When we consider some of the greatest musical acts of all time, duos have made a significant contribution. From the early likes of Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood, Simon & Garfunkel, Sam & Dave, history has proved that the smallest of acts are often the most profound. Enter Sydney duo Tees – a relatively new act to the music scene that utilizes just that amongst an amalgamation of harmonious electronica.
Sean Duarte and Lizzy Tillman are Tees – a duo out of Sydney making joyous acid house with a penchant for evoking 90s flashbacks and mellow euphoria.
Masters of creative control, Sean Duarte and Lizzy Tillman, aka the folk behind Tees, splashed into 2016 as recent names under revered Wollongong-based indie label Farmer and the Owl. The electronic duo came together with a bittersweet need for collaboration just over two years ago. Duarte had been experimenting with electronic music for a while and was still in search of the perfect voice to carry his automated sounds. Enter Tillman.
“Sean had the concept of tees and approached me if I wanted to be involved. We were very excited to work together as we both shared frustrations with writing music that was so defined by a specific genre. We both wanted to experiment and so it was the time for Tees.”
Prior to Tees, the pair’s experience with making music was varied. Duarte had been writing music under different pseudonyms for a while, while Tillman’s experience wasn’t as established varying between playing the keys in a band to a brief 6-month stint as a tambourine girl for The Walking Who.
Despite their humble beginnings, the pair’s platonic relationship has produced sounds of mythic dance proportions, having dropped a few scattered tracks over the past two years and played various shows across Sydney and the Central Coast. Tillman described her affiliation with the band:
“It’s really great writing with Sean, I mean to begin with I was invited onto his project, so he could have very well been quite rigid. My influence however has been welcomed if anything and Tees is very much our baby.”
Tees’ unique union meddles with electronic fused pop, comparative to 90s acid house, yet embodying a somewhat mellow quality reminiscent of past genius electronica seen in New Order and Moby. One can easily visualize their songs featuring in a Nicolas Winding film, though given the contextual backdrop of Tees electronica Ryan Gosling would be riding a magic carpet as opposed to driving a car with an enigmatic facade.
Tillman’s lush voice carries itself effortlessly to the backdrop of Duarte’s electronic keys in an all-encompassing cacophonic experience of pure intuition. Intuitively, one wants to do nothing but move with the same nonchalant stage presence that Tillman embodies when performing. Their recent single Spending Your Heart makes one want to embark on a voyage of both physical and metaphysical ecstasy. Advancing from their previous offerings, there prevails a deeper sense of elation that feels like you’re jumping on a transcendental wave of euphoric bliss. Duarte spoke about the muse behind the song: “I guess Spending Your Heart is about the struggle for balance in relationships. It is about the fine line that brings people together but also tears them apart.”
Other notable singles the band have released previously include Playground, Live It Up and Everyone; all in which feature characteristic beats amidst Tillman’s tantalizing oooos and aaaahs that could cut through glass.
We’re shaking in our boots to see what Tees has in store for 2016. When asked to liken the band to a dessert, Tillman said: “A Weis bar, cause they are never going out of fashion,” which is certainly not in the cards for the innovative duo anytime soon with a tour for Spending Your Heart circulating in the next months. The band also have plans to release a few more tracks and some physicals this year, and based on their previous drops, we know we can expect nothing but pure iridescent phenomena.