LA duo Asa Taccone and Matthew ‘Cornbread’ Compton are Electric Guest, a pair that fuse together retro echos alongside motown chugs and experimental funk. Brian ‘Danger Mouse’ Burton is responsible for their debut Mondo – and it was only then that the duo realised that they were a band. Wonderland sat down for a chat with frontman Asa to find out more.
For anyone oblivious to your marvellousness, please…introduce yourself.
We’re a small band from America. Matt plays the drums, I sing. For our live show we have these two attractive brothers called Todd and Tory.
How did the collaboration between you guys happen?
I used to live in this big, communal house that was a revolving door for a lot of bands and artists. There was a studio in the basement and Matt was coming over to record drums for this guy who was a little older than me. I heard him playing and was blown away so I tentatively asked him to play on some of my songs. We got on really well and that’s how it started.
Where did the name Electric Guest come from?
When I got kicked out of high school I went to some program on the East Coast of America to get my grades up. It was 6 days of schooling with one day off and on our days off they would sometimes take us to this doughnut shop called Dunkin’ Doughnuts. I struck up a friendly relationship with this old woman that worked there. One of the times I saw her she told me to remember that I was an “electric guest” of the universe. I always remembered it. Although I hate the name.
Your sound has been labelled as ‘mutant, electro 60s garage type thing’. Would you say thats a fair description?
I guess. We’re always bad with labels. That sounds good.
You guys are recharging retro. Who have been your biggest inspirations whilst you were growing up?
I liked a lot of rap and Matt grew up on metal but we like mellower stuff now as we’re older and boring now.
You’ve been likened to The Troggs, Squeeze amongst others. What can we expect from your new record?
I’m bad at selling the record. I never know what to say. I guess the only thing I’ll say is that it took about 6 years to make. A lot of love went into it.
Danger Mouse produced your album – how did that happen?
I met him years ago when I was in school. I used to call my brother who was living in L.A. at the time and play him songs of mine over the phone. One day he said, “I’ve got a friend here that does music. You should play it for him.” He put Brian on the phone and I played him the song. He said he liked it and that I should send him more stuff. We kept in touch over the months and exchanged music until he suggested that I moved into the house in L.A. where he was moving out of. I moved into his room and he ended up sort of mentoring me for years before suggesting he produce the album.
Asa, is it really true that you have an Emmy award?
Yeah. But I didn’t even get paid for it! My brother gave me 60 dollars that Christmas because he felt bad for me.
What can we expect from you for the remainder of 2012?
We’ve got a few more shows in the US and we might be going back to Europe for a bit. We put out an EP a few weeks ago which is ok and we’re just taking it easy as we’ve been on tour for nine months now.
Words: Shane Hawkins