Two months ago we wrote about "Focus," the second release off of Fortunes.' upcoming EP titled Undress. The New Zealand born yet Aussie living artists have released two EPs prior to this; one titled Hoodie and the other titled Jacket. For this EP, they peeled back the layers and I was lucky enough to get under the skin of the Melbourne duo. I learned a little bit about how they linked up and the secrets behind the songs off their latest project, Undress.
The two men went to high school together in New Zealand but it wasn't until they were both at a party ten years later that they reconnected to form this alternative R&B groovy gruesome twosome. Barnaby- the man behind the beats – gave us a little insight on what exactly went down.
"Conor recognized me at a house party in Melbourne and was like “Oi I know you!”. Took me ages to recognize Con because he was like the smallest kid in school and had an emo fringe, and now he’s all grown up and has a shaved head. Anyway, it finally clicked and I told everyone he was an amazing singer and used to sound exactly like Alicia Keys before his voice dropped. Then he started singing at the party and everyone gathered round in awe… A rendition of D’Angelo’s Devils Pie, and also some Beyonce I think. I was making beats at the time, so after that I asked if he wanted to try lay some vocals over the top of some shit – And we haven’t stopped since."
Luckily for listeners, the duo has been relatively inseparable with making music. Today, they deliver an EP that is eclectic enough to entice your ear while still maintaining roots in the R&B sound. The EP begins with a gritty groovy track that had already been released and remixed but is an instant classic. As a listener, I spend time listening to the production, lyrics and analyzing my overall feels from the track. With 501's, I assumed it was a flattering ode to a crush; perhaps someone he saw walking by and wrote a song on love at first site – but Conor filled me in on the real silly meaning behind the tune.
"One day I left work and was walking across the road and I was real paranoid that my fly was down but was like omg, shame checking! My original idea for this song was, sometimes guys forget they fly, it don’t mean they down for you."
The Anderson Paak. sounding tune transitions into the second cut off the EP titled "Hero Man". Barnaby lays down a funky snare and synth combination that allows Conor to ride the riffs flawlessly. The synths pulse almost giving the track a very alternative reggae R&B sound. The unique sound is an ode to a man that would do anything for his lover. And evidently, has done anything for his lover as the main riff goes "If anyone fucks with him, I'll fuck them up."
"Yeah he fully said that to me and then one time actually protected me from some late night psycho at welcome takeaways in Wellington, NZ. I was just like, you’re my fkn hero, man."
"Linen" follows after "Hero Man" giving us a darker vibe than we've heard on the EP thus far. The production rings in as an eerie backdrop as Conor sings about his pillows actually being in an upside down L on his sheets one night. The song itself sounds like a painstaking lonely night where you're longing for sex and spooning. Although "Linen" plays as the darkest cut off of Undress, it is closely followed by the most emotive of tracks, titled "Focus". When I originally dissected this song, I thought it was a heartbreak anthem. After talking to the boys, I was told that it in fact a ballad dedicated to music.
"Focus is a very hopeful fairytale daydream that ended up coming true for a bit after I’d written it. I was just being real shit at work coz I knew what I was being distracted by was possible."
Looks like the fairytale isn't too far out of reach as the duo has been making waves for some time now and the current only seems to be getting stronger. The compatibility between these two is unmatched in the realm of alternative R&B soul. Stay tuned for another EP that likely has to do with clothing or the lack their of. Perhaps their next EP will be titled 'Naked'.