At a time where staying connected is more important than ever, House of Solo has launched ‘Party of One’, a series providing intimate insight into how your favourite artists are dealing with isolation and what we can expect from them during lockdown.
This week we’re chatting to electronic duo Kaleida. A pair who created remotely long before it was the norm, due to living on opposite sides of the Atlantic, they’re releasing their powerful new single ‘Other Side’ today. Accompanied by an enchanting video shot during lockdown in Berlin, the song embodies stillness and hope, a perfect track to see you through until the end of lockdown. With over 70 million streams to their name, a sync on Hollywood blockbuster John Wick, support slots with Roisin Murphy, Alt J and MSMR (to name a few), and signing to prestigious electronic label Lex Records, we can expect big things from this duo and their new album, which will be released on August 28th. We caught up with the powerhouse pair over email to discuss how their concept of community has changed, the future of the music industry and their own experiences of COVID-19.
So, how have you both been? How is this interview being answered? Are you together or am I speaking to just one of you?
We’ve been ok. Cicely had Covid-19 and was pretty unwell for quite a few weeks – we’re now back trying to put together some live videos, which has its own challenges being in two different countries.
I’m (Christina) writing now but we will have talked about our responses together – on the phone or over email – as we do with most things these days 🙂
Describe your surroundings to me, who are you in lockdown with?
We’re both with our families. Cicely has two small children and I have a baby. Cicely has been in London and I’m in West Palm Beach, Florida, where things seem to be almost back to normal in terms of behaviour, despite the pandemic still raging (and peaking here again).
Now that we’re coming to the end of lockdown, how do you reflect on the time more generally?
It felt good to be forced to slow down a bit and focus on home and our families. But of course, it was also kind of an anxious time. We hope it’s reminded other people of the value of slowness and doing old fashioned local things like reading books, knitting or helping your neighbours grow vegetables… whatever it is you’re into!
How has lockdown surprised you? Either in the tasks you find yourself doing or how your mindset has been?
I’m surprised by how much I can cook without going insane. Although I’m still on the verge!
So, you’ve just released your new song ‘Other Side’! You describe it as “one of those tracks that just had the feeling right from the start and expressed a kind of creative hope we were both feeling, a feeling that something good was coming…”. Does this mean lockdown has been a creative time for you?
It’s been creative in that we’ve had to rethink how we were going to approach an album release and promotion. We were together for one week in March and had meant to spend the month together in London, but the travel ban struck and I had to get back to the States. So we weren’t able to finish taking press shots or making album artwork and videos. But good things have come out of it – we worked with an amazing graphic designer on a collaged image for the album artwork, and with a director in Berlin who shot a lockdown video of solo dancers on the empty streets, which was quite uplifting. We’re now plotting how to make our next video apart.
The video that you filmed during lockdown is stunning. What was the inspiration behind it and what was the filming process like?
Thank you. The filmmaker Glashier had the idea to show a sense of hope and longing for the beyond, the ‘other side,’ a better day, through dance and movement, after we explained the meaning of the lyrics to him. He knows a lot of very talented dancers in Berlin and approached a few to film solo during lockdown (only two people were allowed outside together in March when he shot the video). We really love the dancers and their performances.
This is the first piece of music that you’ve released since 2017. What prompted you to start releasing music together again?
We’d just taken a short break after Cicely had her second baby. We got together to go over material and realized quite quickly that we had a lot to work with and wanted to make our next album. Somehow we made it work in between having babies and all the distance.
From your Instagram it seems that you’ve been creating a lot together online. Your new recording and video of ‘Tear the Roots’ is great! How have you found creating together online, as you normally live so far apart from each other – is this something that you’re both used to?
Not really – Covid has forced us to be more resourceful. We’re both not really into throw-away type social media posts and are pretty private people – not social media naturals – so we’ve been working hard to make things that will last. Compared to our last release, it feels like we’re getting a bit better at making content in our own way, and having the distance has allowed us to think it all through quite carefully.
Your New Album ‘Odyssey’ is going to be Released 28th August on Lex Records. I understand that the body of work explores both of your journey’s since 2017, spent apart on either side of the atlantic. Can you expand on this?
They are a group of tracks that have emerged from the last couple of years in our lives…nothing too specific, but just various thoughts at different moments. We’ve both started families, settled down a bit more, and perhaps gained a bit more perspective on life…
What was the recording process like for the album?
We got together a few times in London to record vocals and other bits, and then Cicely worked with musicians in London to record the rest of the parts, and then finished the album production in her home studio. We did the mix and master over lots of wetransfers. We actually worked with a mastering engineer in Moscow, Diana Gorovaya, who was exceptional. The whole process has taken about two years. Writing the tracks was one of the faster parts this time, because we couldn’t be too perfectionist about it with the constraints we were working under.
Can you expand on your video which “was written and dedicated to those without a voice”? Was this a new song that you wrote in response to BLM protests?
The track was inspired by Aliaa Magda Elmady, an Egyptian activist who posted a nude photo of herself on the internet in rebellion to oppression in her culture, especially of women. She described the post as “screams against a society of violence, racism, sexism, sexual harassment and hypocrisy.” She received a lot of death threats and had to leave her country after that happened, and continues to campaign for women’s rights. So we made the video for Aliaa in 2015. We pulled together old footage of protests from all over the world, for many different causes. There have been so many millions of people who have stood up against all kinds of oppression, sexism and racism in the course of history and we wanted to show how powerful those movements have been. The track felt quite emotional for us – lots of empathy for those fighting fights that are bigger than themselves, with the message to keep pushing for equality, and to never be made to feel ashamed by the oppressors, but to feel self-respect and strength.
How has lockdown changed your concept of community?
To be honest it’s made me feel quite isolated and a bit lonely, and more appreciative than ever of getting together with others to swap ideas and share time.
(Cicely) Yes, the isolation was horrific – I was separated from my kids for two weeks when I was most ill and it was so hard. I guess it made me think of the people suffering alone in hospitals – it’s so important that we remember to keep older, vulnerable people included in society.
How do you think that the recent months have shaped the future of both the U.K and the U.S music scenes respectively?
I guess the beauty of music is that it always survives, adapts and changes. I’m sure we’ll see some interesting work coming out of this strange period but hopefully, it won’t be too long before we can get back to experiencing live music. There’s only so much online content you can watch!
What excites you the most about the end of lockdown?
Not sure it’s really the end…it feels like some sort of hesitancy will be around for years. But what excites me the most is going on a trip, when it’s possible. Right now I’m longing to go to Patmos and swim in the sea… Cicely thinks that the UK thinks that lockdown has ended!!
Video directed by Glashier