Music Spotlight: Aurora Vice
Dark-pop duo Aurora Vice, composed of vocalist + rapper Arpineh and producer + vocalist Henri Martel tease their upcoming EP Melancholy with their two recent tracks Fade + Dimes. Both otherworldly jams invade our ears with vibes of classic Los Angeles summer nights + take on a darker, chiller sound than their previous EP Manic. The hip hop-influenced duo will be taking the stage at The Friend Bar on Monday, June 24. We chatted with Arpineh + Henri all about their latest releases + the new direction of their sound.
Asymmetric Magazine: Congrats on your recent releases! Can you tell us about Fade and Dimes?
Arpineh: Fade was something Henri wrote, and we both really vibed with it. It reminds me of the LA nightlife—especially during the summer—and how you never want it to end. Dimes is like a moment during one of these summer nights where you’re conflicted in being good but also being a damn tease—that’s how you know I wrote that one!
Henri Martel: Fade is that feeling we all chase when everything is just perfect. A feeling where we feel at our best, and in the case of this song, it’s holding on to that good feeling despite being surrounded by both negative and positive forces. Dimes [is about] the temptation that comes out of that good feeling—that feeling of invincibility—where we can give into our faults without fear. Ultimately, Fade and Dimes represent the decline into Melancholy, which is our upcoming EP, the part II to our earlier EP Manic.
AM: Do you have favorite lyrics from either song?
A + HM: Our favorite lyric from Fade would be ‘cherry lips take you higher’ and for Dimes it would be ‘another 1942 still won’t get me off your mind’.
// listen to Fade:
AM: How do you think these two singles compare to your previous work?
A: These two songs are off our second EP, and I would say they are definitely more laid back than our previous songs. I feel like this is our sound and where we excel more.
HM: Compared to our previous works, these are darker and more laid back. This was a conscious decision, as we planned for our EP Manic to be high energy and for Melancholy, which is part II, to be a slow decline into something darker and more atmospheric.
AM: For first time listeners, how do you like to describe your sound?
A: I’ll let Henri answer this one.
HM: I always say it’s a cross between Britney Spears and gangster rap. The reason being is that there are clear pop top lines and influences, but the personality and production has more grit and is menacing. It’s always a juxtaposition of light and dark—of traditionally opposite vibes or ideas coming together. Sonically, I’d say it’s a marriage of shimmering vocals overlaid on atmospheric progression with deep low ends and hip hop grooves.
AM: Are there any consistent themes you typically pursue through your music?
A: I think one consistent theme in our music is to be relatable and blunt. I, for one, don’t sugarcoat shit, and I think I can say the same for Henri, so that’s something we definitely want to show in our music. But also, we aren’t always tough and sassy. It’s important to show vulnerability. No one is ever alone; we got you!
HM: For me personally, love, heartbreak, anxiety, alienation, self doubt, sex and lust can be found sprinkled throughout a lot of my lyrics, whether it’s blatant or otherwise. I like to explore the parts of us that torment us the most. That way, someone listening can find comfort that their pain isn't the universe punishing only them—we’re all in the same boat.
someone listening can find comfort that their pain isn't the universe punishing only them—we’re all in the same boat.
AM: What other musicians are you currently listening to?
A: I’m currently obsessed with Ariana Grande. The girl is on a cotton candy cloud that is blazing on fire—that’s how I feel about her. I’m also really into Lizzo. Her confidence is out of this world and so inspiring. I love everything about her and her music! Truth Hurts is my JAM.
HM: Currently in no particular order: Saint Jhn, Black Atlass, Elohim, Wavy jone$ (even though he found God and stopped making music), Rosalia, Mickey Blue, and Chase Atlantic.
AM: What role does Los Angeles play in your work?
A + HM: Honestly, LA plays a huge roll in our music process. The weather, the sunset colors, the vibes, the aesthetics, the people—everything. We feel like there is a clear piece of ‘LA’ in everything we’ve written. I think if we lived in a different city, all our melodies, chord progressions, and musical ideas would be drastically different. Every sight and experience plays a role in shaping the output of our creativity.
AM: Where is one place that you feel completely in touch with your creative self and your music?
A: I wouldn’t say I have a specific place I feel I am completely in touch with my creative self. When I want to write, I usually go to a coffee shop and listen to music while people watching. I just need my pen and my notebooks. Oh yes, I have a few notebooks that I like to write in at the same time.
A + HM: For me, it’s not a place that I feel most in touch with my creativity, but rather a time of day. That time is always after the sun goes down. That’s when my best creativity wakes up. Other than that, my best lyrics have always been written in the shower.
AM: What can we expect to hear from you next?
A: You can expect to hear more music from us for sure after this EP. We have a few things cooking up. Hopefully we’ll have a few performances lined up, as well!
HM: First and foremost, we want to start playing as many live shows as we can. Other than that, we’re always writing new music. Personally, I can’t go a day without making even the smallest thing musically; it’s much needed therapy.
// listen to Dimes:
// photo courtesy of Aurora Vice
// Listen to more Aurora Vice on Spotify.