It’s strange to think that the Millenial teenage dream has shifted to one based in nostalgia—not of Jetson-era hover cars or moon crater-side condos. But watching Jack and Eliza’s Super8-filmed “Secrets,” video, directed by Wiissa, it becomes clear that simplicity and good old-fashioned coastside shenanigans are exactly what’s necessary in this day and age.
We spoke with Jack and Eliza, the fresh duo behind the surfy croons, and got all the not-so-dirty deets—because it doesn’t get much sweeter than when your deepest, darkest secret involves Al Roker. Be sure to also check out the premiere of their new “Secrets” vid below the interview!
How did you guys meet? We hear you guys kind of went to rival high schools in Brooklyn.
J: We met through mutual friends during the wondrous middle school years.
E: Ah, yes, the early teens! A great age. I actually played drums in a band that Jack sang in. We also ended up studying guitar in the same program at Third Street Music School in the East Village.
J: People around us always suggested we write music together.
E: So we gave it go. I went to Saint Ann’s my entire life and Jack went to Packer for high school so we were just a few blocks away from one another. I never ran into you on the street though, now that I think about.
In high school, especially in New York, it can feel like everyone is in a teen band. What do you think it is about you guys that’s allowed you to get past the teen-band hump?
E: We get along really well and respect one another’s opinions and appreciate what we both bring to the table as songwriters. I find that a lot of friends were/are in bands where there is this crazy power struggle or people don’t show up to rehearsal or one member of the band doesn’t take it as seriously as the rest.
J: That pattern seems more prominent in younger bands because as kids it’s harder to figure out your role, accept it and play it.
E: We never wanted to hear people say, “Oh, they’re good for kids.”
And now, Jack you’re at NYU and Eliza you’re at Columbia. What are you guys studying?
E: As of now, I plan to double major in Creative Writing and Visual Arts but I’m also studying Classics.
J: I’m considering concentrating in history and political science, but it could change at any moment. I think Eliza and I are two people in particular who need something in our lives that isn’t music at all times to balance everything out and to influence our music and songwriting.
How long have guys been playing/ writing music? Can you remember the first song you ever wrote?
J: Well, funny you should ask. Our second Tumblr birthday just happened.
E: Yes, a hallowed occasion. We made that good ole Tumblr pretty early on so it must be two years now.
J: The first song we wrote together is called “Motel Home,” an extremely simple song that really focuses on our harmonies, which I guess set the tone.
Your music has a very surfer vibe to it, but its rare that you guys actually also surf, too! Where do you like to go surfing?
E: I’ve grown up surfing at Ditch in Montauk. Jack surfs in his dreams and is a trooper about waking up early to sit on a cold beach, alone.
J: It’s true, I do not surf. I like the culture surrounding surfing and the music born from it. When Eliza surfs, which is often, you can find me sitting on the beach eating a breakfast burrito or napping.
You’ve been compared to The Mamas and The Papas. What is it that attracts you to this older sound? What other musicians are you into?
E: We LOVE the Mamas and the Papas so it’s beyond flattering that that comparison has been made. Our attraction to the textural and sonic quality in music from the late 60’s and 70s is beyond articulation for me. There’s just a certain feeling in music from that time. The Beatles, The Kinks, Carole King, The Beach Boys, the music of Motown—those are the songwriters that we constantly look to, listen to, and study, tirelessly.
J: Those bands were writing pop music that was fairly complex theory-wise, yet so damn catchy! It’s challenging to find equilibrium between complexity and catchiness.
E: Vocal doubling, which became prevalent in the 60s has had a large impact on our music, as well. We also do listen to and are inspired by a fair share of current bands— Grizzly Bear, Tame Impala, The XX, Foxygen, Allah-Lahs, St Vincent just to name a few.
Who would be your dream musical collaboration?
J: Probably Johnny Greenwood from Radiohead. He’s extraordinary at composing guitar and keyboard parts. Whatever type of music he sets his heart on, he can excel at, and perhaps even break some creative boundaries in the process.
E: George Harrison, if he were alive. If we’re talking about living people, I really admire what Kevin Parker (from Tame Impala) does. He captures that older sound in a genuine, not kitschy way and adds a modern twist.
Since you’re both born and raised in NYC we were hoping you could give us the down-low on some of your fave places.
E: Baby’s All Right is one of my favorite spots to hear music and hang out. We both loved 285 Kent, which we both miss terribly and some of the spots I frequent shall remain nameless because, you know, we’re not exactly of age. Being on a friend’s roof or in a back yard is always the most fun.
Where do you like to go vintage shopping? Fave place to grab an after-concert snack?
E: Urban Jungle in Bushwick is great, so is Stella Dallas in Williamsburg, and Metropolis in the East Village and then there’s Melet Mercantile in Soho. Veselka is always a classic for a late night snack. I love a little late night banana pancake action. There are also some late night Ramen spots that we love. Sometimes the pizza place on the corner can do the trick.
J: I’ll eat anything after playing a show because I can’t really eat before them. Once the adrenaline goes down, it’s anything from sushi to burgers.
Your new single is called “Secrets.” Can you tell us one of your deepest darkest secrets?
E: I still do bunny ears when I tie my shoelaces. It’s dark.
J: Al Roker keeps me grounded every morning.
We hear the video was filmed in Montauk. We love the choice of Super8, it has a very haze-y vibe to it like the tone of your voices. How’d you choose this for your first video?
E: Montauk maintains a very timeless feel. It’s a very nostalgic place. When we met up with Vanessa Hollander and Wilson Phillipe (Wiissa) we agreed that it would be an ideal spot to carry out the lose concept of the video which was basically to film a perfect summer day with some pals in 1973.
J: So of course using Super8 was the only option!
What’s in store for you guys, musically?
E: Swing on by! We also will be releasing our EP in September.
J: Hopefully we will be play a slew of shows in the NYC region come Fall to support it.