Jimmy and Hugo of Flight Facilities are a patient pair of producers. Emerging in the midst of the explosive Australian dance music scene in the mid-late 2000s, the two pals cut their teeth with a string of Indie Dance remixes for the likes of Sneaky Sound System, Holy Ghost!, and Cut Copy before diving into their first original production, “Crave You,” in 2010. Slowly but surely, the Flight Facilities sound developed over the past four years with major hits like “Clair De Lune” and “Stand Still” and has culminated in Down To Earth — the debut full length released this week on Future Classic / Glassnote / WIN Music.
Strategically, Jimmy and Hugo have waited for the perfect time to strike with their debut record, and the wholly cohesive vibe in Down To Earth has been completely worth the wait. Fortunately, the guys came through Los Angeles this past month for a video shoot (which just came out today) and some meetings, and they were kind enough to stop by Nest for an hour+ long chat that spanned a myriad of exciting subjects including Pop music’s influence on them over the years, the Australian dance scene in the 2000s and the Blog House era, how EDM in America is helping them, and, of course, their record.
Pick up Down To Earth on iTunes and read on for the in-depth interview below
We were listening to the new album a few times this morning, and it’s really cool how there’s a full, continuous feel to it – like it was made to be listened to as an album. Was that something you guys had in mind going into it?
Hugo: Ya big time. So many people have done it. I think we would’ve liked to have done it even more, we were strapped a bit for time, and accentuated how joined together it was, but we’re still really happy with that. We want people to have that effect of listening to one song, and as with albums you discover different songs at different times (Cut Copy do it), and one of my favorite things is I can listen to one of their songs and then maybe six months later down the track I’ll get into another song and I’ll hear that bit where it joins, or how that’s going to go into something else. It creates that small association and it just ticks in the brain when you hear it as well, and you’re like, “Ah I get it that’s where that’s meant to sit.”
Jimmy: It’s just another level for people to hold onto and be a part of.
And you guys have “Crave You” in there and “Clair De Lune” and “Stand Still” – tracks from years ago. Is it nice to feel like those tracks are still fully relevant now and that you can put them in this album?
Hugo: We hope they are! (laughs)
Jimmy: Ya we hope they’re relevant, I mean “Stand Still” and “Clair De Lune” still definitely, for us, have legs and it’ll be nice to give them another shove. “Crave You” kinda always went under the radar and we still feel like that has a little bit of give.
Hugo: That was the beginning of the journey and these other things are points along the way that show a slightly more diverse side of what we do. So we have something that’s more classically driven like “Clair De Lune” and then “Stand Still” that’s more electronically driven so they have their own place in the album for where they sit as well. And they’re perfect joiners for stuff we’re venturing into now.
Jimmy: We wanted a body of work as well and for this to be our mark – to look back in 10 years or show our kids and have everything on there. And from that point of view it was definite having “Crave You” on there.
Did you guys get to a point when you were like, “Alright these feel like album tracks, let’s just make an album?”
Jimmy: That’s exactly what happened. We were collating stuff and along with the continuous mixtape-type feel we were gonna do a mixtape cause we were really surprised by what happened when we made those decade mixtapes – people still tell us about them today – so we were like, “OK let’s incorporate things that are our strengths.” We were actually going to do like a rap mixtape sort of thing and then we kind of realized, exactly how you said, we had enough songs for the album.
Hugo: We put forward singles because it’s going to be the strongest point to move forward and if you’re going to try and access radio and have people hear it then you need something that’s going to be slightly more of an earworm than a five or six-minute instrumental or quite deep/serious type of song. That’s what we wanted to have as well to balance that other side. Cause we have such an appreciation for that side of music as well and we want to be able to put those things out there without having to rely on it being a 4 minute vocal track.
So now that the album’s done, are you guys thinking about getting back into remixes?
Jimmy: Ya for sure! We’re trying to let the album and those tracks do their work for a little while but we’d love to do some remixes.
Hugo: It’s just getting the right people. We’re gonna do one for Client Liason I think. They’re these Australian guys, they’re awesome.
Jimmy: Ya in the coming months they’ll get bigger and bigger here.
They’re touring with you guys in Australia right?
Hugo: Exactly. They are so fun to watch.
Jimmy: They live their characters as well. They’ve got these characters – one’s got a full mullet, 80s…
So what’s the plan for the show?
Jimmy: We’ve been trying to figure it out. We just want the best thing possible for the people buying tickets. As soon as we finished the record our minds kind of switched to how we’re going to play it. So we got a lighting rig and obviously the vocalists and a bunch of other stuff but we’re just trying to see if we can do a few little special things for some parts and make it a real journey.
Hugo: And keep that continuity in there like with our mixes. That’s what we find watching DJs or other live acts – I’ve always loved the spectacle of people going from one song into the other. Maybe covering one song on top of the other, doing things like that. We want to experiment now that we’ve got the content to do it.
