THE duo has already been championed by…
Pharrell Williams, Coldplay and MTV. It was only natural I’d be interested and seeing what the guys are all about! Secret Rendezvous consist Sietske Morsch and Remi Lauw. I ask the Amsterdam twosome about their new album, For Real, and the themes that go into it. I learn why artists such as D’Angelo are so important to Secret Rendezvous and what the music scene is like in Amsterdam.
They tell me about their future plans and how their music careers got started; whether their new album is a development from their debut; the advice they would offer new artists – and records that mean a lot to them.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi! It’s been a great week. We’re having the last sunny days here in Amsterdam...
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
Sure. I’m Sisi; singer and writer. Together with my boyfriend, Remi (who plays guitars and synths); we produce music for our indie R&B band, Secret Rendezvous.
Is there a reason behind the name, ‘Secret Rendezvous’?
Yeah. We chose the name, Secret Rendezvous, because when we make music we lock ourselves up in the studio for months on end without letting anyone hear anything - so it feels like we’re having a secret meeting in the studio; like some kind of secret society…
But we wanted a smooth, sultry name…so we chose Secret Rendezvous.
For Real is your new album. What are the themes and stories that go into the record?
For Real is about the cycle of life and love, the ups and the downs. In the beginning of the cycle (we are) determined; full of confidence, followed by moments of doubt and sorrow - to end up, falling in love again with life.
Was it quite easy and quick to put together? How do you think your latest record compares to your earliest stuff?
No. It was not easy at all: that’s why it took us four years to make.
We started with a lot of demos - but they were all in different genres - so it took us a while to find the sound and songs we wanted. Through that process, we grew a lot as a songwriter and producer - so you can hear that we evolved on this new album.
Can you tell me how you met and when you decided you wanted to record music together?
We met at the Conservatory in Rotterdam, where we studied Pop Music.
There were not that many people at that time that liked our music; so, we started jamming together to our favourite D’Angelo and Erykah Badu tunes. At school, we had to do music projects – so, our first band came out of one of those projects...
We dropped an E.P. on MySpace and did some shows but, looking back on it, we weren’t fully committed because we also played for a lot of other bands as session musicians - and didn’t put enough time in our own music. When we wanted to make a full-album, we decided to start a new band - and that’s when Secret Rendezvous was born.
Pharrell Williams and Coldplay have championed your music. What is it like having them compliment your music?
It’s pretty surreal! We admire them both a lot, so, for them to like our music is awesome!
Do you both share musical tastes? Who are the artists you look up to?
Remi also listens to more experimental stuff - but we like a lot of the same artists. We’re both big fans of Prince but also Frank Ocean, Little Dragon; BANKS - and we still love D’Angelo and Erykah Badu, by the way.
Amsterdam is where you are based. What is the city like for new music and are you ever tempted to relocate?
It’s a city where there is always something going on.
Right now, it’s Amsterdam Dance Event, for instance: five days of mini Dance festivals throughout Amsterdam. Really cool. The music scene is pretty small, though, so we know a lot of musicians. That’s fun. People are pretty open-minded and into new music here - but Amsterdammers can also be a tough crowd to new bands they don’t know yet - when you play here.
I wouldn’t wanna live in any other city in NL, but we are very into London; so it could be fun to live there for a while!
IN THIS PHOTO: Kelela
Which new artists do you recommend we check out?
What tour dates do you have coming up? Where can we catch you play?
Unfortunately, not in the U.K. yet, but we’re doing the after-show for Zara Larsson in Amsterdam on 31st October; we’re playing Rec. Festival (in Rotterdam) on 3rd November.
Is the U.K. going to be part of your future plans regarding gigs?
We have played in the U.K. two times - and we really liked it there - so we would love to come back!
If you each had to select the one album that means the most to you; which would they be and why?
Just one?! Oh man!
I’m gonna go with a pretty obscure one: Lewis Taylor – Lewis II
It’s the last album that I know by heart and it has inspired me so much, vocally and musically. He’s so underrated and I wish he would make some more albums like that again!
Remi: That’s a really hard one: Voodoo from D’Angelo
I never was really deep into R&B music but, after seeing his live show on his Voodoo tour, all music styles I listened to before came together and the energy was crazy. Then, I had to do my homework - and that was Voodoo.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
Don’t go with trends; they come and go. Find your own style and keep striving to be better.
Christmas is not too far away. Do you all have plans already or will you be busy working?
Most of the time, we work around Christmas. There’s something very melancholic and inspiring about the December days - so we tend to write more in that period.
We always take two days off with Christmas, though, to hang out with our families!
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Sisi: Kelela – Rewind
Remi: Moses Sumney – Lonely World
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