Interviews

Two Another on their most recent release ‘Back To Us’

Two Another band

Electro-pop duo Two Another have released their highly anticipated album Back To Us.

As the name suggests, Two Another’s most recent album show’s the duo’s incredible journey back to each other after life’s unpredictable turns can result in something spectacular.

Back To Us explores self-acceptance and letting go of expectations throughout 10 independently inspiring tracks.

Angus and Elliot came down to Happy headquarters to catch us up on life leading up to the album’s conception and what’s up next for the fabulously funky pair.

Back To Us Two Another

HAPPY: Okay, so sold-out show last night. Are you hungover?

TWO ANOTHER: Yeah.

HAPPY: Good. Are you enjoying the tour?

ANGUS: It is good. It’s been good. Good. What have we been doing? I think we’ve just been in rehearsals last week.

ELLIOT: We had to put a band together, like, kind of like last minute, so we only had a couple of days.

HAPPY: Oh, my God.

ANGUS: I mean, they only had 8 hours together.

HAPPY: Wow.

ANGUS: Which doesn’t feel like long enough, it was 8 hours in total. So it was pretty good for that. But it was a little rusty.

HAPPY: Haha yeah okay. Where did you find everyone for the band?

ANGUS: That was kind of what was nice about it. It was really like a kind of reunion because a lot of the guys that were playing last night kind of were on the records and have been kind of an integral part of the recording process.

HAPPY: Oh, that’s so cool.

ANGUS: So I used to work at a studio and met all these musicians that kind of ran the studio and were friends of them.

ELLIOT: And so we were still doing music together. Yeah, we’ll make a demo like, you know, we’re in London a lot of the times and he’s in Stockholm or in Amsterdam and Angus is constantly just throwing them tracks to play on. So yeah. They’re still part of it.

HAPPY: So cool.

ANGUS: I think it was nice for them as well because they are such part of the kind of project that it was nice for them to see people reacting to something that they’re part of.

HAPPY: Yeah, of course, getting to see the work that they’ve put into it and enjoy it.

ANGUS: It was really kind of really nice.

ELLIOT: Yeah, it was good.

HAPPY: That’s great. Well, I should also say congratulations on the album. Thank you. I think it’s so beautiful. Now, because we haven’t met before. I want to know a bit more about your roots together. How did you two meet initially?

ANGUS: Well, I guess, like Elliott’s brother and I were really close at school and, like, good family friends. But then there was a music program run by the band leaders at our school, and they taught us kind of music production. And that’s kind of how I started to kind of hear about Elliot because he was making kind of demos by yourself. And then I was like working with some other artists, and then we kind of just started kind of hanging out.

ELLIOT: Yeah, we’re just hanging out and making music.

ANGUS: And smoking weed.

ELLIOT: We were not even thinking, I mean, we were trying to get a release together, but it took so long to, like, get our act together.

HAPPY: Yeah, weed will do that.

ELLIOT: That was the weed and the beach. We would be 2 hours into a writing session or just hanging out, making music, and we’d be like, ‘Oh, the sun’s out, let’s just go to the beach’. So Sydney was like not conducive for us music. In that respect, it was too tempting to…

ANGUS: It kind of like shaped the sound I think, because a lot of that first EP we released we actually made in Sydney, but we could never finish anything, and it took kind of moving away and maybe kind of throwing ourselves a little bit like in the deep end to be like, ‘Okay, we need to actually start putting music out’. Because you can keep writing and making music, but if you don’t put it out into the world, it’s not really like… it doesn’t really exist.

HAPPY: Oh, gosh, of course. Do you think that going over to Europe, like the nightlife there, influenced both of you a fair bit? 

ELLIOT: It was honestly, this might sound kind of lame to say, but I think it was just London. Like the energy. People move there to do something, to work on something, to be a part of kind of that community. And it’s just a very creative kind of big creative community in London. And yeah, it just kind of forced us, as I said, just forced us to kind of like do something with the music we were making.

ANGUS: We didn’t actually go out like we’re not like the biggest kind of club or partiers.

ELLIOT: I mean I went out a fair bit.

ANGUS: And the music probably speaks to that is mid-tempo. But I think like El said because I don’t know, I remember when I was moving, I had friends who were like ‘You’re going to be back within a year’. And so you kind of have a little bit to prove because you don’t want to come back like kind of empty-handed in a way. And then also there are just so many different scenes and kind of so many people moving there to do music that you kind of like just feed off that energy.

And it’s also just shit weather and generally like a bit grim there, so it makes it easy to stay inside the studio.

