Oh Boy Les Mecs formed in 2012 when Tracy Marcellino and Hanford Pittman set out to create electronic music. The duo’s mixture of heavy synths and evoking vocals create a distinct electronic pop sound. They recently played alongside Hercules and Love Affair and Rare Times as part of a Red Bull Sound Select event at The Troubadour.
mxdwn had the chance to sit down with Marcellino and Pittman before their show at The Troubadour. We discussed their involvement with Red Bull Sound Select, James Murphy and their EP Nurture Nature.
How did this night come together with Red Bull Sound Select?
Hanford Pittman: We’ve been attending the Red Bull events for some time and we knew a lot of other artists like Tapioca and the Flea. Just hanging out, we got to know Josh and Justin who basically helped us get where we needed to be. After a long time begging and paying them off, we finally got to play this show.
How did this duo form? Where did you meet?
Tracey Marcellino: We formed as a duo in March of last year.
HP: At the tail end of SXSW.
Did you guys meet at SXSW?
TM: We met through bands we were playing in at the time.
HP: I eventually joined the band that Tracy was in, but that band dissolved. Tracy and I decided to still play together.
Oh Boy Les Mecs-– Where did this name originate?
TM: It came from an artist friend of ours, Joya Martuscello, who did the artwork for our EP, Nurture Nature. Oh Boy Les Mecs just means, “Oh Boy You Guys.” It’s a French-English play on words. We love her. She is a really great friend of ours.
So she also created the artwork for your EP Nurture Nature?
HP: Yes, she also created the artwork for our EP.
TM: We used one of her collages for our cover art.
You guys have been playing multiple festivals and shows throughout Los Angeles like Jubilee and Echo Rising. What has been the most memorable show experience thus far?
TM: I would say our show with Silversun Pickups, which were our first show. We played with Silversun Pickups for a few shows, one being at The Observatory. We kind of got our asses kicked. That’s when we decided that we were going to perform just as a duo and do it all on our own. We had to get our shit together and decided on a name. We had been recording a few songs at that time, but we only had a few songs. We kind of just did it without thinking about it too much.
Speaking of Silversun Pickups, how have they influenced your music production?
TM: Full disclosure, I am married to one of them.
HP: She is married to Nikki (Monninger)
TM: We just had twins [laughter]
The band is based in Los Angeles. Do you think the city has influenced your sound?
TM: It’s really hard to see if something has influenced you. Coming from somewhere else and coming back to this city, I can see how it may have influenced me. Being in a city where everyone is into music and the arts is pretty amazing. Especially when everyone around me is making music, recording in the studio and playing shows.
HP: The overall atmosphere in the air is really cool. Everyone is trying to be creative. When you hear that your friends are in the studio practicing, it makes you want to do the same. I love the city. I was actually thinking about this the other night. You can take the subway, which we do have, a subway here. I love coming out of the subway and hearing all of the noise from people and traffic. It’s something I really enjoy. We are a dirty, noisy city.
TM: I feel like our heads are always somewhere else. I don’t know if we are directly influenced by the city because we always have our heads somewhere else. We would really like to record a record somewhere in the snow, somewhere cold and far away. Maybe it’s because we are here and it’s always hot and sunny so our heads just go elsewhere. In our minds, we would like to be in a cabin recording music elsewhere.
You recently released an EP, Nurture Nature. Are you working on a full length?
TM: We are always working on new material. We are just working on how exactly we are going to put it out.
HP: Our next step is figuring out what to do with our songs. We are always writing.
TM: We have half of a record right now.
HP: We still have lots to do. Hopefully by the beginning of the year we will have more time to focus on a full length. We always find ourselves writing in our spare time between shows.
TM: We are playing a few new songs in our sets already, but they just haven’t been recorded.
I saw that you just announced a show with Jessie Ware at the House of Blues in Los Angeles in November. Are you excited to play with Jessie Ware? Will you be playing larger shows in the future?
HP: Yes, we are really excited to play with her. She started her tour on October 1st. It’s really great to be able to play with her at this show.
Who would you consider influences?
TM: Visually, there is a light sculpture artist that really influences us. I saw his exhibit in Chicago and it just blew my mind. I thought it was so beautiful. His name is Ólafur Elíasson. He does a lot of stuff in caves and installations. He gave us the inspiration to build our light boxes and wanting to do our own lights if it were up to us, we would probably have crazy light sculptures on stage. For now we have our light boxes.
HP: Eventually we want it to become part of the experience of our live shows.
TM: We want Hanford to come out of an ice igloo playing bass during our show.
Any musical influences?
TM: We both really like The Knife. I like that they are electronic but they are very punk and amazing songwriters.
HP: I have some traditional, or who I consider traditional, like Nine Inch Nails.
TM: Maybe old school. I don’t know about “traditional.”
Definitely not traditional [laughter]
TM: I thought you were going to say, “His name is Mozart.”
HP: Yeah, I’m really into this guy, “Beethoven.”
TM: Hmm… who else? Another artist would be Bjork. She peed on stage, that’s very traditional. I don’t know if that’s just her. You kind of think, “That’s adorable! Bjork is peeing on stage.”
HP: It was probably the cutest pee there was.
TM: Who else? It’s like getting on Spotify and completely blanking on what you would like to listen to. It’s overwhelming. I am having a Spotify moment. Aphex Twin! When I got into electronic music he was definitely one of the weirdos I was into.
Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
TM: I am so jealous that Arcade Fire got to do an album with James Murphy. I can say that would be a dream. The collaboration between those two artists– I wouldn’t have thought about it but it’s genius. I am officially jealous.
HP: I like SBTRKT. His albums are huge sonically. It would be fun to exploit that.
TM: One of the first things we said was when we set out and that was it was only going to be us two and that’s it. But we hope that we play with lots of people and lots of people play on our records. We want it just to be the two of us so that we can go on tour with a guitar player and drums, but we also want the ability to grow and change and not be limited. We want to have room for lots of musicians to come in and play.
Your live shows sometimes feature drums, right?
TM: We have a resident drummer, Mike Feerick, but he is not a resident of the United States. He lives in England and had to go home.
HP: He also plays in a cool band called Young Light.
What is next for Oh Boy Les Mecs?
TM: We are going to the Arctic to write new material and then we will put it out through 4AD. I just made that up.