From their early days getting success off the back of an Apple advert, their latest album ‘Moth’ is a bold, R&B-laced synthpop, stone-cold classic.
The two-piece hail from Brooklyn, both playing a wide range of instruments. A large part of their appeal comes from the amazing voice of frontwoman Caroline Polachek, whose delivery has come a long way over the course of three albums. "It's just a thing I've enjoyed playing with,” Caroline says.
“I think I got more accurate with it with our second record. I released a solo record in 2014 under the name Ramona Lisa and that record required quite a bit of that live-wall dancing too which was a bit of a feat. “That record was, musically speaking, meant to be kind of rigid, so I wanted the Chairlift record to be kind of the opposite, to be really swooshy and swoopy.”
2014’s ‘Arcadia’ released under the name Ramona Lisa was a relatively understated, more ambient collection compared to the catchiness you associate with Chairlift. It was created by Caroline alone during Chairlift’s busy touring schedule. “I think there's an aspect of myself and the kind of music that I naturally gravitate to that doesn't always work for my collaboration with Patrick [Wimberly].
“I'd been sitting on a collection of songs that kept growing and developing their own identity that was definitely colder, more formal, more cryptic and classical feeling. That record was all done digitally, which made me really want the Chairlift record to be very organic. We hadn't ever attempted anything as rich as we did on ‘Moth’ and especially not totally self-produced, so that was a whole, new world for us.”
With their own studio space in Brooklyn, Caroline and Patrick are not shy to collaborations; they have an enviable list of artists they’ve worked with to date. “I think that's part of why you move to a big city is to be around a million other fantastic musicians. I always had more fun being in the studio making music than being at a bar or a party. That's how I enjoy hanging out with people and getting to know people. It's what I like to do.”
They also work as producers and writers for others too, with Patrick currently recording with MGMT and Caroline famously writing the song ‘No Angel’ for Beyoncé. “Beyoncé invited Chairlift to write some songs for her record. Patrick and I made five songs together then Patrick added a few instrumentals of his own into the folder and I added 'No Angel'. That was the one she took.
“It was very surreal. That was a song that I'd made and written in a hotel at 5:30 in the morning in London a year and a half before she even reached out. Right after that happened I got a lot of requests for songwriting and I was kind of overwhelmed because I, technically speaking, had never written a song for an artist before. I didn't exactly know how to do it."
They’re no strangers to Australia and return to the country in December for a number of live dates. “We've played a lot of festivals this year which has been really good because I think 'Moth' is really good for festivals. There are a lot more upbeat songs on this record than the previous ones, so it's been really fun for outdoor environments. I can’t wait to be down under!”
Chairlift ShowsFri 2 Dec - Disconnect Festival (Fairbridge Village, Western Australia)
Sat 3 Dec - The Zoo (Brisbane)
Sun 4 Dec - The Metro Theatre (Sydney)
Wed 7 Dec - Max Watts (Melbourne)