When Eric Emm and Jesse Cohen first joined forces in 2008, they probably never imagined their collaborative project would go beyond their producing a track for the former's band, Professor Murder. Though there wasn't a firm plan in place when they started working together, Emm and Cohen dipped their proverbial feet in multiple different facets. After several remixes and an opening slot for Julian Casablancas later, the duo released their first record in 2012 and their follow-up, Highlights, earlier this year.
Whereas the duo went through the grinder for their first effort, this time around saw them build a bigger, more confident sound. Attributing that to figuring out their direction and understanding of what they are as a group, Cohen says finding an identity allowed for their songwriting and production to flourish on Highlights.
"When we started on this album we had the experience of touring a lot behind the last one," he says as over the phone from somewhere in Southern Oregon. "We wanted to add a little bit more of that onto the album."
The initial process began when they headed to Emm's hometown of Pittsburgh, before zipping out to Los Angeles to work with their engineer/co-produer Patrick Ford before bringing it all back home to finish it up in Brooklyn. Enlisting producer Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear fame to finish things off back in Gotham, Tanlines hadn't worked with someone outside of their inner circle prior to his inclusion. Working with Taylor allowed them to take a step forward and gave the group an different opinion and set of ears to bounce their ideas off.
"You can see the steady growth and it wasn't like we're going to do this, then this, then this," he explains. "It was evolving and feeling more able bigger and different stuff. Or just figuring out what feels good. For us, a lot of that was live shows, and at the start, that isn't what we thought about at all."
As for their live show, this run marks the first time that Tanlines has brought along a band to fill out their sound. So far, that includes an in-store at Amoeba Records and a show at the Echoplex, and the positive experience with the crowds encouraged Emm and Cohen that their calculated risks are worth taking. The guitars add the proper balance between the dance-infused synths and hip-hop drums and proves to the duo that what started off as a one-off remix project has become fully viable on its own.
Tanlines perform tonight at the Constellation Room. Show starts at 8p.m., $12. For full details, click here.