100 Gecs are the perfect band for 2020 - chaotic, exciting pop that's over before you know it, so you can consume it in bite-sized chunks. 1000 Gecs, the band's 2019 album, saw them go from an underground project to a name that was on the lips of every online music lover.
Dylan Brady and Laura Les, the two members of 100 Gecs, live in different states of America - but they still sound comfortable bouncing off each other, even over the phone. Dylan strums a guitar in the background of the call, while Laura talks about the band's success, and how while it appears to have been by accident, that's not exactly the case. "We were trying to make the most Spotify-compatible album that we could, and it seems to be working. We have a lot of people fooled."
Described as a whirlwind of genre, it's hard to pin down the sound of 1000 Gecs - unless you're in the band, because as Laura says, it's a ska album. "It's just all jazz standards. We just thought what would Jacob Collier would do?"
If you search 100 Gecs and Jacob Collier on Google (Jacob Collier, by the way, is an English multi-instrumentalist fusing elements of genres like jazz, electronic music and soul together), there's multiple instances of Dylan replying to him on Twitter. This unlikely inspiration sits at the heart of what makes 100 Gecs so special - they're not afraid to break the rules, because they don't consider them to be there.
When most bands have an album as successful as 1000 Gecs was, understandably the next project is a big one. For 100 Gecs, the next project and the direction that it should take was clear - a remix album. 100 Gecs And The Tree Of Clues features friends of the band, as well as fans that remixed songs from the album - and the duo liked them so much that they chose to include a couple of those remixes on the record. Laura says, "There's definitely some names that people would not have heard unless you're deep in searching SoundCloud. There are some remixes on it that are low-key producers that just like the album. We took a couple of those and asked them if we could use them on the remix album." It's a way to introduce people to producers the duo like that might not otherwise have ways of getting their music out to such a large audience - all part of giving back.
The idea of a remix album isn't one that everyone immediately thinks of when following up a successful project - even for a band as out there as 100 Gecs. They were surprised by the reception to the idea, too, as they thought they would only get "a couple of remixes" and get "a couple of friends" for the project. However, they were overwhelmed by the response, saying, "we had so many people that were willing to work with us, we thought that it would be it would be cool to do an entire project out of it."
The reaction to the album has been one that has given the band confidence that they're doing the right thing - not that they were going to let the reception of the music influence them. Laura says, "It's surprising so that people are reacting positively to the album, even though I think that it's getting to the point where we're a little more confident that people are buying into what we have to sell.
"I think that that's a liberating feeling because we feel like we can do more. We're doing the same things that we would be doing anyway. But we're much more confident in our decisions as far as, you know, people are going to listen to them."
She elaborated on this idea of affirmation, that there were risks they avoided taking on 1000 Gecs, but things now might just get a little bit weirder. "I don't think there were necessarily risks that we avoided because we were not that we were scared of the reception, but that I mean, that puts us in a great place because now, you know, we could continue to have that same concern."
The first taste of the remix album was a Ringtone remix, featuring Charli XCX, Kero Kero Bonito and Rico Nasty - and the reaction to the remix has been overwhelmingly positive. Charli features on the chorus, and all three show off their signature flare - with Dylan explaining how the track came together, and how they connected the three.
"We were thinking about who would be cool to get on songs. So we thought we'd go with Rico. She sent us the files before anyone else. We were trying to finish it off and get other features, and Charli recorded her part just before the mastering section. So it all came together perfectly."
Laura puts it succinctly, saying, "We just try to think of people whose energy lined up with the energy we were already working with on the songs."
Music as a whole continues to evolve, and 100 Gecs are happy doing their own thing - their success is seen as an affirmation by the band, rather than a reason to change their sound to be more palatable. "There's so many people making music and so many people are trying to make money off of it. They make a living, as are we. But I think that there is such a saturation of people that come into it with that mindset. They think they need to do something special that fits in with a lot of other things. And that was us as well. And we just did a really bad job of getting it."
100 Gecs are happy doing their own thing. It's working for them, and judging by their ever-growing fanbase, it's working for music lovers worldwide, too.