Lashings of R&B and a touch of Radiohead make a heady summer cocktail
For AlunaGeorge, things have gone a bit mental of late. The duo – keyboard/producer whiz George Reid and vocalist Aluna Francis – are on the cusp of scoring a bona fide summer stonker with ‘You Know You Like It’ (pairing Warp beats with the kind of helium vocals early Metronomy would have killed for), and impending fame could be about to change everything for them. “I feel like we’re in a rubber dinghy just before the cruise ship sweeps you out to sea,” Aluna tells Radar. Just last night, George thought his singer was “going to lez off” with Friends’ Samantha Urbani when she joined the Brooklynites onstage for an impromptu dance off. And the night before that Aluna “accidentally” sloped off with a service station’s all-day breakfast without paying. No wonder George is having trouble sleeping.
“The only way I send myself off is by listening to talk radio,” he admits sheepishly. It’s a bit of a change for the two suburbanites (she’s from St Albans, he’s from Hampton Court) who hooked up after some humble musical beginnings. “A mate showed me how to play ‘Mission Impossible’ on bass and that was it,” says George, with Aluna countering: “I sang ‘At Last’ at my mum’s wedding and everyone cried.” They began working together after George did a remix for Aluna’s former band, My Toys Like Me, and bonded over a love of Beyoncé, Radiohead and “weird” sounds.
“I love hearing something and you’re like, ‘What the hell is that?!’ We wanted to do that. You hear that on a Chris Clark track or a Neptunes one. There’s very little going on but it sounds complete,” says George. For Aluna’s part, the band finds her embracing her R&B side. “For a long time people expected me to sing R&B, so I wanted to reject it. But in the end… R&B brings the beat back! I love to dance to a sexy beat.” But she has her limits. “Sometimes I’ll get really quiet and be like, ‘George, you’ve gone a bit too funky’. I’m scared of bad funk jams.” No such problems for ‘You Know You Like It’ – that one’s a sleek, challenging pop tune, and it feels like the summer anthem for 2012…
Need To Know
For fans of: Robyn, The xx
Buy It Now: ‘You Know You Like It’ is out now on Tri Angle
See them live: AlunaGeorge play London’s KOKO on June 3
Believe it or not: The vocal for ‘You Know You Like It’ was recorded on a microphone covered with a pink beach towel in George’s sister’s old bedroom
This article originally appeared in the June 2nd issue of NME