Los Angeles based duo ROOM8 sounds like something straight out of a classic film from the 70s or 80s. Born from the minds of Ezra Reich and Nic Johns, ROOM8 could have fit right along legends like Giorgio Moroder and Kraftwerk. Their forthcoming single “Visions of You” is a groovy synth-driven track featuring the 80s inspired boy/girl duo Electric Youth. Friends of ROOM8, Electric Youth appeared on the Drive soundtrack in collaboration with another retro synth master, French producer College.
Ahead of the new single and remix EP, ROOM8 took the time to answer a few questions and put together a little mix for us called Day Cruise Mix. The Visions of You EP will be available soon with a remixes from Plastic Plates and Miami Nights 1984 and a synthy B-side titled “Geo.” Until we get our hands on the new single, whip out the shades and cruise until the sun sets.
"In the late 70s through the 80s we noticed there was a harmonic progression that was used by many artists through many genres. Some people might associate it with "yacht rock" but it showed up everywhere from Roger Troutman to Fortune and still appears in modern tracks from time to time. In music theory it involves alternating playing the four chord over the one chord. We call it the "day cruise" progression. Here is a 30-minute summer "day cruise" mix." -ROOM8
"It's Alright" - Christopher Cross
"Spanish Eddie" - Laura Branigan
"Secret Lives" - ELO
"Reflecting Light" - Stephen Falken
"Somebody's Baby" - Jackson Browne
"Love's In You, Love's In Me" - Giorgio and Chris
"Skyline" - Ben Orr
"Memories of a Scientist" - Chrome Canyon
"Special Girl" - America
"No Lookin' Back" - Michael McDonald
EARMILK: Tell us a little bit about ROOM8. How did you guys meet and did you know this was the direction you wanted to take right from the start?
ROOM8: We met through mutual musician friends around 2008 and realized very quickly that we shared the same musical passions. We had another band prior to ROOM8 and our first show was for an early David Lynch Foundation concert in Hollywood. We decided to start making fully electronic music soon after due to the need for big room studios and the associated expenses to get the right sound.
EM: You obviously have an appreciation for that retro analog sound, who are some of your influences? What inspired your sound?
R8: Mostly electronic instruments that were built in the late seventies through mid-eighties. They have incredible power and magic in them and unique personalities. The sound of these incredible instruments influences us and we collect as many of them as we can to make our music with. Other than that, great songs inspire us. Songs from every genre that get inside your heart and head in a real way and open your imagination. Music should free us from the mundane or elevate it. Lastly, film is a huge influence. When a story marries to a piece of music or a song it's just an incredible feeling. We love soundtracks that are used in that way.
EM: If you could collaborate with anyone dead or alive, past or present, who would it be and why?
R8: Phil Collins. Phil is an incredible musician and songwriter, and we think he's fantastic. We'd love to work with the original animators from Nelvana, the Canadian company behind one of our favorite animated films, Rock and Rule. Of course there are also so many amazing vocalists we would love to collaborate with--Kate Bush would be cool.
EM: On Transduction you worked with duo Electric Youth, who were featured on the Drive soundtrack. Did that movie or that sort of 80s Italo disco revival influence ROOM8 at all?
R8: Electric Youth are dear friends of ours and great human beings. We loved Drive. Nicholas Winding Refn did a fantastic job, took chances and made a cult classic. We were already very passionate about the styles of music that he used in Drive prior to the film, so it was more us being psyched that other people liked the things we did and showed that their was a big audience out there for that sort of thing.
EM: You said that film and cinema are a key influence in your sound. Has there been any interest in doing more with video?
R8: Yes and Yes. Film has a big influence on us and we like to approach making albums as making “soundtracks.” We have worked on a few film projects recently and have more on the horizon. We were happy with a short that we worked on called "Sleepover LA" that was at SXSW this year and also a sci-fi short called "Polis" that Electric Youth also worked on, coming out in the near future--but there will be a lot more coming as well.
EM: Tell us a bit about the new single, “Visions Of You.” Was there any inspiration behind it?
R8: We write records as if they are soundtracks. Many of the songs that "Visions of You" came out of dealt with the concept of transduction, the process of deriving meaning from all the stimuli around us. "Visions" has to do with the power of our minds to create the reality we live in.
EM: Your new single comes out soon, what else does the future hold for ROOM8?
R8: Well, making lots of new music. We are always in the studio. The rest will reveal itself.
Visions of You EP