Faux Society had the distinct pleasure of catching up with electronic-pop duo Okapi Sun, a San Diego based group consisting of two members, best friends Dallas & Leo Okapi. Two girls that flip through many instruments guitar, drums, synths, and vocoders switches during their set.
The name ‘Okapi’ derives from a striped member of the giraffe family, and the music the girls play has a very tribal undertone to it. Their music encompasses nostalgic heavy drums, sweetly mixed with synths, snares, and loops. One word simply describes what Okapi Sun is all about–fun.
FS: Your use of auto-tune reminds me of Ladytron with a tribal infusion, what was the inspiration to take your music that route?
OS: Um, we like robots, and we thought that it would be fun to sound like robot people. So we got the vocoders and then we can just mess around, that’s where we went with our sound.
Well, yeah we’ve always liked top 40s and stuff so we’re kind of like that whole auto-tune thing. We are actually like one, we’ve rehearsed something which we sing regularly but for some reason with the vocoders it’s so much more fun. You can like experiment what is and what’s taking us into different dimensions in music. It’s just fun, you know.
FS: What’s the story behind the formation of the group?
OS: Well, I like to say we met on another planet, but if you read online you’ll see that we met in Europe. I was traveling in England and she was in England also, and we met through friends. We decided to travel from Europe but then she’s from here (San Diego) so I decided to come move here too. Then we started playing music, we went to school for classical music and now we’re like ‘Oh we just wanna like play some more pop songs.’
FS: Who do you feel is an artist that isn’t using auto-tune properly and some artists who are?
OS: Who’s using auto-tune correctly? Okapi Sun!
Who’s using auto-tune incorrectly? Okapi Sun!
We just want people to have fun. When we have fun, they have fun and vice versa. So we don’t really wanna reinvent anything. We’re just gonna go with whatever comes to us in a moment, a lot of times the lyrics are written like that too. We’ll just come up with it, in the moment. When we sing we just let it come out and whatever it is, might not be like the deepest lyrics in the world, but who cares if we have fun you know? So that’s pretty much our way of a saying we just kind of want people to come together and dance and celebrate life, you know as it is.
FS: Since you guys play with so many different instruments, what’s your creation process consist of? When you write songs, do lyrics come first or is it the music or is it a jam session?
OS: It’s usually a jam session. We like sugar and caffeine so we usually go to Starbucks and get drinks and then go to the practice space and work. Usually the music forms first and then afterwards we’ll start writing the lyrics and shaping it and making it more like a real song.
It’s so crazy because its like creative pulses because the song almost writes itself. It’s almost once you get the beat going a simple melody on a piano or whatever, its just gonna form itself, and we just let it be whatever it wants to be. We love pop music so of course we like a three and a half minute stretcher. We record it and then comeback later and stretch it and that’s what it happens I mean a lot of times the lyrics.
(During the middle of the interview we got mobbed with fans)
FS: That’s cool, you guys are rock stars. How long have you two been playing together?
OS: Since January! Our first show was at The Casbah on January 18th, 2013. We performed at SXSW already, and signed a deal with Puma, the clothing company and so things are moving pretty fast and we’re excited with what’s ahead.
OS: Oh, we’ve been making music for awhile like together. I mean we started playing together before that. Actually it just started out as a jam! we’re like this together and __ it clicked and we’re like if there’s any magic then. Actually the very first song we played in the set is the song we wrote in my garage. Just like messing around when her dad came and jammed with us, that was so funny!
FS: So you are saying you two are like classically trained? What instruments?
Dallas – I grew up playing classical violin and viola, and then I went to College for that, and I studied music education and then I threw that all out the window for the vocoder pedal.
Leo – Well I grew up in Europe, my mom plays piano, so I had like a lot of times…I played 14 years playing classical piano so that was really long, I started when I was like four.
FS: I like that when you describe the meaning behind some of your lyrics you just flat out say “I don’t know what that means.”
OS: In literature class, how people like take seriously great poems and they were like just tearing them apart. “Oh he meant the depression era of 1932 when people had no money and everybody was depressed and we started….” and I’m like I don’t know if he really meant that, or she really meant that.
FS: Its different because everybody is like trying to be a lot deeper than what they really are.
OS: We just want people to realize that life is too short to get all caught up in drama and if they like us or not, we don’t want people to pretend that they are cool or something, we are just like everybody who wants to dance and have fun. We don’t need to be pretending to be somebody else, which is the message we want to bring that message across to you, so yeah!
FS: That’s so cool! Is there anything else you wanna add to this interview before we go.
OS: If you can make sense out of our craziness, you’ll probably pick out some cool stuff to say you know!!!