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INTERVIEW | More Giraffes Dish Out Jurassic-Sized Bops, Eye Debut EP

The electro-pop duo unleashes fury with their first two singles.

Jasmine Safaeian

The bite-sized electronic duo break the mundanity of mainstream pop.

Pop is a machine. For every fledging newcomer who packs it in within the first couple years, there's another couple dozen vying for that slot. Thankfully, More Giraffes, a duo made up of Mark Hadley and Keeley Bumford and whose fates have always been intertwined, cut down on the nonsense for a truly empowered, high-charged brand of juicy pop. Their two singles, "Dinosaur" and "Basement," have amassed one and a half million streams on Spotify, not an easy feat by any stretch. From the former's glitchy rhythms and jaunty, hip-hop bombast to the latter's infectious elasticity, the pair draw upon life in the social media sphere, cutting open our craving for clicks to the heart of what really matters.

"I know I stole your bike (chill) / It was a joke, I get kinda high sometimes," they sing, wrapping their unfiltered attitude around syrupy drip-drops. "You're wrong until you're right / You're with me tonight, still with me tonight." As their dizzying debut single, "Basement" sets quite the precedent: unbound by convention. They're bold enough to make their own. "Dinosaur" quite simply acts as a biting mover and shaker, extending their aesthetic with even more grandeur while doubling down on their brazen persona. Meeting up in college a few years ago, Hadley and Bumford spent a number of years "collaborating professionally on advertisement and trailer work and eventually decided to start our own artist project where we can do whatever we want creatively," they tell Popdust over email. Even their written words are laced with refreshing brevity.

They get to the point, unfazed by others' desire to sugarcoat and stand long-winded. There's charm in simplicity. They let the music do the talking, and no, we're not complaining. With that, they enforce a joy-riding approach to not only their craft but the world. The internet is "both stimulating and lonely," they reflect, "and we're just trying to make people feel good irl. [The internet] also changed the music industry with the way artists release music and collaborate, which we're always thinking about."

Influences run the gamut, from J Dilla and Kendrick Lamar to Diplo, MIA and Mø. Their interest in wide commercial appeal is evident, which doesn't mean they're willing to sacrifice integrity for higher numbers. They live and breath the same as you and me, but they weave unshakable grimness into the fibers of the music. You just have to listen closely enough to hear it. Bumford and Hadley, who both have active solo projects as Dresage and Hark Madley, respectively, are about to explode on the public consciousness. Will you be along for the ride, too?

An EP looms just over the horizon, and the pair remain quite tight-lipped, only teasing to expect "more jams, more lolz, more giraffes."

Below, Hadley and Bumford discuss how they remain so confident, messy relationships, and if their aesthetic is satire or not.

iplusfree.biz

You said in a statement that the song "Dinosaur" is an anthem "for everyone that knows they're fly AF." Even in the age of internet culture and living in LA, how did you learn to be so confident in your own skin?

We're not all the time. It's a daily struggle. Giving yourself a pep talk and believing in yourself goes a long way though.

In "Basement," you embrace being a complete mess in a relationship. Have you actually been in that situation?

In a sense, we've all been in that situation. We just thought of a funny scene for this song that captures that sentiment: a house party where one person in a couple is sober and one is belligerent causing all sorts of harmless drama.

As an aesthetic, More Giraffes comes across as almost satire, in a lot of ways. How did this concept come to be?

It's not a satire; we're just not taking ourselves too seriously. We wanted to make a pop project where it's not all about heartbreak but where we can be bright and fun and make people feel good. Humor is a big part of it, though. We always try to make each other laugh when we're writing lyrics. That feeling hopefully translates in our art and other content, as well.

Why Giraffes? Why not Platypuses?

Giraffes are dope. No shade to Platypuses, but it just doesn't flow.

In your songwriting together, so far, what have you learned and how have you grown, as songwriters and simply humans?

We've learned to keep it simple and to not over-think things. Or at least attempt that. Also, the only person to compare yourself to is you, everyone is on their own journey and path.

How do you survive online without going crazy?

We put the phone down and go outside. It's all just screens.

How have you seen the internet be completely toxic but also a rather inspiring place?

It's a constant pageant of people's best moments, and real life isn't like that. So, comparisons and self-judgement run rampant on social media. On the other hand, you can collaborate with people all over the world and find your new favorite band from somewhere far away. It's a balance.

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Jason Scott is a freelance music journalist with bylines in Billboard, PopCrush, Ladygunn, Greatist, AXS, Uproxx, Paste and many others. Follow him on Twitter.


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