ELLIOT: It was definitely, you know, the electronic soul thing happening in London when we started releasing music. Yeah, it was like very serendipitous almost like…

ANGUS: It was good timing.

ELLIOT: We were putting out, we were kind of making this kind of vibey, like soul kind of stuff in the beginning. And so there was a scene for it.

HAPPY: Yeah, definitely. Yeah. I mean, the vibe is quite different on the new album Back To Us. Like it’s…

ANGUS: Is it? Tell me.

HAPPY: I think the earliest stuff, it still has the tempo there and it is still like you said, it’s soulful and it’s really beautiful. But this, especially the first half of the album, it feels just very happy, very chipper. It really makes me feel nice. I read…

ANGUS: And the second half is shit. It was hard to kind of sequence, to be honest. I haven’t actually listened to it from start to end since it’s been released. Yeah, it was like… I feel… initially the concept with the album was… Before like before we released Two Sides, which was the project before, we had kind of these two different sounds and that was the initial concept for the album. But then we ended up releasing Two Sides and it was kind of just one of those sounds, which was a bit maybe dark and a little bit kind of grittier. And then the first half of that album that we released kind of as an extension of that. But it was happier, I felt.

So it was like the same kind of sonics as Another Night and stuff like that, but happier songs and a bit more tempo and a bit more lively. And then the back half, the kind of five tracks at the end, that’s a bit more like electronic and a little bit more like maybe classic.

HAPPY: Yeah, totally.

 

 

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ANGUS: But I don’t know, I’m too close to it. What’s your favourite?

HAPPY: What’s my favourite? Oh God, I loved Some Day, Without You, and I love… The one with the video like The Only… Sorry…

TWO ANOTHER: One I Need.

HAPPY: One I Need. Thank you. I keep calling it Only One I Need. I think watching the video and listening to the track as a whole experience is my favourite. But otherwise, Without You.

ANGUS: Yeah, Harry killed the video. He did a really good job.

HAPPY: It’s so cool.

ANGUS: So he’s actually Australian.

ELLIOT: That should have been the single. We’ve heard that a few times.

ANGUS: Yeah, well, it’s going to be. We’re going to repackage it. With a rapper on it.

HAPPY: OoOo! Do you have any idea who? Can you say?

ELLIOT: Publicly? I mean, I sent it to him and he seems keen, but I don’t know if, you know, a guy called Abhi the Nomad. He’s this guy in America.

ANGUS: But if you got any suggestions, there’s a very high chance he won’t do it.

ELLIOT: You always know with those things, it probably won’t…

ANGUS: Yeah it probably won’t happen. I mean, we are sometimes on the other end of that where people send us stuff and we’re like, ‘Yeah, we’ll 100% do it’. And then you forget. And you’re like, ‘Yeah, sorry, that was two years ago’.

HAPPY: Totally get that. So back to the album as a whole. I read that it was about self-love and I did find it really interesting that listening to it, it made me feel loved.

ANGUS: That’s nice.

HAPPY:  I want to know, what was going on in your lives while writing it? Did someone start doing therapy? What was going on that made you kind of have so much reflection in the writing?

ELLIOT: Yeah, we did. You know, I started doing therapy. I’ve kind of had a little bit of like a… I don’t want to say a mental health crisis, but it kind of was it was the first-ever, with lots of things bubbling up for me personally. And it came to a head. And that was the first time I went to therapy, you know, started sorting out a lot of issues that I had with myself and lots of self-worth problems.

And then yeah, just I guess channelled that into… it was all about learning the kind of emotional language of like how to rationalise, you know, dark kind of thoughts, I think, which really kind of helped. And then channelling that into the conversations that we would have and kind of that went into the lyrics and yeah, kind of grew from there. So yeah.

ANGUS: I think again on the kind of the project before, Two Sides, it was very much like in the way Elliot was kind of writing that when he was in this bad place. And then I think this album is more about getting out of that and getting to the other side.

HAPPY: That’s really cool.

ANGUS: And kind of coming back together and really just enjoying each other’s company and enjoying music again and actually just getting back to the feeling we had when we first started making music and not having this kind of, I don’t know… just I guess obviously when people are going through stuff, it’s hard to kind of help when, you know, you can only do so much. And so it created like some separation for us. But then when we both start to kind of work on, you know, just our own kind of stuff, then you can kind of come back together and really be back in a good place.

ELLIOT: We were just so connected, which obviously making music together and like best friends and yeah, and it’s just like life just kind of happened and it took having a little bit of a break. It was a bit of a worry. At some point we weren’t sure whether we had the motivation to continue the project, which was just… that was just too scary of a thought.

