"We like to say that Jesse [Cohen] brings the light and I bring the dark," Eric Emm of Tanlines told me, referring to the yin and yang of their creative output. What he means is that while the music sounds upbeat, the lyrics are dark. That's because in their songwriting process, Cohen writes the music and Emm the lyrics. The dark sensibility of Emm's words are ironic given that, while by his own admission he can be a moody person, he gets his best writing done when he's in a good mood.
This creative disparity is about the only difference between them, though, because the irresistible melodies in their music are the product of a strong spirit of collaboration and an envious working relationship. What impressed me most in our conversation was not just how much both Cohen and Emm could reflect on their own creative process, but how much each knows about the other's as well.
I spoke to Cohen and Emm in a brew pub in Calgary. I live in Washington, DC and they live in Brooklyn, but I happened to be in Calgary on business the same day they were there to play a show. So over beer and pretzels, we discussed songwriting. Tanlines' debut album Mixed Emotions ended up on many critics' year-end "best of" lists, and for good reason. Read my interview with Jesse Cohen and Eric Emm of Tanlines after the video for "All of Me."