with electronic musicians; Daft Punk famously evolved their personas into futuristic robots after an ‘accident’ in the studio with a sampler. It’s therefore wise to take Flight Facilities claims of members Captain Earnest Bon-Huffington, Madame Francois de Ludenkopf, Esquire Winston Humphries III and Fred with a pinch of salt. Ignoring the deceptive guises, it turns out that Flight Facilities are an Australian duo ‘who combine the blissed out pop production of Quincy Jones, the dancefloor hedonism of Daft Punk and the intoxicating head rush of the best night of your life’ – as they put it.
The antipodean pair lit up the international scene last year with their breakout and smash hit single ‘Crave You’. A sultry piece of dance pop composed of lingering piano chords, hypnotic funky drums and gnarly synths with a deep leisurely melody carried by the silky voice of Melbourne based songwriter Giselle Rosselli. The track snatched a SMAC award for ‘best song of 2010’ and was included in the trend dictating Kitsune Maison 10 compilation.
Their notable single ‘Foreign Language’ (featuring singer Jess Higgs) is a brazenly joyous flashback to 70’s disco and has been given a deep house makeover by Aus and Simples Records boss Will Saul and his production partner Tam Cooper. UGroove TV’s Edmund Knock caught up with the duo to find out a little more about them.
Hey guys, thanks for having a chat with us. So, after checking out your Facebook and Myspace page, I’m interested if you can tell us a bit about your upbringing in Trinidad and Tobago?
Good question. Unfortunately, it’s all highly top secret so we pretend we’re actually from Australia. We generally tell people we’ve had a great upbringing and life down-under but it’s all just a cover for our Caribbean heritage.
Tell me about yourselves, how you got involved together with Flight Facilities. Were you part of any other projects before forming the group and how long have you been making music for?
We both met through clubbing. It sounds bad but we were just at the same venues way too often so it was only a matter of time. Before Flight Facilities one of us was just DJing alone and the other was working with Light Year on a project called ‘To Shades’. Everybody seems to be related in one way or another in Sydney’s music scene.
Your sound has been described as Nu-Disco amongst other things but there’s definitely a French House feel about it as well. Who are your major influences?
A lot of older music. The music our parents brought us up on has played its part. Roy Orbison, Michael McDonald, chic, Cat Stevens, etc. but in a more modern sense, we were shaped largely by the years between 04′ and ’08. Things like DaftPunk, Fred Falke, Booka Shade, Tiga – it’s hard to pin it down even to just a few.
You use vocals in most of your tracks, what is that you feel vocals add to your music, or even any music? Why do you feel it’s important for you to use vocals?
Vocals are almost essential to giving a song some cross-over appeal. We’re pretty tough on ourselves about the final vocal content too. There’s so much appeal to a lot of instrumental songs and we have every intention of making some, but for now we want to try to make the kind of vocal tracks we wish were the sound of current pop music.
Giselle Rosselli is a very talented singer and I love her vocals on Crave You. How did she get involved with Flight Facilities?
Purely by coincidence. Met her in a bar one night through a friend and we got to talking about music. From there we stayed in touch and who knew, 2 years later, that this is how it would turn out?
Jess Higgs is the latest singer you’ve collaborated with. She has a very classic soulful voice which harks back to golden era of disco. Can you tell me more about her, where do you find these girls?!
Funnily enough, at the bar next to the one where we found Giselle. Coincidence again, through another friend. Jess was really fun to work with and was great at throwing ideas around. She’s amazing on stage and her voice is always on. Makes us look bad when she comes out to sing.
Your single ‘Foreign Language’ is a pure disco song, how did you go about writing it?
We started by referencing some old disco tracks. We were also looking at Jamiroquai and Moloko and talking about how great it was that 10 years ago that was what commercial music sounded like. Something has been lost along the way and it’s kind of sad – we’re hoping that sort of music can make an impact again. It’s still great to listen to!
Ever since angry rock kids ruined the scene with the infamous Disco Demolition Night, the genre has been predicted to make numerous comebacks that have never properly been realised. Recently though, artists like Maceo Plex have been infusing heavy disco touches into their house productions. Do you think that the time is right for disco to regain its crown at the top of dance music?
Whether people realise it or not, disco never disappeared. It still maintains its popularity to day. Look at songs like Barbra Streisand, it was one of the biggest dance hits in the past few years. That was a Boney M sample. Boney M were heavy hitters even back in the 70s and 80s, and their music still sounds good and still works in a contemporary context. We think the one thing that’s interesting about the infamous Disco Demolition Night is that disco records are still rare and collectible items. Rock, not so much. Not to take away from the rock scene, but it’s funny how time dictated the value.
You’ve had quite a busy touring schedule this year and have performed everywhere, including Colombia. What are your plans after the Foreign Language dates in Australia, are you going to travel around Eurpoe and/or America anytime soon?
We’re still organising an American tour for March/April and we may be heading back to Europe later in the year. It’s pretty exciting to be able to visit places we thought we may never have been able to. What’s more is that we do it for ‘work’. Airports and travel are pretty exhausting experiences but taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture is a rewarding feeling.
Will Saul and Tam Cooper remixed ‘Foreign Language’ what do you think of the re-work, are you fans of their work as it is and was it a personal request to have them remix?
To be honest, at first we weren’t sure about it and we weren’t too familiar with either of their work. It’s so bare and we didn’t take to it right away. But then we played it in Germany last August and realised how huge it was. It’s the simplicity that makes it so interesting, we love it now! We play it every opportunity we get. The label made sure we got that mix and it was definitely a good move on their part. Will Saul and Tam Cooper definitely have at least two more fans as a result.
You have a clothing line, tell us a bit about that?
Well it’s just t-shirts for now but we want to move into some other items. We think some Flight Facilities wrist watches would be unreal.
Do you prefer performing in the intimate surroundings of a small club or in front of a sea of arms of your adoring fans at a music festival?
They’re both as good as each other. Having 1000+ people in front of us at a festival is an unbelievable experience but an intimate club show makes you feel like part of the crowd. You can feel the atmosphere and the audience becomes part of the show. It’s too hard to choose because they’re such vastly different experiences.
Dubstep is the buzzword of the moment and the genre is currently in the middle of taking over the world, it’s especially seen a meteoric rise of popularity in America. There’s a remix of ‘Crave You’ by Adventure Club that’s nearly as popular as the original. Are you tempted to add any bass wobbles to your music in the future?
To be perfectly honest we’d have to say “definitely not”. Neither of us enjoy dubstep. We understand it’s such a big thing at the moment but as hard as we try, we just don’t understand it. We’re blown away by the response to Adventure Club’s remix and we can really appreciate how well they did with the remix. As far as our understanding goes, they did a really tasteful interpretation. You probably won’t find us playing it any time soon. It just doesn’t fit with our sound or our DJ sets – but that’s what remixes are for, right? All the same we’d love to meet up with those guys, they seem like legends and they’re obviously going to be HUGE -deservedly so.
Finally after two riotously infectious singles, the question on everyone’s lips is when can we expect a debut album?
An album? Uh oh! Not any time soon. We’re still working on more singles. At the rate we work, we wouldn’t have a full album til about 2020. We tend to put a ridiculous amount of work into one song at a time and that seems to be working for us right now. So we have to keep fending the album requests off with a sharp stick. Expect a new single from us in the next month or so featuring Grovesnor. We’re hoping it will it hold a flame to the other two.
Words: Edmund Knock