In 2022, it’s safe to say that we are living in the era of the internet. For those of us that are Gen Z, or even late 80s millennials, most of our lives have been shaped on the web and through the rise of social media. It’s highly likely you had a Myspace or Tumblr era in the noughties, and you’re in your Twitter or TikTok bag right now. Nevertheless, the boom in social media sites has created a generation of‘chronically online’teens and adults with personalities and identities heavily influenced by online culture.
As a burgeoning musical artist, learning how to engage effectively with your audience is vital. A healthy knowledge of popular culture and an understanding of the internet’s fickle nature are two skills that help immensely in sustaining a career. Few artists are a better example of mastering this art than Atlanta-based rap duo Coco & Clair Clair. The pair met on Twitter in 2012 and have since gained notoriety from singles such as ‘PRETTY’ and ‘Naomi & Kate’ which made waves throughout the internet’s alternative rap scene. Coco & Clair Clair blend together effervescent melodies and hip-hop drums to create their genre-bending sound, unafraid to blend bubblegum pop or indie rock with their rap vocals. Their music catalogue characterises the influence of the internet on genres like hip hop; the rise of Soundcloud rap as a subgenre has popularised more pop, rock and R&B-influenced rap styles, like that of Bryson Tiller, Lil Yachty and Rico Nasty.
Beyond their hybridised sound, the pair’s lyricism set them apart from their peers. Sprinkling in elements of humour, Coco & Clair Clair take a comedic approach to songwriting – their 2017 track ‘Crushcrushcrush’ delves into the problematics of fancying an ugly guy, boasting the lyrics “You’ve got my attention (Pow pow)/ You kind of look like a duck/ But a bitch might start quackin’ (Pow).” They are indeed “funny girlies”, as Coco describes, and leaning into their “stream of consciousness” writing style helps them to showcase this.
In the run-up to the release of their second studio album SEXY on November 4th, the pair dropped two new singles ‘Cherub’ and ‘Love Me’, the former with an accompanying music video. ‘Cherub’ leans further into the two’s hip hop sound, melodic flutes used throughout is reminiscent of a Future song – fitting as the two cite his recent project I Never Liked You as inspiration when making SEXY. Juxtaposing the upbeat, light-heartedness that characterises some of their previous discography (think: ‘Pop Star’ and ‘Sims 2’) ‘Cherub’ has a distinctly darker feel, highlighting the evolution of their artistry. The two seem to be solidifying themselves within the hip-hop genre, while keeping their unique approach to lyric writing, Coco reciting the lyrics “Rapping on this Runescape type beat/ Thinking ‘bout someone who’s been tryna try me.” Maintaining their nostalgic aesthetic, the music video is filmed using a VHS camcorder, capturing the two being mysterious, fashion-forward girlies taking on Las Vegas.
The latter of the single releases ‘Love Me’, further highlights their evolving sound as the duo experiment within the drum and bass genre. The tone stays in line with their newfound grunginess, making it apparent that their artistic perspective is growing and changing along with them as individuals.
Coco & Clair Clair, since the beginning of their career, have had their fingers on the pulse of Gen Z popular culture. From their style, lyric content andsocial media presence it’s clear that these two are a product of the internet and in the best way. With ‘Cherub’ and ‘Love Me’ building anticipation for SEXY – available for pre-order here – BRICKS thought it was only right to chop it up with the internet’s long-standing It Girls.
You’ve got a new album coming out this summer, the girls have been begging for a new project. How are you feeling about the release?
C: So excited! I feel like some of these songs, especially the first single we are dropping, are some of our best work so it’ll be nice to see how it’s received.
CC: I feel really good about the release. We’ve made an effort to take our time with this project which has allowed us to revisit some older demos that didn’t make it onto our last EP, so that’s been really fun.
Does this feel more exciting or more pressurised as it’s the premiere of something new?
C: Definitely exciting. Trying to not let the pressure get to us isn’t easy though, especially the more we build out our team. But we’ve trusted our gut and it’s gotten us this far so we just have to keep reminding ourselves that.
CC: I feel more excited than anything, we’ve had the songs on repeat 😉
You’ve been managing to release singles over the last 2 years, as well as your EP Treat Like Gold, despite the global effect of the pandemic. How did your recording process adapt to the throws of COVID and have you carried any lessons learnt into your new music?
C: Covid actually helped us and gave us the time we needed to just focus on music. Before COVID, Claire was living and working in New York full-time while I was a full-time student in Atlanta. It was a miracle we were able to put out anything when we were living apart and both super busy. When COVID hit, Claire moved back home, I graduated from college and it finally seemed like the perfect time to put all our focus into the project. This new project I feel like is us returning to our roots in the sense that we’re both able to invest ourselves fully like we did when we first started the project for fun.
