Feature: The Ingredients of Red Light with 0171

Tuesday, July 2, 2019
Photo by Daniel Alexander Harris

Late in May, Hackney-based duo 0171 unveiled the final piece of their EP Red Light — the title-track joined their previous singles 'SMTHN RL' and '1000 Words'. Spanning three mesmerising songs, the release is an exploration of intimacy and human connection. 0171 share the story behind Red Light and how the EP came together.

The camera
In different ways, all the songs on the EP were influenced by the camera, and our increasing reliance on it to record and store memories of our lives. The name ‘1000 Words’ comes from the phrase ‘a picture paints a thousand words’. We wanted to write lyrics that reflected the way you remember complex relationships as fragmented images. 'SMTHN RL' is about a yearning for a perfect authentic experience, the kind that you might look like you’re having through a camera. “Hold me still, like a photo”. 'Red Light' is about a couple who feel that their love is the realest and most intense when they see it through a lens.

Recycling our older music
We spent a period of time quickly writing a few ideas a week some of which may never see the light of day, but we like to trawl through our earliest music (even stuff we recorded as teenagers before we knew each other) to sample fragments from them. Piano chords, fragments of vocals, badly recorded drums, we like the idea that these musical ghosts live on in the music that we do actually release.

We love to sing about nostalgia and the feeling of past experiences you vaguely remember and will never get back. Joe became obsessed with Knausgaard’s series of books about his own life, ‘My Struggle’, which capture this feeling perfectly. They’ve influenced the emotion we try to create in our music quite a lot.

Weird one, but the first collection of recorded songs we ever put together (unreleased) we called ‘Close’. We love that word, the way, depending on how it’s pronounced, it means almost opposite things. We feel like a lot of our music is about this contrast between wanting intimacy but feeling closed or distant.

Songs like ‘You’re Not Alone’ by Olive
Difficult to pick one, but over the past year or two we’ve got so into the slightly trashy, emotional, trancey music that we used to hear playing on the radio when we were really young. ‘You’re Not Alone’ is Georgie’s favourite. We wanted some of the synth sounds in our music to have that retro, slightly over the top quality, especially in 'Red Light'.

Listen to Red Light by 0171 below:

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