PressPlay Mixes #010: CAFUNÉ

September’s PressPlay mix comes from NY duo CAFUNÉ. Their eclectic mix is an exploration of vibes and genres that inspire their synthy sound – read on for our chat with the pair!

Hey guys! So stoked to be chatting with you. Can you tell us a little bit about CAFUNÉ?

SEDONA: Well, we’ve been friends for a couple years now but started working together as CAFUNÉ about a year ago. We come from pretty different backgrounds — Noah spent the first half of college making house music and I’ve always been a singer-songwriter — but there’s this chunk of bands that live in-between purist electronic stuff and indie rock that we both love for the same reasons, and that’s our jumping off point.

NOAH: Yeah — I played in a bunch of guitar bands throughout high school, but at the beginning of college I wanted to be more independent in being able to make music, so I started producing. But there’s something about being in a band that trumps making beats or one-off writing sessions with topliners, and I missed that feeling. I helped Sedona produce a song of hers for school, and the band happened naturally from there.

Your mix is really unique, jumping from disco to R&B and more. What would you say inspires your sound?

NOAH: We’re really inspired by artists that are writing interesting “songs” in the traditional sense, even when they’re using sounds and production methods that are more “electronic.” Though in fairness, everything’s electronic now, it’s pretty unavoidable… I heard someone once say that if a song can’t be sung over just an acoustic guitar or a piano then it’s probably not a very good “song” in the traditional sense, and obviously EDM has just smashed that concept to bits.

SEDONA: But now people are realizing that it doesn’t necessarily have to be one or the other, and that’s pretty cool. The requirements for a “good” pop song have diversified in some senses; it can be about an interesting texture or a cool sound as much as it can be about a good hook. Our mix is a blend of friends’ songs that we like, recent music that we enjoy, and some older tunes that we can point to as an influence on our project. It represents that sweet spot where our tastes converge.

Do you feel in any way that your collaborative efforts have separately defined each of you as artists? How do you feel you’ve grown creatively after starting this project with one another?

SEDONA: What’s been really fantastic is seeing how consistently specific flavors and vibes have come about naturally in the songs that we’ve worked on. When it’s a project that is not solely yourself, it’s a bit easier to identify certain trends in your own writing and your own musical instincts. So when one of us comes to the other with something we’ve made, pretty quickly it becomes clear whether the track will work for CAFUNÉ or not.

NOAH: But that’s led to surprises as well. I’m finding myself writing more full songs on instruments now, instead of starting on the computer. Meanwhile, Sedona just got Ableton and she’s sequencing drums and shit and sending them to me.

Your covers of “Sad Machine” and “Instant Crush” have been big hits – how do you put your own spin on such beloved tracks?

SEDONA: The important thing is that we cover songs that we loooooove. We just try and put a new flavor to those songs — be it adding guitar to a more straightforward electronic track or putting Noah’s voice through a vocoder to contrast with mine on “Sad Machine”… just switching things up to make them fresh and interesting. 

What do you hope to convey to your fans through your work?

SEDONA: When we started the band we talked a lot about keeping things simple, avoiding over-calculation. A lot of poppy-sounding electronic and dance stuff has songwriting that’s overly cheery or focused on enjoying yourself, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.

NOAH: It’s okay to dance and have a good time even if you’re feeling bad or worried about something. We’ve all been there, and we’ll all continue to be there sometimes. It just seems inauthentic to be writing happy songs just because you want to make music that’s considered fun.

SEDONA: Our top priorities are making fun music, and being emotionally authentic. What we’re trying to convey is that those two can and should go hand in hand — the music can be fun whether it’s happy or sad. We both really enjoy juxtaposing seemingly contradictory things, like upbeat music with a melancholy message, software synths underneath real human emotion and more traditional instrumentation.

Author: Staley Sharples

Editor in Chief of Saint Audio | Contributor at Audiences Everywhere