ANGUS: Well the music was doing well. If it was going bad…

ELLIOT: And we had all these demos and we wanted to… We just wanted to keep…

ANGUS: Whenever we’d meet up and make music, we always would enjoy it. And it was always sounding like we always felt like the music was getting better in a way, and not getting worse. So it was kind of, ‘Why would we kind of give up on this?’ I think also we were just going through different stuff. I was having my first child and stuff like that, so  I was super anxious because we didn’t really know what was going on with Elliot and with Two Another. And then I was like, you know, having a kid. So I was completely thrown in the deep end over there. And so we kind of like had to just sort out our own and then regroup, which I’m glad we did.

HAPPY: Yeah, me too.

ELLIOT: And that’s how the album came.

HAPPY: I’m very glad. I mean, it sounds like you guys have nurtured your relationship in quite an emotionally intelligent way.

ANGUS: I mean, it’s the longest relationship we’ve had. We’ve been going for, like ten years now. Like five or six years releasing music but before that, we’ve been making music for like five years before that. So it is a long time to be with someone in that way.

HAPPY: Yeah. Wow, it’s commendable. I did a little bit of Instagram stalking and I saw your private profile, Angus and I saw that you had a little baby emoji in your bio.

ANGUS: That’s as public as I get.

HAPPY: I was like, ‘Oh my god, does he have a baby?’ How recent was this?

ANGUS: I have two now.

HAPPY: Two now? My goodness.

ANGUS: Two babies. Yeah, I’ve got Sienna, who is Elliot’s goddaughter, and she’s like three and a half and she’s just a crack up. She’s a real hoot. She is probably going to be some kind of performer.

ELLIOT: She has to be. She’s gotta channel that energy.

ANGUS: She came to soundcheck the other day. She literally was just eating gummy bears, just sitting on the chair and just having the best time of her life. And then I have Oscar who was born, like four months ago.

HAPPY: Oh, my God.

ANGUS: So my girlfriend’s not very happy that I’m here.

HAPPY: Haha! Yeah, I bet. But it’s going well overall?

 

 

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ANGUS: It’s been good. I mean, it’s hard. Yeah. Especially with music. Yeah. It’s not the easiest kind of jobs to… and the pandemic also because the shows just never… you book all these things have to find babysitters and then it all gets cancelled so it’s… but it’s, you know…

HAPPY: It’s a journey.

ANGUS: Yeah, it is a journey.

HAPPY: Yeah. It’s good inspiration. So back to the music. Elliot, do you write all the lyrics?

ELLIOT: Pretty much, yeah. Yeah. We’ve worked with… we have another like Australian friend who lives in London, who lived in London, and we wrote some songs together, all together, like we wrote Some Day together. But yeah, mostly, yeah.

HAPPY: Awesome. I also just wanted to compliment you and double-check because I had a look at the credits on the song Without You, was that all you vocally?

ELLIOT: Singing it? Yeah.

HAPPY: Yeah. Hot damn. The falsetto is just out of this world.

ELLIOT: It puts me in a tough position for live.

HAPPY: I bet.

ELLIOT: Yeah. I’ve got to stop using so much falsetto because of live.

ANGUS: The new stuff we’re working on it is deeper, right? Probably for that reason.

HAPPY: I mean, Without You is so beautiful, though, because you are, you’re going so high up there, but then you’ve got these deeper notes and the timbre is just so rich and *chef’s kiss*.

ELLIOT: Oh, wow, thank you.

HAPPY: I don’t know how well that will transcribe. I’ll put a little chef’s kiss or something. I saw you posted a photo of your live set-up and you’ve got a million different things going on, interfaces and a beats pads and, you know, so many keyboards. Angus, what would you say is your most integral piece of equipment for your live set-up?

ANGUS: Elliot. Probably Elliot. I’m going to stick with that, I mean, I think, yeah, for me, if it’s one piece of a… I mean, it’s probably obviously the laptop because that’s where the backing track is. I mean, I think people are there to hear someone sing the songs. And I think sometimes when you listen to music on Spotify and there are like so many kinds of plugins and autotune, people don’t kind of know how well people can sing the songs, but I think Elliot sings the songs really well live. And I think for me that’s like the one thing that I take away from it. I think making a connection with the person who’s actually singing the songs is really important. And often sometimes we need to go to gigs and they can’t sing them. It’s a bit disappointing.

ELLIOT: The answer is the micro chord. He’s a weapon on the micro chord.

ANGUS: That might be the most staple piece, but I’m still going with Elliot.

HAPPY: It’s a good answer. I love the artwork for the album as well.

ANGUS: Oh, cool.

