When FEMMUSIC first met Tangerine, they were a 3 piece band from Seattle touring on their EP Sugar Teeth. They are still a 3 piece of sisters Mariko & Miro Justad and Toby Kuhn. On October 19 they released their new EP White Dove which brings Tangerine into a whole new world of big producers in their new LA home. The latest single is “Cherry Red”
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making White Dove?
MJ: The biggest challenge in making White Dove was learning how to release it totally independently in a new city. In the past we have released music independently but with either more structure provided by someone or with the help of our home town.
FEMMUSIC: You worked with Sanj & Luca Buccellati as producers on the album. How were they to work with? What did they bring to the project?
MJ: Both brothers have a very fluid and easygoing way of working in the studio- ideas that we would bounce off each other seemed to come together very quickly. We worked with Sanj on three out of the four tracks. He’s good at creating an atmosphere where you feel comfortable being vulnerable creatively and trying out new ideas which is really important to us.
FEMMUSIC: What was your vision for the White Dove EP? How was that different from Sugar Teeth?
MJ: For White Dove, we wanted to take our favorite elements about our old music – some of the 60s doo wop, some of the surfy twang, and mix that with some of the vintage 80s and 90s music we’ve been listening to lately like Kate Bush or early Ray of Light era Madonna. I don’t know if it’s the kind of thing that fits perfectly into a playlist algorithm but it feels right to us (:
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about the move to LA. How did that change your music & the band? What has been the good and bad?
MJ: Some people say it’s good to leave home and we think that’s true. We’ll always love Seattle and who knows maybe we’ll live there again someday but right now it feels like the right decision to try something new. The water tastes bad here and it never rains but there’s a certain energy in the air.
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
MJ: Most of the time, I’ll think of a melody and play it for Toby and Miro and we’ll figure out the composition from there. That’s how most of White Dove was written, although in the case of “Local Mall,” Toby created the chord progressions and bass line first. It was actually kind of spooky because he showed me the chords and I had just written a melody that fit perfectly over it while driving home late the night before. That’s how I write a lot of my melodies lately actually- during long drives between West Hollywood and our home on the east side of Los Angeles.
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
MJ: Probably “Hounds of Love” by Kate Bush. Her drums, the treatment of her vocals, the weird and wacky way that she approaches pop music all had a huge influence on us while making this album.
FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as women in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?
MJ: As women in music we face all the usual challenges- sound engineers who assume we’re not even in the band let alone know what we’re doing, feeling unsafe on tour, people talking over us or not respecting our authority over our career, people pigeon-holing our music as though “female” was a genre. Being mixed-race, we also often feel unsure of how safe or welcome we will feel in different spaces on tour. I don’t think it’s possible for individual women to overcome the obstacles that we face- for things to be different, it really requires more of a sea change and it requires that men change more than women. We’re seeing some of that in the world right now but we obviously have a long way to go.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
MJ: Oh man so many artists inspire us. It would be a dream to go on tour with Lykke Li, Japanese Breakfast, St. Vincent, and so many others.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
MJ: Festivals should book more female-fronted bands.