100 Gecs are one of the most exciting pop acts going around, but it wasn't always intended to be that way. Having released their debut album, 1000 Gecs, in May last year, it was without much expectation from the band - but come 2020, that's all changed. They've just dropped a remix of Ringtone featuring Rico Nasty, Charli XCX and Kero Kero Bonito, and the sheer curveball of it all is inspiring.
In recent months, the band has toured with BROCKHAMPTON, as well as played more headline shows - and the reception has been off the charts. The band told Vanity Fair that the tour, labelled the Secret Tour, has been their biggest yet. Laura Les, one half of the act, says, the shows were full of “huge energy, everyone is packed in and going hard. It’s sweaty and amazing".
Part of what made their debut album so exciting was the fact that it was so 'online'. Listening to 100 Gecs feels exactly like being plugged into the internet - there's an addictive quality to their music that is essentially capturing lightning in the bottle. Their songs are always a nanosecond from completely falling apart, but they never do - which means you're hooked in for the entire ride. 10 tracks, 23 minutes. It's music without restraint - and that's precisely why it's so exciting.
The band is playing Coachella in April this year, which, for a band that wrote the album via email, is a big step and a far cry from playing one of their first live shows as part of Minecraft's Fire Festival. Laura lives in Chicago, and Dylan Brady, the other half of the band, in Los Angeles, so they made the album through the internet. They would email song files back and forth, with Dylan focused on production and Laura taking care of most of the lyrics and melodies. What emerged from that process were personal tracks like Ringtone and xXXi_wud_nvrstøp_ÜXXx. Don't let the latter track's name fool you - it's every bit as emotive as any other song written in 2019.
Where most bands would be hindered by the distance, being apart helped 100 Gecs write their debut album. Speaking to MTV, Laura says, "I feel like I write a lot better when I'm by myself and I can spend the entire night not subjecting someone else to my bullshit. I just recorded in my room. The only people I had to subject to it was my roommates. I could do 1,000 takes of vocals. Dylan hates doing 1,000 takes of vocals."
1000 Gecs' biggest asset is the fact that it is both so ridiculous and so absurd - and yet, all aspects of the album hold up on their own. The album is like being on a crash course in music genre - it turns from rock into emo into ska into EDM into pop, and if you feel out of breath reading that sentence, that's exactly what listening to 100 Gecs is like. Is it a pleasant experience? Maybe not. Is it one that is utterly captivating? Absolutely.
Money Machine is the highlight of 1000 Gecs and it perfectly encapsulates what makes 100 Gecs almost unlike any other band in the world. It's a song that begins with an autotuned declaration from Laura calling an unknown person a "piss baby" and yet, it's as catch as any hook written for a blockbuster pop song this year. Her crunchy, distorted vocals might not be what you associate with pop, but there's no doubt this track is an earworm. This is the next step in the evolution in pop.
There's a scene from Back To The Future where Marty McFly says "guess you guys aren't ready for that yet, but your kids are gonna love it." That's exactly what this album feels like - except people are ready for it, they just didn't know they wanted it. 100 Gecs draw from music that has come before them - 3OH3!, Skrillex, Charli XCX and more - then put their music into a blender, then recorded the blender sounds and made it the hook of the track. You better believe it works, too.
2020 is set to be a huge year for 100 Gecs - we can't wait for their new album 1000 Gecs & The Tree Of Clues. Whatever happens, it's going to be one hell of a ride for all involved, and we can't wait to see what they bring to 2020. Spend the 23 minutes listening to 1000 Gecs first - before long, you'll be calling your friends piss babies, in the most affectionate way possible, of course.