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Interview With Café Fear - Jackie Cohen and Jonathan Rado (Foxygen, Weyes Blood, The Killers)

Jackie Cohen and Jonathan Rado are quite the husband and wife team. The two have collaborated on a new project dubbed Café Fear.

Jackie's 2019 album, Zagg, I had on repeat - loaded with fun tunes to dance the night away - and Jonathan is one half of indie-rock duo Foxygen, and has produced for numerous artists including The Lemon Twigs, Tim Heidecker, Weyes Blood, The Killers and more. I had the pleasure of asking them a few quick Qs down below.

Synth History: What is the process like collaborating with each other?

Café Fear: We’ve been making music together for a really long time so it’s morphed a lot over the years. We listen to a lot of music together and talk constantly about what we think makes music special. Early on, we had really different skill sets and we’d each bring really specific items to a project. We learned a lot from each other by giving each other ample space to specialize and grow. There’s a lot of mutual respect. Over time we naturally developed a shared vocabulary that makes Café Fear truly fluid and collaborative.

Synth History: What is your current favorite piece of gear and why?

Rado: Lately I’ve been really enjoying the Elektron brand & all of their different synths & drum machines.

Jackie: I like this baby toy called Blipblox. It’s a toy synthesizer for babies.

Synth History: What are some films you draw inspiration from?

Café Fear: Cape Fear, Eternal Sunshine, Vanilla Sky, The Shining

Synth History: Analog synths, digital synths, or both?

Café Fear: Our new single “Carousel” features a multitude of analog synths but our upcoming unannounced single was created using only one digital synth workstation.

Synth History: If you could pick anywhere in the world to play a show, where would it be?

Café Fear: Japan

Synth History: What's the best way to approach writing a new song?

Café Fear: We do our best work when we’re just messing around late at night and stumble by chance upon something that feels exciting. Rado makes bleep bloops. Jackie dances around and says "oh hell yea, baby, oh hell yea" when we locate a hook. We will sit down and workshop ideas once a song requires focused attention, but after hours spousal jamming is a highly rewarding place to begin.

References: Synth History Exclusive, photos first two: Mary Ludwig, last photo: Rias Reed


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