After recently signing with a major record label, it seemed like the perfect time to catch up with American duo Rich White Ladies before they hit the big time.
The group – comprised of Scotty Rebel and Tokyo Diiva – have both built up a cult fanbase through the release of solo material and performances on the New York club scene over the past few years. Tokyo has an inherent ability to bring her brand of cutting-edge humour and on-point pop culture references to any track she touches, while Scotty – who released a single featuring rapper French Montana in 2013 – has a voice and presence that makes these global stars in the making ones to watch.
The pair have enlisted the help of indie group Semi Precious Weapons to help write and produce their forthcoming debut, and their buzz track Wimbledon made waves when it hit the web earlier this year thanks to its inspired lyrics (has any other song managed to find a rhyme for tennis star Martina Navratilova?) and campy video, which featured a cameo from fashion icon Betsey Johnson.
How are you doing? Can you tell me a little about yourselves and how you came to be Rich White Ladies?
Fabulous! Besides the fact it’s late and all the stores are closed and we are quite thirsty, the only thing in our fridge is Champagne. Decisions, decisions… We have been best friends for a very long time and have always played with the thought of doing music together, but were more dedicated to our solo project and solo music. Tokyo was actually planning to do an EP with Semi Precious Weapons and when she started recording we thought that it would be great idea to do it together with Scotty. The first day in the studio together was magic and we all just kept making hit after hit, so the formula was definitely potent.
The name of the group is definitely a talking point – how did you both come up with it?
We are RICH in abundance; WHITE because we are the brightest light in this Industry and LADIES…well we are still working on that part.
You dropped your single ‘Wimbledon’ earlier this year and it received a wave of positive buzz. Did the reaction surprise you?
Not surprised really, but very grateful! We love our music and we just want everyone to love it as well. We appreciate the love and feedback we have received so far, but we know it we can always have more, so we plan on working even harder to get our music heard in a bigger demographic.
I know you’re going through an exciting time at the minute, I hear you’ve just signed to a major record label. Long time coming! How was the process of getting a deal?
Yes, we are officially signed with Motown/Capitol Records as of this month! It’s so exciting to finally get our music out with support as we have usually done everything by ourselves and with the help of Frederic Esnault who shoots all of our videos. It’s a new era and we plan and making a huge stamp in the music industry. We actually have great music. We know every artist thinks that too, but you will the proof from us soon.
You’ve just dropped another brilliant track called ‘Ransom’, what can you tell me about the track?
It’s the second track released off of the album and we love it! It’s very different from ‘Wimbledon’ but still so us and so fun. It has some genius lyrics and humour thrown in as always with our music, but it also has a serious message, well, depending on how serious you want to take it.
How do you guys go about writing? You manage to pack so much personality and humour into your lyrics and it just comes off so effortlessly.
We’ve written the entire album with Semi Precious Weapons which was so much fun and pretty legendary. We have all been friends for a very long time and we all have a blast in the studio together. We just link up with each other, have some Jack & Coke and start throwing around ideas and create magic.
You both clearly have a fierce eye for fashion – you’d be right at home in East London! Is fashion something that you’ve both always taken seriously?
We love London and would love to do more things there! Tokyo Diiva is actually fashion designer as well as a musician and has had fashion shows in the past and will continue to do more in the future. We take it very seriously as a band, but it’s more about personal style than what is ‘in’ at that moment in time for us. We do what we want and either you like it or you don’t.
Where do you want Rich White Ladies to be in five years?
Hopefully we’ll be drinking dirty Martinis in a tree house on Private Island with pet monkeys and jaguars. Casual.
How do you feel about the success Iggy Azalea has been having over the past year? There’s a huge array of incredibly talented black female rappers/singers that struggle to get an album out, like Azealia Banks for instance. Do you think even in 2014, race still plays a part in the music industry?
Race only plays a part in something if you allow it. We don’t see colour and consider ourselves either clear or a rainbow with nothing in-between. There is only love and the universe, what you put out is what you get back. Everybody has their time, and this is ours.
Who and what inspires Rich White Ladies the most?
We are both inspired by different things, but collectively we love and agree on our love for 80s music and Glam Rock.
If you only had one night left on earth, how would Rich White Ladies go out in style?
Not sure exactly what we would do but I’m sure we will look amazing and have a few bottles of champagne and – of course – our main man, Jack Daniels.
Finally, what can we expect from the album – and will Ransom and Wimbledon be on there? Can fans expect your respective solo material (like the fan-favourite ‘Fashion Freaks’) to be on the album in some form?
It’s funny you say that, there are a lot of people have been asking about that record and wanting it to be included on the project! Maybe it will be…
Words: Josh Haigh.