Story by Michael Menachem // Photo by Eliot Lee Hazel
One of the most joyful music videos you will see all year is for “Hey Love,” by Denmark duo Quadron, a song produced by Fraser T Smith (Adele, Florence + The Machine), a hopeful wish for finding that one true love. Singer/songwriter Coco O. and multi-instrumentalist/producer Robin Hannibal have been on a whirlwind of a ride, relocating to LA recently and naming their upcoming album “Avalanche,” stemming from everything happening around them as an act and individually. Coco’s sweet and soothing voice was included among a who’s who in popular music on “The Great Gatsby” soundtrack on the track “Where The Wind Blows,” executive produced by Jay-Z. Robin has seen success over the past several months as one half of downtempo indie hybrid Rhye.
“It’s definitely the music industry and what we’ve chosen to do as a profession that is very much an avalanche,” Coco said of the album concept. “It’s also moving to LA and creating things from zero in many ways and having to build that on top of making a new record and working over here.”
Fatima Robinson choreographed the “Hey Love” video, which showcases Coco, mostly in various black and white attire with moments of red, and Robin who makes an appearance as well in the dance-heavy visual. “Because we are still new to the world, and nobody knows who were are and what we look like, I thought it would be nice if I had a lot of time on the screen,” said Coco. I wanted to illustrate that the song isn’t about that I’m in love with a guy, but actually it’s about that I can’t find a guy.” In the video, several men dance in a variety of styles with Coco, as she continues her search for her soulmate. “I’m one of the men, dancing, the one in the turtleneck,” said Robin.
Though Robin claims he doesn’t really play anything that well, the self-proclaimed jack-of-all-trades says piano is his “preferred weapon of choice” and mentioned that he composes and creates songs for production and says the songwriting process always takes place with Coco. “I feel like from Robin, it’s important that all parts of the songs are equally good,” said Coco. It’s not about just getting this one hook that everyone remembers, because then you might get a little tired of it. We pay a lot of attention to all the parts.”
This sums up the duo’s cohesion and intricate attempt at melody and production. Both Robin and Coco have a strong fondness for Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, jazz singers and a host of 90s R&B. Coco cites Mariah Carey, Lauryn Hill and D’Angelo as others while Robin says he listens to a lot of Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight. “I feel like the reason I look back when I listen to singers is because there were some great ones who set the mood for what many people are doing today,” said Coco. “I feel like when you are a singer you kind of want to listen to the great masters. I tend to look back more than looking ahead or to the people just coming out. Especially for training purposes. I do like Miguel a lot though, and Lianne La Havas.
“I think also we’ve both been listening to this style since we were children,” said Robin. “If you go back to the 70s and 80s there were often 20-30 people involved in the credits – a horn section would be eight people and a string section between 16-32 and that would be very typical. I think the last 10-15 years it’s kind of been a dying breed and something that’s slowly been reduced by popular music. We just think that’s a shame because it creates so much emotion and it makes you want to listen to it. We want to bring back the musicianship, especially in LA and just in general in the United States, who are just incredible at their instruments