Jimmy: Ya and I think that is going to be our job for the next couple of years or so, just making that show be the best it can be. And I’m so excited to be able to do it and build the concept for the show. We’ve got a lot of ideas I guess this is just the beginning.
Ya I feel like since Flight Facilities started you guys have done really well at building anticipation with both your music and your touring.
Both: It’s hard!
Jimmy: Ya it’s hard to do. You see other guys start off and skyrocket and we’re still like, “No, no hold back,” cause it was part of our plan all along and we’re sticking to it. But it is hard sometimes some of those days when we think, “Why can’t we just do that!”
Hugo: Ya you want to be chugging at a good speed. It’s almost like you want to be sitting somewhere in second place so there’s somewhere to go but you don’t want to fall out of people’s consciousness.
So I wanted to ask you guys about the intro to “Two Bodies” and what the significance was of having that vocal sample from Rod Serling in there.
Hugo: Jimmy and I both love Pop music at the heart of it. We like some super cheesy, super mainstream music…
Jimmy: A good song is a good song…
Hugo: Exactly, and if you can recognize that something is just great regardless of how it’s perceived to the public and whatever the PR behind it is, if you can break it down to just the music which is how we started our craft and what it’s about. It was never our faces, it was never about the brand. It was just have a good song and have it be judged for what it is. It’s just trying to remind people of that. You don’t have to be afraid to like something because someone says it’s a bit lame or maybe it’s in a genre that’s not perceived to be cool at the time. Just take it back to what it is.
Jimmy: Ya just pulling out the stigma that if something’s commercial then it’s terrible. It can still be really great.
Hugo: Everyone’s got a guilty pleasure.
So it’s not so much of a disclaimer for the album then, cause your album doesn’t sound commercial at all…
Hugo: No…I think we have one or two moments of that, but it’s stuff that we’re interested in.
Jimmy: We’re putting ourselves out there in that world, so we think, but still keeping our integrity, so we feel. And we really want to incorporate that feeling into the live show as well. Having our vocalists go out in front with a big lighting show and all that kind of stuff, it can be perceived as quite commercial which is great, but we really want to keep our core audience that was there from the start…
Hugo: And we want to make pop records that we’d be proud of. That’s how it was once upon a time, like stuff we were listening to in our early teens. Pop music then was around the Jamiroquai time and it worked and it was good. You didn’t have to listen to it and be like “Ugh not this guy again.”
You mentioned Jamiroquai, who else were you into?
Hugo: Moloko is a really good example. We’ve referenced that a lot of times.
Jimmy: Moloko we referenced for “Crave You” – our first song.
Hugo: And even “Foreign Language” again!
Jimmy: And on this record it was “Heart Attack.” There was a remix that someone did, some obscure remix, and we totally referenced it.
Hugo: It was cool music. There was a lot of stuff that was chart-topping that wasn’t aggressive or invasive. It was just a nice sounding reference to the past and keeping it contemporary as well. It’s kind of what Daft Punk did for that last album as well. They were just like, “Well, that stuff in the past worked, so here’s a contemporary take on it.” 5 Grammys kind of sums that up.
Can you tell us a little about “Clair De Lune” specifically? Were you guys thinking of making something with a timeless, classic sound?
Hugo: It was not ever for radio or anything! That was a track for us to be self-indulgent. It was just a song that we’ll listen to and one that fans could go, “Ah I know that song.” Like it wouldn’t cross those other boundaries (radio) they’d just know the song and say “Oh that’s special to me.” And ya it was called “Clair De Lune” cause the chord progression and the bells is the same from the Debussy track.
Did you feel like when you released “Crave You” you had to conquer it with something else?
Jimmy: Ya there was huge pressure after that. That’s why it took a year and a half to release another track. We tried maybe 2 or 3 other things that just didn’t make it, and then “Foreign Language” came out and we were like, “Perfect, let’s put it out and then keep going,” you know? Because we were so unprepared for what “Crave You” did. We were literally sitting in my bedroom – we had only made remixes – and we were like “We should probably make our own song.” And we got together with Giselle and wrote this thing and I remember thinking before it came out, “Do you really want to put this out?” And we were like, “Eh whatever maybe no one’s gonna hear it.” And then bang, all that shit happened. Sam (manager) came on board and said, “OK you need to be doing something now.” And that actual pressure starts. I think “Clair De Lune” was like us learning how to write songs I guess. Super self-indulgent. I wanted to make it, and we both agreed, that if it was something in a car that you were listening to and you had it on repeat, you wouldn’t know where it started and ended. So it’s got the two bits of vinyl distortion and it ends and starts the same way so you can go in on a loop and it’s just a bit of a journey, or a lot of a journey I guess. And in the true essence of music and how you can’t predict anything, the song we thought was the least poppy was our biggest pop song in Australia.
Catch Flight Facilities this Friday at Sunny Side Up Festival.
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