An Interview with Sweet Trip
Written by Manon Snyder on May 12, 2021
Roberto Burgos and Valerie Cooper make up Sweet Trip, the legendary underground IDM, shoegaze, and dream pop duo with Darla Records. Their album You Will Never Know Why is now reissued with bonus tracks, and the Walkers/Stab EP is now available and released. Their upcoming album A Tiny House, In Secret Speeches, Polar Equals is set to be released in 2021.
Manon: Given the poppier groove behind Walkers Beware (single), will that carry over to the rest of the album, and if so are there any pop influences you’d like to cite or any dream pop outfits that we should be on the lookout for?
R: I think that pop is a big part of the music we make. I personally feel that it’s all pop regardless of how it’s presented, but there’s always going to be some kind of element of, I don’t want to say the word sophistication, but just kind of level of production in our music so it’s bound to happen at some point. I think [Walkers beware] has a lot of classic 70s sort of influences and vibes, kind of has that romantic, old school soft rock kind of feel to it, and we both listen to that a lot. We love it, it’s like guilty pleasure for us. So I think that that was the driving factor for that song.
M: Are there any favorite soft rock seventies bands that you have?
V: I like America and Christopher Cross. It’s embarrassing to say it! 10cc. To name a few. Fireplace, romance type.
R: Paul Davis, Chicago.
V: That is the feel we wanted to have in Walkers Beware.
M: For Stab-Slow, any house influences that you have?
V: We like Kerrier District which is Luke Vibert, and that is the more housey side. Also Legowelt and Julio Bashmore.
R: Valerie’s sister, Veronica, is also a DJ, and she does electronic music. She adds acid house to a lot of the stuff that she plays acid house from like the mid to late 80s. It’s really awesome and brilliant.
V: They’re called Dyatron industries. And they DJ on Mixcloud and stream often too. But yeah, the stuff that my sister would play influenced a lot.
R: Yeah. I also love Swayzak.
M: Can you tell us about what’s behind the name “A Tiny House, in Secret Speeches, Polar equals?
V: I have a little obsession with tiny houses. And I’m watching all those YouTube videos of the tiny house movement and I was thinking that could actually be an ideal, most people won’t think so but just being more minimal in your lifestyle. Giving up all these materials and living in a tiny house, it sorta just was the obsession I was having.
M: Roberto, you said there’s a theme of love on “A Tiny House…” What other themes can we look forward to?
R: I think that’s really it. Every single song, there’s a lot of like…
V: There’s a lot of medieval fantasy in a way, themes of courtship and fantasies. Like ideals and dreaming and fantasies, and a perfect world would have love and all this also.
M: You Will Never Know Why (YWNKW) is now reissued with bonus tracks, new album art and a comic book coming. Can you tell us about the new cover art and inspiration behind the comic book style and the book itself?
V: Yeah, we have a friend who we met through the DJ circles. His name is Paul Bouchers but he is also a producer, DJ musician under the name Yobkiss, and also is a very talented cartoonist and illustrator. And so we asked him, and we came up with a story, which bounces off the original artwork of YWNKW, which is just a simple blade. I thought it’d be nice to release the new issue with different art. And, honestly, we didn’t come up with the blade to have a negative or a sad theme behind it, because we’ve been approached many times by people asking if it meant cutting your wrists or suicide. That’s not really what we were trying to convey with that art. So, when we created the reissue with new artwork and the cartoon, if you look at it closely and read it, it sort of encourages people to live and be happy. The Dracula in our cartoon, he actually saves people and if you have the comic[book], you can understand the story and see that it still ties in with the blade, but it’s got a more positive ending, more hopeful.
R: There’s a song on YWNKW that kind of has a weird backstory of a vampire in love with someone who doesn’t want him at all. So I mentioned that as a joke, and [Paul and Valerie] started bouncing ideas around.
V: So basically, the story ties in with the songs from YWNKW. The new art ties in with the original art.
R: It is a dark record, no doubt about it. But at the end, there’s like a ray of hope, sort of. And that sequence of songs ties in with what we want it to convey with any artwork: that yeah, things are dark and…
V:…you will never know why bad things happen to you. But there’s hope. So the second reissue continues that.
M: Has producing a record in quarantine affected the album creation process and the music that came out of it?
V: It just seemed more convenient and fun, actually, with quarantine. I’ll just come to Robbie’s house, and then it’s easy. It’s down the street from my house. Being in an apartment instead of a rented space, you don’t feel a pressure of like, “Oh, it’s been three hours, how much are we paying for this place?” kind of thing. It’s more laid back. And you can take your time. Therefore, there’s not that much pressure on yourself to think about budgets and things like that.