Almost Sex snuck into my inbox a few months ago with their last single, Charmer. I wanted to write slid into my DMs, because it feels kinda sleek and sexy – much like their music – but it’s a little too ‘down with the kids’ for my liking. And I’m writing this from deep within a concrete hellscape on the grey Scottish coast. Nobody slides anywhere here. They hobble, sometimes shuffle. Plus it was an email, not a DM. Writing a good email is much harder, and theirs was intriguing.
Since then I’ve found myself listening to Charmer and (its predecessor) Knockoff a fair few times, so when it came to new material I was expecting some more crisp, laser-guided, precision-engineered modern pop music. It was quite a surprise to find that their forthcoming EP eschews the aesthetic of the first two singles in favour of a more lo-fi, acoustic palette.
It really suits them. Although shorn of the aural bells and whistles that made the previous two singles so intoxicating, Rest Up retains the power and the mystique that makes Almost Sex such an irresistible proposition. It’s a stripped-back affair for sure, but it’s just as potent and – much like the structure of Charmer in particular – just when you think you’ve got it sussed out, there are still surprises in store. These two can do no wrong. I recommend.
A conversation with Almost Sex
• The new track is great. A departure in sound from the first two singles, but I really like the raw sound. I think I saw somewhere that the new EP is one of acoustic demos, but that kinda implies that they’re still works in progress. How come you’re releasing these songs now, as opposed to with the more elaborate approach of Charmer and Knockoff? I should also add that I’m looking forward to hearing the rest of the release too…
We had written around 11 rough demos in the first two months of our remote collaboration, but when we finally came together to record, we ended up writing “Knockoff” and “Charmer” from scratch. We decided to release our third single, “Rest Up,” to kind of commemorate the way we had been writing together before we met in person. Most of our initial demos were just voice memos on our phones, and sometimes there is something so lovely and sweet about these lower quality recordings. We wanted to find a way to clean these up but keep the essence of the tracks, which is why “Rest Up” is recorded so differently.
• One of the things I found really interesting when I first came across you was your bio, which is quite enigmatic. How did Almost Sex come about? Also, it’s an intriguing name..
We met on a dating app in March of 2020 and bonded over the music and poetry we were both working on at the time. Within a week of matching, we had a few rough demos thrown together, and decided we needed a name for the project. Warren had a list of potential band names in her phone, and Almost Sex was the first on the list. The name seemed to fit what we were doing, so many things were almost happening, and we liked the idea that our songs would be so good, that listening to them would be…Almost Sex.
• Your writing intrigues me. I have spoken to a lot of songwriters since starting I Said Yeah, but I don’t think I’ve stumbled across anybody else that works in the way that you do – with one person providing the lyrics and the other the music. I mean, a lot of people do it, but not many people do it well… which you seem to do. I was wondering what you think makes your musical relationship work, but also how one of your tracks comes together?
When we were working remotely, the tasks of writing lyrics and melodies were almost completely separate. I (Warren) would write the lyrics and Nick would write melodies from there. The advantage to working this way is it pushed us both out of our comfort zones, and led to some pretty awesome demos. Since meeting, and being able to work together in the same room, things have become a lot more fluid; we can both give and get immediate feedback, so we each have our hands in more areas of the final product.
• Obviously last year was a bit of a write-off in many respects. In terms of launching your music though; what were your expectations, and has the response so far been what you envisaged?
Finding a partner on a dating app and forming a romantic as well as artistic connection was a huge item on the list of the unexpected events of 2020 for both of us. We believe in the music that we make, and we have incredibly supportive friends and family, so we are really proud of how our music is being received so far. Trying to get our music to new listeners without playing live shows, and in a way, marketing ourselves as a new couple, is something neither of us were really prepared for. As new DIY unsigned artists it hasn’t been easy, but we’ve really enjoyed working with some local folks like Bands do BK, who premiered Rest Up, Trevor Brenden our close friend and photographer/videographer, and our favorite local radio station, Radio Free Brooklyn.
• What kind of stuff do the both of you listen to, and what would you say are the main influences on the music that you’re making?
In the week after we matched, we made each other playlists of our favorite songs of all time, and found that we had a ton of artists in common, artists like Alt-j, Bon Iver, Modest Mouse, Neil Young, M. Ward, Dope Lemon, and Bright Eyes. We actually combined these and posted the playlist on our artist page, here. As for influences, all of the above artists and more. As you mentioned, the songs we have released so far each have a distinct vibe. We try not to limit ourselves with defining a genre or style, and plan to keep experimenting with our sound as we go.
• Finally, what are your plans for the future. Obviously there’s the new EP, but are you planning anything beyond that?
We absolutely cannot wait until it is safe for everyone to get back to live shows. In the meantime, we plan to round out two EPs, with our two different production styles. We will also be performing virtually on February 11th at 7:00 est, to celebrate the launch of Stuck In Notes, Volume II.
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