Technology + Teamwork, duo comprised of Sarah Jones (Harry Styles, Hot Chip) and Anthony Silvester, share their new single "Big Blue".
Technology + Teamwork, the duo comprising Sarah Jones and Anthony Silvester, recently announced details of We Used To Be Friends; their long-awaited debut album, set to be released 17th March 2023 on Good Way Records.
The pair looked to San Francisco and the West Coast synthesis movement of the 60s for influence, with Silvester inspired by the likes of Suzanne Ciani and Don Buchla. But the album bristles with hyperpop modernity, which you can hear in the manipulated vocals and disco strut of new single "Big Blue".
"I wrote a beat about my favourite jumper"
says Sarah Jones
"Often with our stuff, our voices are put through effects and people are never sure whose singing what, which I really like,"
expands Anthony Silvester.
"A lot of "Big Blue" was us resampling ourselves. We also worked with our friend Charlie (March), who helped us structure it into a song, and then when we mixed it with our friend Aaron (Cupples), we resampled other parts and built it up like that some more.
Sarah was really keen on developing a break in it, and we used delays on one of our sampled bits to make sounds like alligators croaking for the break.
"For the chorus I wanted to sound a bit like "Warm Leatherette" by Daniel Miller, and have this very stern quality in the voice."
Anthony Silvester and Sarah Jones first collaborated as part of biting post-punk five-piece XX Teens in 2008, eventually breaking off to forge their own path together even as the latter’s demand as a drummer grew. Performing with everyone from Hot Chip, Harry Styles and Bloc Party (among many others), Jones has been a constant percussive presence across the sphere of alternative UK pop music – she’s also found time for her own solo project Pillow Person and played on records by the likes of Puscifer and Kurt Vile.
Silvester meanwhile has performed in art galleries across Europe including: Fridericianum in Kassel, Kölnischer Kunstverein in Cologne, and Vleeshal in Middelburg, as well as providing sound design and composing work for several art films.
Technology + Teamwork is the constant throughout all of that though.
“Technology + Teamwork's name perfectly describes how we work, Sometimes the teamwork is between each other and sometimes it’s between us and the technology.”
The album bristles with hyperpop modernity. However, the pair also looked to San Francisco and the West Coast synthesis movement of the 60s, Silvester inspired by the likes of Suzanne Ciani and Don Buchla.
“The ‘Buchlian’ ideas of music having randomness and uncertainty, completely freed us up, It felt a bit like having more members in the band, machines that didn't do what you expected or intended.”
Perhaps more subtly, is the influence of 17th and 18th century Baroque music, with Silvester drawing a line between it and the 90’s R’n’B that he and Jones both love – exemplified perhaps best on "K+B"’s percussive claps and sultry grooves. The title track, meanwhile, alludes specifically to Handel’s "Sarabande". It’s typical of an album that only needs a scratch of its seemingly glossy surface to unearth a myriad of contorted touchstones and reference points that’ve fermented beneath it.
Thematically there’s an anxious sense to the record, with tracks often balancing above a quiet sense of unerring tension even at their most bombastic. Those clouds offer a counter point to We Used To Be Friends, but then isn’t that what great pop albums do? Technology + Teamwork undoubtedly love the craft of the hook and the song, but they always position themselves left of centre, prepared to scuff things up, pull something out of shape or manipulate something to leave it sounding warped. Much like their friendship, nothing here is particularly linear – and it’s all the better for it.
We Used To Be Friends is set to be released 17th March 2023 on Good Way Records