Text by Toby Skinner
As a route to pop credibility, it doesn’t seem like the most obvious one. Start off as DJs with excessively long nails and lashes, star in your own reality TV show, and then create your own classic Scandipop tunes, peppering your videos with shiny outfits and lots of lipstick applications.
But with second album Beauty Is Pain out this month, pop duo Rebecca & Fiona are ready to get serious. “We tried to embrace a more poetic and depressive side of dance music, away from the broad mass that comes in a light and shiny package,” says Fiona FitzPatrick, who met Rebecca Scheja more than six years ago while the pair were promoting Stockholm club nights.
They became Rebecca & Fiona in 2010, DJing and releasing first single Luminary Ones, which led to a slot opening for Robyn on her European tour. Their upbeat 2011 debut, I Love You, Man, was named best electro/dance album at the 2012 Grammis (Sweden’s Grammys), beating Avicii and Swedish House Mafia. And at the end of last month, they played the main stage at Miami’s Ultra, the world’s top electronica festival.
Beauty Is Pain’s first single, Candy Love, is not bubblegum pop but a dark, synth-heavy tune about drink and drugs. It suggests Rebecca & Fiona have a bit more depth than they’re letting on. The single’s video is classic R&F, all ironic lipstick pouts and ’80s glam. “Our style is important because it’s fun,” says Fiona. “We’re not part of the fashion scene – we think it’s stupid – and most of our clothes are from thrift stores.”
They didn’t make for conventional reality TV stars back in 2011, either – struggling with receipts and bottle recycling machines wasn’t exactly the stuff of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. As for plans for an empire à la the Olsen twins, Fiona is unequivocal: “We won’t be releasing any straight-to-DVD movies or bedspreads in the near future.”
What they want is to be seen for what they are. “Three years ago, people would ask us who produces our music and whether our DJ sets were pre-recorded. Nowadays, it feels like people are seeing us for what we are – hardworking producers, DJs and artists."