It never works this quick for most musicians, but somehow brother Ryan and Taylor Lawhon made the record deal thing happen pronto. In March 2012, the Lawhons uploaded three original songs to a Bandcamp page under their initial moniker KO KO, the name of a boat they considered buying in the Newport Harbor. They had tracked the music on a laptop in the bedroom of their home, utilizing everything from guitars and bass to keyboards, synths, and organ. Growing up on their mother’s eclectic taste in new age music, it’s no surprise that the brothers captured their sound as more organic than outrageous.
Within merely 24 hours of uploading the tracks, a Vice blog contacted the musicians and later the following week the duo found themselves in New York for the first time to showcase their tunes for major labels. Their trip culminated with securing a deal with Republic Records and the duo soon became Pacific Air. On their debut four-song EP Long Live Koko for Universal Republic produced by Chris Zane [Passion Pit, Mumford & Sons] Pacific Air has captured a breezy essence that never intimidates, but instead hits comfy in just the right spots with crisp vocals and dead on rhythms. We recently had a chance to talk to the band via email.....
Congratulations on the release of your Long Live Koko debut EP, do these songs serve in any way as a precursor for your forthcoming full length?
All four tracks will actually be on our debut LP, though the rest of the record expands upon the sounds we explored on the EP.
How do you feel your sound has most changed since your earliest recordings and how would you describe your sound now verse when the band was first recording/playing?
Honestly, the only real sonic changes we've made as a band since our first recordings are the increases in fidelity. We've only been making music as a band since March and have been focusing on refining our songs instead of trying to change our sound or find a new direction. While I am sure future versions of ourselves will scoff at the music we are making now, we are both satisfied with where we are and what we're making right now.
How does Pacific Air typically write and construct a song? Is there a pattern now at this stage in the game?
Not necessarily, it depends on who starts each song and who is feeling more inspired that day. Typically my brother Taylor writes the rhythms and I write melodies, then I add lyrics after the fact depending on the direction and mood the song is taking.
What was the experience like touring with Passion Pit – any particular highlights?
Every night of Passion Pit was fantastic, those guys are really chill and made us feel really great on our first tour. The Austin show in particular was a great experience for us.
Your opening for Walk the Moon in January and many of the shows are already sold out – what can fans expect at these shows? Are there any particular shows on the radar that you are looking forward to?
We will be playing our entire new LP at all these shows, which we started doing last week and the response has been incredible. I'm really looking forward to our three NYC shows in January, the middle of which is on my birthday.
What song of yours feels best represents Pacific Air and why and do you feel your band name best represents you or categorizes you as a California band?
I was originally very hesitant to name the band Pacific Air as I thought the name was too indicative of our locale, until our producer brought to our attention that the Pacific is much larger than California and that my train of thought was a tad narrow minded.
Pacific Air is from Southern California how does your hometown fit into the overall sound of your music? Do you get tired of California or Pacific nods?
I am getting tired of it, but we brought it on ourselves. We are pretty transparent as people and songwriters, and I feel Pacific Air further displays not just where we are, but who are right now, as obvious as it may seem.
What type of local and national following do you have?
We haven't had any residencies yet, we've been recording our album since June and immediately hit the road touring. Being such a new band our following is still growing every night. Most of the crowds have heard 'Float' but are usually more familiar with the headliners catalog, which has been a huge opportunity for us to play to so many people who are unfamiliar with the rest of our music.
What artists do you currently most admire and are most influenced by and what type of albums do you hope to put out going down the road?
I am really excited about what HAIM is doing right now, they are so in charge of what their identity is and are killing it on the singles front. I'm also really excited about Kate Boy, who seem to refine the vibe that The Knife was going for on their early records.
We take influence mostly from 90's electronic and New Age that we listened to as children, and we try to create that type of space and ambiance in a more traditional pop song structure. As we continue to write music and make records, my goal is to continually push myself, whether it be in experimentation, or restraint, to make pop music that I can connect with first and foremost.