The last time we spoke to DELUNE, they had just released their single “Those Days,” and identified themselves as an “Adventure Pop” duo.
That, however, was back in May.
In 2020, things are different. Now a classifying themselves as “baroque-pop” and telling the classic story of the Pierrot and the Commedia Dell’arte, DELUNE have set their sights high. They’re still as etherial than ever, but now, the trance-like synths have been replaced with swelling orchestral sounds and grand cinematic stories. Planning to release a single every month in 2020, DELUNE has a lot going on and a big story to tell. But they won’t let anyone tell them that they can’t do it.
First of all, welcome back to Soundigest! We’re excited you’re chatting with us again. This time, we’re talking about the first single off of your debut full-length album, Pierrot. Why did you decide that “Lavender Too” should be the lead single?
Izzi: Thanks so much for having us! We call “Lavender Too” the Cheshire Cat of the album, inviting us to go further into wonderland, or in this case, the world of Pierrot.
Kate: “Lavender Too” is the shortest song on the album, a strange dream — the start of a journey.
While I have heard of Pierrot, I had to do my research on what Commedia Dell’arte was. There’s a lot of stories about love — and forlorn love at that. Why did you choose to pull inspiration from something that is, admittedly, probably out of the frame of reference of most listeners?
Kate: We were both going through heartbreak — it works like that with us sometimes; our relationship cycles tend to be very in sync. At the time, we were writing melodramatic love songs and wondering what theme could tie this album together.
Izzi suggested Pierrot. After that, everything fell into place with the music we had written: the comedy and drama of unrequited love and the cyclical nature of heartbreak.
Izzi: The character Pierrot also breaks the fourth wall in theater — he is simultaneously a part of the story and able to comment on it, speaking directly with the audience. We’re pretty deep in our feels for much of this album, but there are times when we step out, look at ourselves, and can’t help but recognize the theatricality of it all.
When you look at the kinds of artists who have tackled telling the story of Pierrot, you see the likes of Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, and even Lady Gaga. Do you feel any hesitation towards attempting this considering the magnitude of artists that have done it before you? Or does that really matter to you?
Kate: An acting teacher told me that no matter how many times he’s seen actors perform Romeo’s famous monologue — “what light through yonder window breaks —” he’s never become bored of it. Romeo is a young person falling in love, someone to whom we can all relate. There is always the possibility that each new actor can bring their own special magic to the role. I have no reservations tackling the same story as other artists.
The defining feature of the Pierrot is that he’s a naive fool — that regardless of whatever bad happens to him, he remains trusting, but you mention that the arc of your album will end with “self-realization.” It’s interesting that you’re deviating from the story a bit. Why did you decide to do that?
Izzi: Pierrot’s cyclical pattern is something to which we both relate. While the last song on our album triumphantly finishes with the lyrics, “I’m so sick from your love —” a conscious realization — the bonus track reveals a twist.
Kate: The album is like one giant loop. We end at the beginning of the next cycle of falling in love. How many times do we come to “eureka” realizations, only to lose sight of them? We don’t learn lessons once — we learn them, and forget them, and re-learn them, over and over again.
I totally understand the symbolism of “lavender” and that it represents love and sensuality to you, but what’s up with the “too” in “Lavender Too?”
Izzi: Almost everyone who listens to this track asks that same question. When Kate started “Lavender Too,” she was falling in love. She came to me with the intro piano melody and opening lyrics asking, “What color is this song?”
Lavender is both powerful and delicate — enveloping. It is the color of the in-between; just after the sun sets, right before the sun rises. So, in addition to this heart-fluttering, butterfly-filled moment captured in the song, the intense emotions and scariness that come with opening oneself up to someone new — I saw this experience as the color lavender, as well.
Kate: We’ll leave it up to interpretation. Fun fact, there used to be a comma in there – “Lavender, Too.”
You’ll be releasing one song a month for the next 12 months. What inspired you to pursue that release schedule? Art? A challenge? Whimsy?
Kate: We wrote most of this album in 2017. We had listening sessions that fall with encouraging feedback. And then we became perfectionists. As we started to release singles — “Wild West Side Highway” and “Those Days” — we clung closer to our album. I would listen to Pierrot constantly as I rode the NYC subway on a private Soundcloud link. It became our own private world.
Izzi is really the reason we chose to release Pierrot at all. Two months ago, she called me and said, “We have to release it. I don’t care if no one listens to it. It’s time.” I have a harder time letting go of things.
Izzi: So we pledged to release one song a month this year, and get used to letting things go. We’ll be releasing this album, an EP, and several singles by the end of 2020.
For the music video of this song, you’re working with hand-drawn animator Alexandra Hohner. Will you be working with them for all the songs, or just this one?
Izzi: Alex is creating an entirely hand-drawn animated world for Pierrot. Her style is quirky, raw and eccentric.
Kate: We’re big fans of her out-of-the-box ideas. She’s making animated loops for each song, following Pierrot’s journey in love.
You’re describing this new wave of your work as “baroque-pop,” and the evolution from even something as recent “Those Days” is clear. Can we expect more of that sort of cinematic, “traditional” sound from this new album? (Personally, I’d be stoked to see you explore something more dark cabaret-like — for some reason, you throw Amanda Palmer vibes but I don’t know why.)
Izzi: Our album has a wide range of sounds — cinematic moments, full orchestral arrangements, plucked strings, beats inspired by a club we went to in Antwerp, full-blown Les Mis-esque musical theater medleys, ice palace frosty synths, acoustic live piano — baroque-pop seems closest.
Kate: There’s a lot of electro-pop in Pierrot, too. This album is like a beat-driven musical theater show. Makes sense, because we wrote most of it as an escape. It can kind of suck having your heart smashed while living under your parents’ basement as a 25-year-old. We wrote a totally ornate alternate universe to play in through Pierrot.
I just had to Google dark cabaret, but all of the words coming up resonate. Next album?
The last band to really popularize the term baroque-pop was Panic! at the Disco, and much like Brendon Urie, you two have a classical background. Do you feel a real need to intertwine your classical background into your music, or does it just happen?
Izzi: Wow, I just had a pretty strong flashback of listening to “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” on a hand-me-down iPod.
Kate: We used to sing that song in harmony all the time.
Kate & Izzi: “WHAT A BEAUTIFUL WEDDING!”
Izzi: For this story, the baroque-pop soundscape just happened naturally along the way. Pierrot is theatrical and draws more inspiration from musical theater than strictly classical music.
Kate: Pierrot equals an epic female electro-pop and orchestral musical theater. Maybe Pierrot is like Sia meets Phantom of the Opera.
If someone takes one thing away from this new single, what would you want it to be, and why?
Kate: I want people to ask, “What is this?”
Izzi: After that, I want them to ask, “What’s next?”
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