Tanlines is a pop duo made up of music mavens Jesse Cohen and Eric Emm. Their debut album Mixed Emotions came out this past March with a strong combination of dance, pop, and world music. They have a retro style with a modern percussive sound that repeats hooks and lyrics while getting better with every listen.
Jerry Nunn: Hi, Jesse. You are the group’s percussionist. When did you first start playing the drums?
Jesse Cohen: In high school. I also played in college. I had a drum set, which I don’t do now. I now have a modified drum set. I always played in different kinds of bands. I met Eric because he recorded my old band.
JN: You recorded with Eric in New York?
JC: Eric had a studio in Brooklyn in Greenpoint. My old band Professor Murder went in there to record an EP and we became friends after that. The name of the studio was called Brothers and we later made a song about it.
JN: The album seems very ‘80s influenced. Did that time period influence the sound?
JC: It was not a direct thing from it. I definitely think that there are sounds in there that are ‘80s. To me it sounds like a lot of things at once. That just sort of happened being someone who listens to all kinds of music. They all sort of expressed themselves differently in different songs, sometimes at the same time. I think to be creative the goal is to let things come out of you. That is definitely what happened when we were writing this album. People can get a lot of things out of it. It is certainly the music of our childhood. On the other hand I do think the album sounds pretty unique.
JN: I agree. It is already I my favorite album this year.
JC: Wow, thank you.
JN: I was watching the video at a gay bar and had just missed your live performance the week before in Chicago. It was good to discover Tanlines but just a little late.
JC: That is great. We hear stories like that sometimes. We were in Santa Barbara and we played a show and met these bands afterwards and they said the same thing. They heard we were in LA and they didn’t know who we were until after.
To me that is a great sign because when you are in music sometimes you feel like it will disappear but more and more people are finding their way into it. That makes me very happy.
JN: My favorite track is “All of Me.” What inspired that song?
JC: Unfortunately that is more of an Eric question. There was a long time where he wouldn’t even talk about lyrics. We did publish the lyrics in the album so that was a big step for us.
JN: The video is great with same sex dancing and shiny curtains.
JC: Thank you.
JN: Are either of you gay?
JN: You do remixes for many musical acts I noticed.
JC: We do and we want to do more. When we first started we wanted to do a lot of remixes because it was a way to get out there. We then moved on to making our own music. We actually just did another remix but I can’t really talk about it. We will see if it comes out or not.
JN: People can follow you on the website and I see you guys Twitter too.
JC: I do most the twittering myself.
JN: Lincoln is the new best place to play live these days.
JC: Everyone says it is great. I have never been there but I am excited to go.
JN: Tanlines has been traveling a lot.
JC: Yes, we were actually kissing the West Coast last week. We were in Los Angeles, Palm Springs, San Francisco. Santa Barbara, and Seattle. San Francisco was definitely the highlight of that trip and probably of that tour. We do really well on the West Coast. The best shows were in New York of course since it is where we are from, but also San Francisco and Chicago.
JN: You played at the Empty Bottle here last time.
JC: Eric used to live around the corner from there actually. He has saw a million shows there and played there before. I went to school in Madison, Wisconsin and come down and see shows there. The place is small but I think people really love to see bands there. That is what it felt like. There was a lot of love there.
JN: I felt like I missed so I am glad you are coming back. I will be bringing my friends to see you this time.
JC: Bring every one of your friends this time!
For more sunny info on the group visit Tanlinesinternet.com.