It’s full steam ahead for KÉDU CARLÖ, the charming electronic duo carving out their own place amongst the New Zealand music scene with their infectious and intricate electro house music, and bold live performances. Their music is a glistening concoction of influences, from the groovers of Chicago house, to vibrant afrobeat rhythms and hazy club tracks - KÉDU CARLÖ are always full of surprises.
Jess and Carly became friends about seven years ago in high school - Carly wanted to start a band for the Smokefree Rockquest, and Jess was friends with her sister. So her sister suggested Jess, and they formed a little indie rock band with the boys' school. They bonded over their love for music, sharing the tunes they were vibing with and building a very tight friendship. Years on, it’s still the same. They knew that they would inevitably become a team, so they spent a few years aligning their aspirations and creative path. Although ending up as an electronic duo was accidental, the pair admit. They had a bit of a ‘fake it til you make it’ introduction to the scene, being booked in advance for a gig, “We were like yeah we have a live show! And they were like, sick! So we were like oh shit, we better come up with a live set then!” Carly laughs, “It was really awesome because it was kind of our first live set, so we were still very much getting to know everything about live electronic performance.” Jess adds. The show was great, well received with a good crowd - kicking it off with a bang right from the start.
I was lucky enough to watch the pair jam, all their gear scattered around the floor of their lounge. The duo see eye-to-eye immediately, tuning in right from the moment of the first beat. They use music as a sandbox, building and layering different influences and styles to find surprising combinations of sounds - and making it look easy. Adding fuel to the fire, KÉDU CARLÖ are gearing up for live shows on the horizon, ready to unleash their evolution in the form of Intergalactica - a live electronic performance spectacular, creating space for people to express themselves, have fun, be free and feel safe.
KÉDU CARLÖ are Tenner Magazine's
NZ Music Month digital cover.
Photography by Oli Spencer
Words by Oli Spencer
Styled by Vintage Vamp
What was your first performance together like?
Carly: I kind of think of it as Club 121 even though it was technically Las Vegas, but that was a DJ set whereas Club 121 we did a live set the week after. Yeah that was amazing.
Jess: It was really awesome because it was kind of our first live set, so we were still very much getting to know everything about live electronic performance.
Carly: They booked us quite in advance, maybe two months in advance. We were like yeah we have a live show, and they were like sick! So we were like oh shit, we better come up with a live thing then! That was really good, I think it started off with just… okay well, I’m a drummer, and you play keys and vocals - so a drum pad, a keyboard, and some mics. And then we used Ableton, it started off real basic, I was using all the percussion things – it’s evolved immensely from that. It was in its toddler phase. Such a vibe, so full as well. There were a lot of people there, and they were reacting really well from the start.
I’d love to know what the first festivals you went to as fans, and the first festival that you played at were?
Carly: Oh we went to Auckland City Limits, that was probably both our first festival... Both our first concert was the same before we were friends. We both went to Usher. But yeah, Auckland City Limits was mean. I guess because we’re both musicians we’re both into seeing musicians play. So I think that was my favourite part about that. I did go to Europe and I went to a bunch of music festivals there – I went to Tomorrowland and was like oh wow this whole festival is dedicated to electronic music, it was mean.
Carly: Splore was a great one to play at.
Jess: Yeah Splore was special. And CubaDupa festival was great as well.
Where was your best crowd?
Jess: I’m leaning towards CubaDupa. Maybe that Whammy backroom gig that we did...
Carly: I actually did enjoy the one in Wellington, the first floor one, the crowd was very fucked up.
Jess: I didn’t...
Carly: We have really different experiences, like Jess hated it and I thought it was amazing. I thought it was fun, we were vibing.
Jess: Overall, the best crowds are the ones that have come out to see you and watch your act. When they know the songs as well.
Carly: Singing our songs! That feels great when that happens. There’s always at least a couple of girls at every show that will come to the front and their faces are so intense!
I loved watching you two jam – how often do you do that?
Carly: Now that we’ve moved into new houses it happens most nights. But before that it was a bit more planned…we’re not very consistent schedule type people, so that’s probably why we’ve been doing more because we see it and as soon as you tap one key it’s like, okay let’s go. If we had a show coming up we’d be doing it everyday for like 10 days in a row or something until we hate it. Then we’ll take 2 weeks off and be like oh shit, we’ve got more shows. But now it’s in a bit more of an effortless place.
Can you think of a really rewarding jam session?
Jess: It happens a lot, like most jam sessions. It happens all the time.
Carly: Sometimes we’ll set the camera up and film it. we’ll watch it back and mid-way we’ll be like yes! We’ve had a lot of really good jams
Jess: A few of our songs have started from jams, ‘Mating Call’ started from a jam, ‘Let’s Get To It’... quite a lot came from a jam. ‘Coochie’, one that we’re about to release came from a jam.
Carly: Every time we get a new piece of equipment as well that helps stimulate new ideas. I’ve been slowly building up a drum kit, every time I get a new piece of drum kit again the ideas just start flowing.
Who is your O.G NZ act?
Jess: I’d have to lean towards Kimbra, I love her so much. She inspires me so much, such a dope producer and songwriter - and vocally as well she does the most interesting stuff, I just love her.
Carly: Since Jess has gone with Kimbra I’m going to go with Fat Freddy’s, so good and no matter what in life as the decades roll on I’ll still be listening to Fat Freddy’s drop, it will never age.
Who are some local acts that you’re listening to at the moment?
Jess: I’ve been listening to Erny Belle a lot, she’s really dope.
Carly: I really like Juno Is.
If your music was a drink, what would the ingredients be?
Carly: Do you think… something fizzy? Espresso martini? We’re not that classy though.
Jess: We’re a bit cheeky as well, so something a bit surprising.
Carly: I kinda also wanna go with champagne just cause it's funny… but we can be more creative than that. We like tea, Earl Grey tea with manuka honey – bit of kiwi in there.
Carly: We love aloe vera, but that’s not an ingredient it’s just a drink.
Carly: Coconut tequila, pineapple juice, bit of lime for the citrus
Jess: And some red granita stuff that makes it like a sunrise.
As an artist, what do you want to be remembered for?
Jess: I think our performances
Carly: That’s a memory. A body of work is tangible, but performances are a memory, I wanna blow people’s socks off when they see us live.
As an artist and as people, what is next for you both?
Jess: We’re about to start doing some gigs which is really exciting. It’s called Intergalactica, and it’s going to be focused around live electronic performance and really carving out a space for live electronic performance in Aotearoa. Also about being fun, free, letting people express themselves and having a safe space to do that. That’s what’s on the horizon. And we are always working on new music. We have got a lot of stuff in the catalogue we’re excited to put out.
Carly: There will be an EP and an album, so kind of crunching that out – keeping going with the pace and trying to grow internationally as well. Then personally, I’m in a pretty content place. We’ve just moved into this space, so I think we only care about our career, that’s me!