Interviews

A Conversation With TECHNICLR

September 3, 2020
TECHNICLR

Having just released their first single ‘Take It Or Leave It,’ Auckland based Pop group TECHNICLR are starting to make a splash in the New Zealand music scene. Members Jess, Molly, and Chelsea have been performing together since they were in high school and have started to build a loyal fan base. 

Having started their careers doing cover songs with the odd original thrown in, the group has since taken a step back from performing to focus on writing and recording their original material. TECHNICLR has become known for their musicianship, catchy melodies, and powerful vocal performances. ‘Take It Or Leave It,’ produced by EDY, is a strong first single for the band. 

We caught up with TECHNICLR to discuss the artistic process, performing live, and their upcoming plans. 

Congratulations on the release of ‘Take It Or Leave It’ how long have you been working on it for? 

Jess: “We wrote the song last year, maybe halfway through last year, and then we’ve just been performing it at live shows. It kind of changed throughout the year, and we’ve been recording it since January this year, I think. We got it finished like two months ago.” 

Are you working on an EP at the moment?

Jess: “We’re working on the next single, it’s going to be more acoustic-y vibes and a bit more stripped back.”

Do you have a release date in mind? 

Jess: “We’re still getting it done.”

Molly: “We’re all pretty tied up with University at the moment as well, so it’s really tricky planning right now to try and balance everything.”

Are you going to be working with EDY again for this next single?

Jess: “I think we are looking at a different producer for this second one just because it’s a different style that we’re going for. Working with EDY was so great, he’s so quick, and his sound is always so warm and polished. It was a really fun process.”

When you’re composing a song do you all meet up and try to write something together? Or is it done individually? Do you write verses for each other? Or do you all write your own parts?

Jess: “It’s so different with every song. But most of the time it starts with us writing something ourselves and then bringing it to the table and then arranging it for everyone. So usually I’ll start with an idea, which is usually some chords, and then we’ll come together and write a melody for it, and write some harmonies and lyrics.” 

How did you all meet? 

Jess: “We met in high school actually. Molly and I have been schooling together since primary school. But we all came together in music class in year 11 or 12. I was doing choir with Chelsea, and we were all doing music class and started singing together.”

When you first started singing together you were doing mashups and cover songs. What sort of songs were you singing? 

Jess: “We sang Bob Marley, which was fun; and Destiny’s Child, Jessie J. I don’t know, we did a lot of mashups of some weird genres, but mainly Pop, some Reggae, and some Neo Soul in there as well. 

How long did it take for you to transition from doing cover songs and mashups to writing your own original music? 

Molly: “We didn’t do any sort of composition in school. We kind of split off after school and then came back together maybe a year or so later. We kind of started out like let’s just get together and sing some covers. Jess had been writing heaps over that year anyway, so we kind of just decided we would do a bit of both. Slowly we’ve kind of tipped more on to originals.” 

Is there a main creative force behind the group? Or do you all just present ideas to each other? 

Molly: “It’s different every time. Jess does a lot of writing though, she writes the most out of all of us. But it is different every time. With this track, it was a completely different song, and then we took it to EDY who was the producer, and it kind of just transformed into what it is now.”

Do you all come from musical families? 

Molly: “Yeah, lots of my family are musicians. Uncles, Dad, Aunties.” 

Jess: “Yeah, my mum is pretty musical, my brother is musical as well. Mum used to be in a band in Nigeria and they did some touring. I swear to God every song that comes on the radio that is from the 90s she’s like “Oh yeah I used to sing that song.” 

Molly: “Oh wow I didn’t know that.”

Chelsea: “My Mum is pretty musical, she used to sing classically so she kind of fed that into me growing up. She used to play quite a few instruments so I kind of just followed her footsteps. But my dad, not so much. 

You all come from an interesting mix of different musical backgrounds do you think that has played an influence on your music? 

Molly: “Yeah, the songs that we all write individually are all quite different, but then when we all arrange vocals, or when we mix together, it’s also different. Chelsea writes really cute songs, I don’t know how to explain Chelsea’s songs they’re so cute. We’re all so different.” 

Jess: “I write more like soul.”

Molly: “I think everything I have written is kind of bluesy, and I haven’t meant it to be that way but it just has been.”

What’s the meaning behind the name of the group? 

Molly: “Well, even looking at us you can tell that we come from different backgrounds, and we wanted to encompass this idea of diversity, colour, and love so TECHNICLR just kind of resonated with us.”

 Jess: “Yeah, it’s an amalgamation of all of us.”

At what point did you decide to start performing live?

Jess: “So we did covers and stuff during high school, and then I moved away to Melbourne for a year and we kind of all just went off and did our own thing. Molly and Chelsea went to University. Then when we came back we decided that we missed singing together. So, it was just kind of from that point that we started doing little gigs at Portland pub which were more acoustic sets, and that’s just transformed into full-band sets, and what it is now.” 

At those early shows were you playing original material then? Or were you doing mashups? Or a mix of the two?

Jess: “Yeah, it was a mix of the two. Probably more covers and then just a couple of originals here and there, and it was mainly just guitar, piano, and vocals.”

When you perform live you have quite a full backing band. Do you write their parts for them? Or do you give them your idea and have them write their own parts to the song? 

Molly: “That’s pretty much how it works. It’s been really cool because everyone that we have worked with has been so unbelievably talented, we’d just play the song with a guitar, or the piano and just give them free rein. When we circle out musicians they just change the whole vibe by doing their thing, it’s really cool. 

Had you been playing ‘Take It Or Leave It’ live for a while as well?

Molly: “We’ve been playing it for quite a while now, but it was so different. We’ve actually had a recording of what it was originally when we performed it with the band. I wonder if we could fiddle with it someday. It’s so different, I still really love it though, the old version of it.” 

Do you have plans to record any of those other old songs?

Molly: “It’s so hard. I really want to, but when we’ve tried it’s hard to take the instrumental live sound and take it into the studio. I would love to one day.”

Jess: “It’s an easier process sometimes when you’re working with producers just to create something new, I feel like it’s a lot quicker than trying to redo a song.”

Do you have any plans for music videos?

Molly: “Yeah, we were planning on doing one for this track ‘Take It Or Leave It,’ but it just didn’t seem feasible in the end. We wanted to get something out there but shit is expensive. We still wanted that visual stimulant so we did a little short clip, but we’d really like to make a video at some stage, it would be so fun. I don’t know about the next single. We have to make a good plan.

What plans do you have for the rest of the year? 

Jess: “I think because we’ve been gigging so much for the past few years we’re just taking a step back and focusing on getting some music out there. So hopefully we can have this next single done by the end of the year.”

Molly: “Busy, busy though with everything, COVID, uni, music, working, it’s crazy! It’s just a lot longer process for us to get things done because of it, but that’s okay.”

You can stream ‘Take It Or Leave It’ here:

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