HAPPY: Very cool. So it’s like a bunch of photos of you two. How did you get that shot? Was there a green screen involved? I like to think that the photographer was lying on a trampoline and you guys were just jumping on them.

ANGUS: That was the initial plan.

HAPPY: Haha, really?

ANGUS: So initially we had like a guy kind of helping us with the creative and it looked really cool, but it just felt like it maybe just didn’t match the kind of positive, happy kind of feeling we wanted with the album. We wanted something quite free, and so we just had this idea of kind of jumping and just like lots of kind of characters of us. And we ended up… we were supposed to shoot it in London and then London being grey and miserable, it was a terrible day.

So that shoot got cancelled. And then we ended up doing it in Sweden very last minute with a friend of my girlfriend’s, and we literally just went on the top of this kind of mountain kind of cliff, and he was like lying underneath a rock and we were jumping off a rock, but it was like a perfect day. And I think he got a really sore back.

HAPPY: Yeah, I bet. It still sounds kind of dangerous.

ANGUS: I was like, ‘One more photo, one more photo’, and he was like, ‘I’m done’. But I was really happy with how it turned out because it did feel like it for me represented that kind of, like, positive kind of vibe.

HAPPY: Totally. So it’s a great feeling. I think overall you’ve nailed having the multimedia aspects really capture what the album sounds like. In the music video, you’ve got two extra people in the video dancing and grooving. I love the whole narrative of it. It’s very relatable, just singing out loud in an elevator. Who were these folks? Were they friends of yours?

ELLIOT: They’re just from a talent agency?

HAPPY: Awesome.

ELLIOT: It was good casting.

HAPPY: Great casting.

ELLIOT: They sent us just these videos of people just grooving to the songs, and we just chose them. Yeah, they were really good. Yeah, they were good energy.

HAPPY: Oh, that’s so great.

ANGUS: Yeah, if it was just us dancing, it would definitely be less interesting. But Harry Deadman, the director, he’s actually an Australian guy and we’d always loved his videos and he kind of came up with the whole concept and he really did it on like literally no budget. And I thought it came out really well.

ELLIOT: Yeah, it was an Australian production. The VFX guy was Aussie, and the director was…

HAPPY: Where was it shot?

ELLIOT: In London.

HAPPY: Damn. Very cool.

ANGUS: Yeah, it was kind of like our first proper music video. We’ve done other kinds of video things, but that was like the first official clip, so I’m pretty happy for that one to be the first one.

HAPPY: Of course! You should be very proud.

ANGUS: Greenscreen is not the easiest thing to film.

HAPPY: No? Is it because you can’t wear green?

ANGUS: Haha you did wear green actually. 

ELLIOT: Yeah. Nah, it’s just hard to kind of picture what’s going on. You’re like, ‘What’s going?’

HAPPY: Of course.

ANGUS: Yeah. When they send you the first edit, it’s literally just greenscreen. You have to imagine… you have to choose all the kinds of cuts with no kind of VFX there. It looks really weird. It’s quite cringe to watch yourself in that situation.

HAPPY: I can imagine. Oh my goodness. We honestly probably have to wrap up, but what are you going to get up to for the rest of your time in Sydney and Australia?

ANGUS: We’re working on our next album like next week.

ELLIOT: We actually don’t get to like make music together as much as we probably would like these days, living in separate cities and stuff like that. And so yeah, we’re going to do a full week of writing which we love and I’m really looking forward to it.

ANGUS: It’s going to be good. We don’t get to meet up very often, but we do actually make a lot of music. So now it’s going to be hard to kind of focus and figure out how to get 30 songs down to 15. But it’s… the next album is, I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s going to hopefully be like a different direction in a way, and it’s kind of a bit more like, I don’t know, conceptual and we’ve got someone helping kind of on lyrics with El and it’s… yeah, I’m excited about it. It’s kind of slightly different production-wise as well.

ELLIOT: Yeah, it’s really changing the kind of the process, we’re going to pretty much produce all of it ourselves. And yeah, I don’t know, there’s not much else to say about it yet. It’s still very early days.

HAPPY: Yeah, well, look, I’m excited. I say put all 30 tracks on there. That sounds great.

ANGUS: I say that as well!

LABEL MANAGER: How many vinyls would that be? Like 8?

ANGUS: The label doesn’t like it. They’re like ‘Let’s just do two albums’.

HAPPY: Yeah, that is smarter. Awesome. Let’s wrap it up there, then.

TWO ANOTHER: Yeah, that’s great.

HAPPY: Thank you so much.

 

Back To Us is out now.

Photos provided.

Interviewed by Chloe Maddren.