>> The synth-pop duo Bogan Via create hypnotizing and captivating tunes that everyone should be talking about in the New Year. Check out their guest blog post to read about Bogan Via’s writing process on their latest release ‘Tough to Kill,’ and receive a track-by-track breakdown of this unforgettable album.
Describe the greatest challenges and most gratifying victories that you faced in the process of writing and recording the album.
We worked with our dear friend, and extraordinarily talented Producer, Le Tronz for this album. We were in different states so we went back and forth countless times, through emails, phone calls, Skype chats to ultimately come to the final mixes for every song. It was very challenging at times and took a lot of effort on both parts. But the end product was so beautiful and knowing it was a true collaboration with someone we so deeply admire as an artist was very special to us. We also dabbled in a lot more hip hop for ‘Tough to Kill’. We had so much fun melding genres but were nervous if people would receive it well. So far, they have and we couldn’t be more proud. It felt like an honest discovery for us, a natural progression, and it's exciting that the reaction has been this positive.
Describe the overall sound of the album and the emotions that you hope it evokes for those who listen to ‘Tough to Kill’.
‘Tough to Kill’ is all about the grit and chaos of living in Los Angeles. We recorded everything in our home studio in Hollywood over the course of a couple of years. During those years, we struggled a lot. There were high times of course, but A LOT of gut-wrenching downs. The city really kicked the shit out of us. The tracks speak to our experiences in those struggles: financially, mentally, physically..but the hurdles have thickened our skin and made us stronger as survivors. I would say ‘Tough to Kill’ is a true melancholic, dark, electro-pop album. There is some experimentation with hip-hop along with heavy synths and male/female vocals. We incorporated some new pedals in this album so we played a lot with vocal octaves and the power that can create.
Track-by-Track Breakdown of Bogan Via’s ‘Tough to Kill’
Chillin' - ‘Chillin'’ was a true collaboration between Maddie and I. It was so fun to make because she was a huge part of its conception. It's really a song about mental health; dealing with the darkness of depression, the "bitch" that keeps dictating your worth. It is about trying to overcome that, trying to silence that deafening voice or to find power in that breakdown. We love how simple it is in its beat; the vocals kinda take on a personality to elevate the song as a whole.
Rewind - ‘Rewind’ is a mixture of hip-hop and grunge electronic. Warm synths with interesting vocal hooks. Pulsating bass drives the song and it feels like you may never catch up. We think it’s a bop!
Tough to Kill - ‘Tough to Kill’ is our favorite song on the LP. The song represents sort of a lawless mentality of being immortal despite the fact that life keeps knocking you down. There is a bleakness in the instrumentation to ‘Tough to Kill’ that we love. We were watching a lot of Ozark when we wrote it, haha.
I Want U, I Want U Too - ‘I Want U, I Want U Too’ is probably one of the sweeter songs on the album. It’s rap from the suburbs, in the style of Beck mixed with lots of lush synths. Voices on top of voices that don’t stop; definitely 80s inspired. It’s like buttercream high school pop.
Videos - ‘Videos’ came about after listening to a lot of The Weeknd. I was really taken aback at how he put his melodies together and how the rhythm of the melody worked so well with the beat of the song to become this bigger thing. I had been in the habit of doing much bigger productions on songs and was internally struggling to do the opposite. It's kind of a nod to a lot of pop songs out there now, poking a bit of fun at the desire for wealth and fame in excess. Just how unnecessary it all becomes, and how it can spiral so quickly.
Funky Intro to Love - ‘Funky Intro to Love’ is a love story told in a psychedelic Mac DeMarco kinda way. I had written the intro a while back and liked it so much that I was afraid to write the rest and not have it live up to the beginning. Eventually, I found the story I wanted to tell and it all came together.
Come Down - We love ‘Come Down’ because it starts off slow, almost hypnotic, then it just erupts into this epic dance song! There is a cheeky sexuality to this track in the lyrics and way the instruments build!
VVorth - ‘VVorth’ went through multiple rewrites because we couldn't quite land on the chorus. We were listening to a lot of Banks at the time and finally found our groove after experimenting with some vocal modulation pedals. The song is all about women being constantly dismissed by society. It is a song about giving men endless chances to show their morality and being time and time again disappointed.
Emotion - ‘Emotion’ is actually our own remix of another song we created last year. We loved the original so much but felt it need to be elevated. So we added some unusual instrumentation and chopped up the vocals and this track was born! We love the uniqueness of the saxophone solo, it almost feels wrong in a way but it just works!
Love I Bleed - ‘Love I Bleed’ is the lushest song on our LP and one of our favorites! The production on this track is just spectacular! It has so many layers, we never get sick of listening to it because we discover new colors every time. It’s an emo electro trip hop. Bon Iver on quaaludes; we love how melodic and melancholic it is. It's a song about a relationship gone sour. It speaks on the pain of that time wasted on someone undeserving of your kindness. But by the end of the song, you realize, forgiveness is the only clean way out for both parties. Letting go is the only way to save yourself sometimes. <<