Los Angeles-based dance-pop duo Cardiknox (Lonnie Angle and Thomas Dutton) is currently touring North America in anticipation of its full-length debut Portrait set for release on March 11. Having a whirlwind experience the last few years writing, shooting music videos, traveling, performing at numerous music festivals (including Lollapalooza and Sasquatch) and signing a major label contract with Warner Bros. Records, the duo spent months working on the new album with Grammy Award-winning producer John Shanks at Henson Recording Studios in Hollywood, California.
With all the studio work now complete, Angle and Dutton have no plans to slow down with another month of stateside touring, summer festivals on the horizon, and possibly some European shows afterwards. Angle was kind enough to update me on the tour and answer a few other questions via email.Showbox). It was totally electric. The tour has a slightly younger crowd than the shows with The Knocks, but normally by song three, we have people dancing and singing. It’s been amazing to play such big rooms and make new fans.
Tell me about how your partnership with JCrush, the Jewish dating app, came about. Do Jewish singles make up a big portion of your fan base?
JCrush reached out for a little interview, and we were happy to oblige! I’m Jewish, and while I wouldn’t really call myself religious, I’m proud of my heritage. Shalom! I have no idea what portion of our fan base is Jewish … good question!
[You] mentioned in a previous interview that working at a major label has meant a longer writing/recording/publishing process. Is there still any flexibility in the process or is everything fairly structured?
There’s endless flexibility in the writing and recording process. And in many ways, the opportunities are greater as we’re now working with a major producer who has an amazing studio and access to every dream instrument in the world. The one piece that really changed is release timelines for us. Releasing music happens in a more structured way, and while in the past we could write a song and put it on SoundCloud the next day, it now goes through all the major label channels before it’s released.
You’ve written and recorded in Seattle, New York City, and now Los Angeles. Is there any distinction in your music while living in these fairly unique environments?
NYC more than any other city influenced our music. It’s where we started getting serious about songwriting together, and the city itself played a big character in inspiring our songs/stories. L.A. was also the city where we recorded the entire album, so it set a stage for us in solidifying our sound and writing our first full-length record.
Where did you get the idea for the music video for “On My Way” (which was shot in one take)? And how did the shoot go?
We both have a great appreciation for long-form tracking shots in films and music videos and felt that it would serve the song’s video really well. We wanted it to feel raw and authentic, portraying someone moving through their life – dancing it out, not letting anything get in their way. That’s where the dance/performance element came in. We worked with our friend and Justin Timberlake dancer, Natalie Gilmore, for over a month creating the choreography. And the shoot itself was awesome. We were on set at 3 a.m., and started filming around 6 a.m. We got through 10 full takes and ended up using the ninth. It was like a dream come true getting to shoot the video with such a team of professionals that brought our vision to life.
[Your] background is in theater and directing. How have you been able to integrate those two things into your music and live performances?
My background in theatre definitely informs the way that I perform. I grew up on the stage and love being a performer. And then I studied directing, so got very familiar with the art and science behind crafting a strong stage story. I think that theatre informs our writing because I’m keen to tell my story through song, and it certainly informs my time on stage as I tend to the lean towards the dramatic.