Kiks and Amber Clara, are a London based electro-pop duo better known as July Child. Drawn together by their 80s and 90s urban influences, along with sharing the exact same birthday, their musical collaboration was seen to be inevitable.
We took some time out to interview the pair and we were kindly offered the exclusive listen to their newest single ‘Be Real’. Throwing together lyrical confidence of Dua Lipa with clear production qualities of Clean Bandit, the single may just be the perfect summer single and its release is clearly just in time too.
We’re Amber (vocalist) and Kiks (producer). We’ve been playing as July Child for around three years now. Our sound started off being a lot more folky, with an emphasis on acoustic sounds. Over the last year or two, our influences have grown so much that a lot of the material we’re planning to release this summer is stuff that we never thought we could write or make.
What brought you two to start writing music together?
Amber: We met in music clubs at school and Kiks had a band he needed a singer for – so I stepped in. We’ve been friends ever since and worked on several projects through our teens. After going to separate universities, we started taking our music a bit more seriously and that’s when July Child was born
Kiks: We played around with so many different styles when we were younger, mainly focused around rock and indie, playing with four or five other band members. Once the two of us got in the studio regularly and brought our influences together, we naturally ended up with a collaborative sound focused on our joint love of House, RnB and Ambient music.
We love your new single ‘Be Real’. Can you tell us more about how the song came about?
A: The song came about surprisingly easy to us. We were working on a beat for a different song and stumbled on the pre-chorus melody for Be Real. We ditched the other song and finished the rest of Be Real in about 30 minutes. It was probably the most natural writing session we’ve ever had together. We both knew what we wanted to say with it, and it’s a bit of a twist on normal ‘love’ songs
K: I was playing around with different synth sounds and suddenly founs this preset – what, with a bit of tweaking, ended up being the bouncing lead synth you hear in the intro. It was a strange and slightly annoying sound, but we knew it was different and interesting enough. That same synth sound is actually present through every second of the song
You’ve been writing for other projects in LA, how is the experience writing with new people? Has it impacted on your writing together?
A: I think anytime we do anything separately, it helps us more when we get back together – you get your own experiences and you can draw from them and make something even better for July Child
K: We took part in several structured writing sessions in LA, working with four or five experienced writers in one room. Learning from the speed and precision of some of their writing, it definitely brought a sense of structure and efficiency to our sessions. Something like Be Real would have taken us months to write in the past.
You’ve played a second headline slot at Ultra Korea 2016, playing alongside Chase & Status and Martin Garrix. What was this experience like?
A: It was amazing – we’d never played a big festival like that before, and being half way across the world! I was so nervous having never experienced the size of stage and crowd but as soon as we walked on it just felt natural and we had the best time. It still seems a bit surreal.
K: There were two overwhelming moments in particular. Ten minutes before taking the stage, the sound guys suddenly told us that our laptop wasn’t making any sound and they’ve tried everything. We looked over and saw about twenty sound technicians running around the stage frantically. Thankfully with minutes to go, one of the guys realised the volume knob on our sound card turns the other way round! The other came actually after the set, when one of our friends sent us a few pictures captured from the live stream. Loads of people were holding banners and flashing messages on their iPads with our names on. It’s still unreal to think that they know all the words to our songs on the other side of the world.
Artists you would like to collaborate with?
A: I’m really into Frank Ocean and Sampha, I love their chilled sound, and the amazing lyrics and melodies they come up with
K: I second Frank! I love how each of his songs has an unusual structure. It’s such a departure from the verse-chorus-verse-chorus you hear on the radio. It takes a really talented writer to open their new album with a song like Nikes. It took me a dozen listens to figure out what was going on
What’s the plan for the rest of the year? Are you looking to release more music or play shows?
A: We have a lot of music that we are sitting on. And we keep writing new songs that we love and want to get out so yes lots more music to come! We would absolutely love to play some more shows in the UK and worldwide this year so we’re looking to do that a lot off the back of our new release
K: It’s annoying that you can’t finish a song and release it that day. 2017 has been a test of our patience so we’re so excited to get the ball rolling with Be Real!
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