In just over a year, Rebecca and Fiona have made a name for themselves through their mutual love affair with dance music. I mean, DJ Tiesto and Kaskade have both saluted and incorporated the duo into their work. While speaking with the foxy duo at the Park Hyatt in downtown Toronto, we got a sense for who Rebecca and Fiona really are as not only artists, producers, and DJs; but as human beings and best friends - amazingly down-to-earth girls who hail from Sweden and love electronic dance music just as much as their fans.
Rebecca and Fiona just got off the plane from Stockholm, yet were ecstatic to meet us and talk shop. It’s a refreshing reminder to see a duo of their calibre take the time to give back to the community that has supported them during their journey to success. Some artists seem to lose sight of where they’ve come from the second they reach stardom, but for Rebecca and Fiona, they are just two great spirited girls making music and having fun.
So tell us the story of Rebecca and Fiona. How did you two meet?
We met at a friend’s birthday party in 2008 and became best friends immediately. It was pretty much love at first sight. If it wasn’t for our mutual friends, we may have never met. We hit it off and ended up hanging out for most of the night. After the party, we got together more and more since we found out we were both very close and from there started to make music.
How did the two of you start your career in music? Were you singers from a young age?
Rebecca: I went to music school and singing school, but I never did my own music or joined a band. I was a solo artist that just practiced on a variety of instruments. I was classically trained, and in class, we always had to write different types of music and even come up with our own compositions. But after school, I never knew my path. I didn’t really know what style of music I wanted to get into, and that’s when I met Fiona. When we met, neither of us were doing anything in music. We weren’t actively producing or singing either. We were just really into the scene and into the same style of music.
When we started to promote our own parties in Stockholm, that’s when we started to DJ. After a year of DJing, we started to produce, and that’s how it sort of all fell into place. We never thought or planned to become DJs or producers, it just sort of happened on its own. I guess you can say that our involvement in the party scene made the idea of becoming DJs inevitable.
And Fiona, how did you start out singing and producing?
Fiona: Well my path was quite different from Rebecca’s because I wasn’t classically trained. I guess in a way, I was trained because I grew up in my father’s studio - he is a musician – and he gave me a computer when I was 12 with Cubase on it. He wanted me to learn how to produce but I never really got into it. When I turned 15, I tried to get into Reason but I still didn’t have the drive to produce like my father wanted me to - not until I met Rebecca. When I met Rebecca, it helped me realize that this was fun and that I did enjoy it. Having someone to work with for me is a much more enjoyable experience then trying to learn how to produce on your own. I was into electronic dance music for a very long time though.
Tell us what it’s like to be a multilingual (lyricists, DJs, producers) artist?
Fiona: We would say that we are probably producers first. Rebecca did study vocals and train in classical music, but as of right now, we really do consider ourselves producers. Most of the time our vocals get placed on top afterwards, or we may decide that the vocals are going to be limited for a certain track because that’s the way the groove is going, but I don’t think we really consider ourselves as lyricists.
Rebecca: I think it’s more of a combination of the three. Sometimes we start off with just making beats and focusing only on those beats. We are not exactly singers who play guitar and perform solo acts or anything. A lot of what we do is done in the studio; our ideas are sort of generated by producing. Many of our tracks wouldn’t have had vocals if we didn’t start on the musical portion first because that’s really where the lyrics come from. By producing, we sort of get a feel of where the track is going and write according to that.
From the time that the two of you met and started DJing, how have you transitioned into your current state?
Rebecca: We watched and learned a lot. We didn’t go to production school, and we are still learning because there are so many different ways to produce. We use Logic now and are currently working on our second album.
Tell us about your second album. Is it top secret?
Rebecca: We are SOOO excited! And no it is not Top Secret!! (laughs) We aren’t finished so I guess it’s just very exciting because we don’t really know what the album is going to become. A lot of the tracks are finished … well in our heads at least (laughs), but we are getting there.
Fiona: It is a very long process and some tracks are starting to take more shape than others, but I think it is a little darker than our first album. It has much more of an 80s feel and we tried to incorporate a lot of 80s-style synthesizer sounds as well as some elements from the 90s because that’s our style. It is very exciting.
Are you collaborating with any artists on this album?
Rebecca: We are working with Fiona’s boyfriend Carly. We work with him a lot and play his tracks when we are DJing because he is a really great producer. He helps us out and knows how to work a studio much better than us, so it’s great to have him around.
We are also working with my little brother and his DJ group. They help us a lot with productions and we try to help them. Basically when we work with other artists, we try to keep it in the family. Whether it’s close friends or actual family members, it feels pretty real.
Fiona: And the rest is secret!!!
How is the tour going so far?
Fiona: He knows this better than we do (points to her manager) but we are always “on tour.” After tonight’s show in Toronto we are headed to Chicago, New York City, and then head back to Sweden for a little while before we come back. We are looking forward to heading home to not only work on our second album, but also just to see friends and family and have some relaxation time.
Rebecca: It will be nice to see everyone again, but we are more so excited to rest up before we have to come back! We are always trying to squeeze in studio days between tours, shows, and being tired.
How does the constant movement affect your energy levels?
Fiona: Regardless of how we feel, we always seem to find energy before shows. Even if we have been food poisoned, we recharge from those moments before going on stage. We have the best job in the world so there isn’t really anything to complain about. The hardest time to find motivation when we are tired or sick, is when we are off stage; whether catching a flight or trying to rest up in our hotel rooms.
Rebecca: We don’t have time to feel pain on stage because it’s such a rush playing to all our fans. It wouldn’t be fair to them if we cancelled a show because we felt sick, or if we didn’t have our energy levels up. It’s our job to entertain, so no matter how terrible we feel, we work to make sure that our shows are memorable.
What do the two of you do differently when performing as a duo?
Rebecca: We see a lot of people take on laptop DJing instead of DJing traditionally, and that’s cool and all, but for us, it’s all about mixing by ear and not the sync button. Each outlet has its own creative advantages and disadvantages, but we prefer to mix tracks on our own. It’s such a great feeling to hear yourself doing the work rather than letting a computer do it for you. It’s more fun to actually perform the physical act of DJing rather than wondering if a DJ is checking Facebook. For us, it is very important.
Soon after our chat with Rebecca and Fiona, we were hopping into a cab and headed to their performance in Downtown Toronto. Even though the girls were running on absolutely no sleep, they managed to find a way to energize themselves by pumping out tune after tune of heavy electro and progressive house.
Not only did the club roar with excitement, but the girls seemed as if they had been given a shot of adrenaline. Performing the music they love and the music they make is truly is a passion for Rebecca & Fiona. They showed just how dedicated they are to their fans and the music that night, and we definitely look forward to seeing them again soon.
This article originally appeared in DJ Mag USA. Read it free HERE.
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