Wine, plus Vodka, plus Suburbia equals instant bop. This is the recipe we’ve been working with since the beginning and if it’s not broke don’t fix it.
Throughout your whole body of work, you’ve kept a bad-bitch level of confidence and humour to your lyrics which is a huge part of your appeal to fans. Do you have any rituals to get you in the right mood for recording and writing, and which artists inspire your writing style?
C: Wine + Vodka + Suburbia = instant bop. This is the recipe we’ve been working with since the beginning and if it’s not broke don’t fix it. In terms of our writing style, I think Lil B and Uffie’s sort of stream of consciousness mixed with party vibes has played a been a big influence in helping us express ourselves freely in our music. We’re funny girlies and it’s fun to showcase that in our work.
CC: Listening to other music that emulates the energy we want to give off in a song always helps me get in the right mindset, or sometimes if I’m having a rough day vocally I’ll listen to other artists that have a similar voice to mine and I’ll use their vocals as a guide to figuring out what notes I can and can’t hit lol. And of course like Coco said, a little vodka always helps.
You’ve worked with Kreayshawn on TLG, this felt like such a perfect collab as your sound is very reminiscent of Kreyashawn’s earlier style of rap (circa Gucci Gucci era). Can we expect any fun collaborations with the new releases this summer?
C: Hell yeah
What were you listening to while you were creating the new music?
C: Honestly the couple weeks we were in the studio working on the album I realised I hadn’t listened to anything else besides our own new tracks. Whenever we finish a song it is always my new favourite song and I forget that other shit exists lol But new Future did drop during that time and that was an inspiring release as well.
CC: We’ve been working on these songs for over a year now so it’s hard to say, but lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Future and Taylor Swift. Coco has great taste in music so she’s usually on aux when we’re together.
You’ve been touring the US, performing at different festivals like Lollapalooza, Smokers Club Fest, OSHEAGA and supporting the Turnstile Love Connection Tour. What are your favourite and least favourite parts about touring and performing?
C: My least favourite part is having to go to the airport so damn much I hate that place. Most favourite part of performing and touring is meeting the fans! It’s one thing to see the fans online in our lives or on Twitter or TikTok but it’s another thing to actually meet them and feel their excitement and support. Top 2 best feelings and it ain’t number 2.
CC: My favourite part is getting to meet other artists and watch them perform, we learn so much from them. We’re still figuring out what does and doesn’t work for us in terms of balancing work and life when we travel for shows, I think the biggest hurdles for me have been maintaining a healthy diet and sleep schedule.
We both now realise we have this shared special gift and it makes me happy to realise how lucky we are to do what we love as best friends.
Do you have a favourite live performance you’ve ever done, and what made it so special?
C: My favourite performances I barely remember because they were from our early days where we’d drink an entire bottle of wine each before we played. Unfortunately my body doesn’t work that way anymore, but those were great times.
CC: I get so nervous before shows that I usually end up forgetting everything that happens on stage. We played with Elysia Crampton and Dean Blunt a few years back which still feels unreal to me… More recently we headlined our first US tour and sold out every show, which obviously felt very special.
You took a break between studio projects (the POSH album and Treal Like Gold EP). How do you feel you’ve grown as a duo over this break, and as individuals Taylor and Claire?
C: I feel like with covid and being physically closer (Claire lives 7 minutes away from me) it has made us grow closer and learn to have healthier communication than we did when we were younger and crazier. We both now realise we have this shared special gift and it makes me happy to realise how lucky we are to do what we love as best friends. Our friendship has made me a better friend to my other friends even and I’m really grateful to be able to do this alongside Claire.
CC: It’s funny that it seems like we took a break because we’ve never stopped working on music, we were just living in separate cities which made it harder to have a routine. But thankfully, a lot has changed since we released Treat Like Gold. We’ve definitely grown in terms of being able to trust ourselves and knowing when to say “no.” The music industry is a very scary place but it becomes clearer to me each day that we’re exactly where we need to be. Leaning into that mentality has helped us go back to our roots and make the songs that we want to make instead of falling into the trap of only putting out what we think other people want to hear. Individually speaking, hmm…I’ve been working on gratitude and allowing myself to feel proud.
Liza became part of the BRICKS family in 2020, appearing as a Digital cover star for her anti-racism activism during the pandemic, and has since become the BRICKS Production Assistant and a Staff Writer, focussing on pop culture and sociopolitical issues.
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