While some artists might be afraid to touch on delicate subjects, Rachel Bobbitt and Justice Der most certainly are not, as proven by the subject matter behind their latest single “Beneath Our Feet (Exit Music)” – death. Though the subject is difficult, the video to the track presents death in a friendly, yet eerie presence sort of way that feels almost familiar and perhaps may even encourage those to watch it to speak more openly about the issue itself. Currently working on new material, ThisIsTheLatest caught up with the duo to chat favourite songs, social media and ultimate ambitions.
TITL: Let’s go back to the beginning. When did you each first realise you had an interest in/passion for music and how did you come together?
Justice: I first realized I had a passion for music when I heard Breezin by George Benson in the car.
Rachel: I can’t really pinpoint an exact moment. My mom was playing a lot of folk music around the house when I was growing up, so I think it pretty quickly became an intuitive way for me to communicate my feelings and thoughts. We met at school in Toronto.
TITL: Which artists growing up made you think “I want to follow in their footsteps?”
R: Leonard Cohen.
J: George Benson.
TITL: Is there any particular artist you might say you sound similar to, or do you make a determined effort to just be yourselves and something fresh and new?
J: We are a blend of our influences, and our own sound. We are definitely inspired by many different artists, but also try to bring something new to everything we make.
TITL: What would you say is your unique selling point as a duo? What one thing makes you stand out from your many artistic counterparts?
R: It’s hard to say, we don’t think too much about our selling point.
TITL: Which bands and artists have most influenced you over the course of your career and how do those influences impact the music you make?
J: We have been heavily influenced by Alex G, Phoebe Bridgers, Soccer Mommy, Frank Ocean, Miles Davis, etc. These musicians all inspire us to create music we are passionate about and believe in.
TITL: Is there a story behind your latest music video “Beneath Our Feet (Exit Music)?
R: The video is about being mortal. The ghost in the video represents the grim reaper. We wanted to try to present death in a lighthearted way.
TITL: Death is never an easy subject to broach, in any form, so why did you choose to do so through music? What do you hope people take from the story/meaning behind the song?
R: It has a lot to do with the age we have arrived at. We inevitably are confronted with thoughts of our own mortality more and more as we age. Through the song, we wanted people to try to think about death in a way that isn’t daunting, or overwhelmingly negative. It’s a song about putting a lighthearted spin on one of our biggest commonalities as people.
TITL: The track is taken from your album When This Plane Goes Down. For those who might not have heard it yet, how would you sum it up and could you each pick a favourite track?
R: The album is about growing up. Mine is “Alex.”
J: “Passed out Trees.”
TITL: Who or what most inspires your creativity when it comes to songwriting? Which song might you say is the greatest ever written and why?
J: We’re inspired by our experiences from our childhood and young adulthood. The greatest song ever written is pretty hard, some of our favourites of all time are “Close To You” by The Carpenters, “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green and “Between the Bars” by Elliott Smith.
TITL: If you could put together your dream show with four bands or artists, living or dead, who would you choose and where would you play?
R: Frank Ocean, Elliott Smith, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen. Outside in rural Nova Scotia.
TITL: Do you have any performances/tour dates lined up? Where can music fans next check you out?
J: None as of right now, we’re working on new material to release in the spring.
TITL: To what extent do you use social media? What’s your view on how technologically ‘obsessed’ we as a society seem to be?
J: We don’t take social media too seriously. It’s important to have a sense of humour about it, and not spend too much time on it.
TITL: Finally then, given that so many bands and artists tend to fall by the wayside, what’s the long term goal for the two of you? Where would you like to see yourselves, personally and professionally, 5-10 years down the line?
R: Living humbly, putting out albums.