Photo: Elvis di Fazio
Garçon Garçon make perfect bedroom pop —that's what the critics say. Hailing from Sydney, Nathan Mahon and Nick Tsirimokos began gaining online traction in 2011 with their remix of Patrick Wolf's 'Together' and a collaboration with rapper Cazwell. Last year, they released 'Stay In Touch', which we're still playing on loop on our iPods. With their new single 'Instant Attraction', the bring back their infectuous '80s beats and a flair for (slightly) melancholic lyrics about gay lovers.We just want to tell them: The attraction is mutual.
How's life been since the release of your first EP last year?
Nathan: Nick and I both still have full-time day jobs! I don’t think I realized just how much work is involved in striving for your goal. It’s been a huge learning experience and I feel like we’re better informed now about how to approach things. At the same time, it would be nice to be signed to a record label and have them hold your hand through some of this stuff and help you grow.
Nick: I was really surprised and a little chuffed at the types of opportunities that came from the release of the EP. I mean, we are essentially just two Aussie guys making music in our bedrooms, independently, and with limited marketing budget. Touring has simply given us the confidence to drive forward and continue making the music we do. Knowing that people are listening and connecting with your music is a really nice feeling —it makes you want to give as much as you can, and we intend to.
What's your best memory from tour?
Nathan: The tour was amazing! I didn’t want it to end! There were so many funny moments and incredible people along the way. It was really special playing at Folsom in San Francisco alongside Ladyhawke, Little Boots, and Hi Fashion. Paris was crazy: They were such a fun audience and the party we played at La Java was incredible and full of super-cool club kids. I could keep going on and on and on…
Nick: I got drunk and ate a hotdog in the gutter with Ladyhawke —no cheese because we are both lactose intolerant. I think I sprained my finger from texting and instagramming all my mates that night! City wise, NYC was by far the most special place. Not only did we get to play at Frankie Sharp's ridiculously fun club night Westgay, but we also just had time to soak up the city and the people, and spend all our money at Opening Ceremony. I fell in love with that city.
What inspired your new single, 'Instant Attraction'?
Nathan: The lyrics are all about that moment you meet someone and the sparks start to fly and there is serious chemistry between you and that new person. I think a lot of the time we are trying to figure out what it means exactly: Should we be lovers? Should we be dating? Should we sleep with each other and then just be friends? The lyrics are all about going through that process but not being too hard on yourself and just letting go and whether it’s right or wrong, just enjoying the experience.
Nick: Yep, that is pretty much the story! I think one publication described it as "Even hipsters can't resist the power of music and hormones". I like that. Musically, I really tried to scale the layers back for this one. I think the EP was so overstated... Like, a lot more instruments, more sounds. So, for this one we decided to try and use less layers to still power the same level of emotional output.
How did you two meet?
Nathan: We were introduced by a mutual friend. I happened to move pretty much across the road from Nick here in Sydney, so I kept seeing him around after that and we started chatting about music on facebook and realized that we both wrote songs. I took my guitar over to his house one day and played him rough demos of ‘Take Me Out’ and ‘Maybe Tonight’ and asked him to help me produce them so I could perform them at my birthday party in 2010. Once we finished them and put them up online, people started to blog about us and liked what we were doing so we decided to become a real band and work towards an EP.
The question on everyone’s lips: Are you guys dating?
Nathan: (laughs) No, we’re not dating. I think we would kill each other! We’ve always been just friends. I’m single. I’m not sure if I have a ‘type’ but some things I like include a good sense of humour, hairy guys, and tattoos get bonus points. Also, he would need to have eclectic taste in music, and be driven and ambitious. Does that sound like a total gay cliché?
Nick: Why do people always think that we are dating? Awkward! I’m a good Greek boy so I’d just like to meet someone I can take home to mom and dad! I tend to date guys who are really passionate about what they do, whether is be photography, or sport, or whatever —it's an attractive quality. People who are fence sitters don't grab my attention as much.
You're one of very few only openly-gay pop acts, and you referred to gay relationships explicitly in 'Stay In Touch'. Did you have a discussion about being "out" to everybody from the beginning?
Nick: We are just two homos having fun making music. It wouldn't really work if we lied about being gay —listeners can suss out insincerity pretty quickly. We just do our thing and try and be as sincere and upfront as we can be.
Nathan: I don’t think we really discussed it actually… It kind of just happened! It just felt natural to write the lyrics that way, because they were very personal and close to my heart so I didn’t think twice about it. Also we had a lot of support early on from the gay community so it wasn’t like we were going to hide it. But we don’t aim to be heroes either. I think it’s fantastic there are more artists like Frank Ocean and all the queer rappers who are just being real and saying what they want to. Hopefully it just becomes the norm and people just get into it.
You both have great style: Who are you favorite designers?
Nathan: That’s very nice of you to say! One of my favourite things about being in a band is doing shoots and videos and getting to dress up in all these amazing things from all these clever people like Jeremy Scott, Adidas Originals, A.P.C., Opening Ceremony... I am really loving the Australian label Popissue right now, we wore lots of their pieces in our video. Check them out!
Nick: This is a funny statement, because I have worn the same ripped jeans for the past four days. Or maybe it was five... But, I will take it!
Are you planning on coming back to the States soon?
Nathan: We hope to be back there sometime soon, maybe later this year? I love the U.S. I used to live in New York, so it’s like coming home when I visit. I love going to Westgay, shopping at Opening Ceremony, eating at Freemans, seeing some art at the New Museum, and gigs at The Bowery or Williamsburg Music Hall. I also really love LA, Palm Springs and San Fran. Next time I'm over I would really like to visit some new places like Austin, TX, or San Diego.
Nick: For me, the tour was actually my first time in the States, so there were so many things that I didn't have time to experience. I had heaps of embarrassing and naive tourist blunders too —such as not realizing that Central Park was like a really fucking big park with a zoo and walking trails and crazy drunk people. I guess it might be the same as the people who come to Sydney and expect to see kangaroos hopping down the road? I can't wait to go back. Did I mention that the guys are ridiculously attractive too?
Is 'Instant Attraction' part of a larger project: new EP, LP? Tell us about what you're working on and your upcoming projects.
Nick: We have a lot of songs on the verge of completion —songs that we are really excited about. At the moment I’m in the process of relocating to Berlin, but now that the single is out, as soon as I’m settled I will be back on my laptop working on the production of new songs.
Nathan: I’m really excited about the new material, it’s a little bit darker than our first EP. Since Nick is moving away, it’s a good chance for us to regroup and figure out what next exactly. I’m not sure if it will be an album or an EP but there will be something new by the end of the year, and hopefully more shows overseas.
Is there someone in particular who you’d like to work with?
Nathan: I have a total crush on Grimes and would love to do a song with her. I think we would sound cute together! Also I would love to contribute a song to the soundtrack of the next Nicolas Winding Refn ('Drive') or Derek Cianfrance ('The Place Beyond The Pines') films. We have some new material that would be perfect for them —hint, hint.
Nick: I would really like to do some visual work with Roy Raz for one of our music videos. His visual aesthetic is leaps beyond anything I’m seeing out there at the moment in terms of style, imagination, and narrative. He’s a really smart guy. Musically, Simian Mobile Disco or Röyksopp would be pretty high on the list!
For more music and tour dates, check GarconGarcon.com.
Photo: Elvis di Fazio