For being signed to Atlantic Records for 18 months, Coucheron is growing at a Clifford the Big Red Dog pace. (In human years, that's about the age you can identify body parts but in Clifford years, that means being the size of a house.) Sebastian Cornelius Gautier Teigen, the Norwegian electronic producer's full name, maintains a playful, puppy-like aesthetic with bubbly, infectious electro-pop. But he mixes it with something a little less innocent. What is a "honky donk" anyway, Sebastian?
Coucheron caught the ears of LA neo-soul artist, Mayer Hawthorne that resulted in a collaboration for Coucheron's debut EP, Playground. He managed to take a break from practicing Russian before his performance at the Vladivostok, RU festival, V-Rox, to talk about writing songs for 30-day graduation party buses (yes, they do that in Norway) and the making of his music video "Ruby" with two unruly bull-dogs.
Listen to the full EP below:
How did you start making music?
I started off playing in bands with a few of my friends from primary school. I guess at some point I found that I was probably the one most motivated and my step brother told me about this music creation software. I downloaded it from Piratebay and slowly started to realize maybe I could do everything myself by just producing it out. It just went on from there. It took maybe three to four years before I started creating things I was happy about.
Have you always gravitated toward more pop and electronic music?
I was in a band that played pop-punk and more heavy rock music. So the transition to creating music just from the computer was really weird. I didn’t record any musical instruments, I was playing it out on a virtual keyboard. At first it was just electronic-based, rock music and I guess it was in 2009 when I started enjoying dance music. I’ve always loved Discovery by Daft Punk but I never enjoyed party/house music until 2009.
I feel like I can be pretty all over the place with my music now in a comfortable way. I think no matter what tempo or genre one makes, there’s probably some way of knowing you have your stamp on it. The way you're thinking of melodies, your tastes will come across no matter what you make. I’m not scared anymore to do more rock-influenced or hip-hop or all kinds. I’m more confident that somehow everything will be glued together by the fact that I made it.
What would you say is your stamp or trademark?
I’ve never managed to come up with a good answer on this. I think just playful and childish pop music, most of my music is very happy. I like to be kind of childish in the way I make music. It’s very much based on French house and heavily compressed stuff in the way that I produce.
Is that why you called your debut EP, Playground?
After I started moving away from the very straightforward dance music, I had an extended period where I tried to do other stuff and at some point I had no limitations in what I was making anymore. I felt like I was in a playground with the music and just creating whatever I wanted without any presumptions of what I was supposed to make. I was very free to do whatever I wanted. To me, I knew it was going to be the birth of Coucheron. I've been making it over really a long time–some of these songs are very old. I just felt like it was an opportunity to play around with different kinds of music and get to know myself within music. I’m sure that sounded corny.
I don’t think so, especially if you’re working on something a long time and pouring yourself into it. And you’ve gotten a lot of supporters and collaborators. Like the song you did with Mayer Hawthorne?
That was crazy. I visited Los Angeles for the first time time two years ago. It was my first time ever making music with anyone–before I just produced beats. I had a session in LA...and a few weeks later I met with a man who runs the publishing company which I’m signed to and works at Warner. He just told me he had sent the track around and Mayer Hawthorne really wanted to do a verse on it and be featured on it. So even though I never got to be in the studio with him, it was crazy having him on my first album. I’ve always enjoyed his music.
Is that how the other collaborations on this album happened?
I’ve been in the studio with all the other vocalists while we made the song. So half of the songs were written out during my stays in LA, the rest was done here in Norway where I’ve been writing.
You have a pretty big fan base for just releasing this, how did that come about?
I started producing under the Coucheron name in 2010 and I started out doing custom songs for these crazy graduation parties we have here called "russ." A group of 28 people gather and they buy a bus and ride around and party for 30 days. Each bus has a custom made song and I would make those. It was a great time for me to learn how to produce dance music. Some of the songs got a lot of attention in Norway so some parts are definitely from that period. But I've also done a lot of remixes for the past three or four years and gained some attention on Hypem and blogs.
I was looking through your Instagram and found a photo that most of your fans are mostly men? What is that about?
I haven't checked back on that, I’d love to see that get more evened out. I wouldn’t know why. I just checked and well now...it was 70 percent men and now it’s 77 percent men. I don’t mind having dudes at my shows.
"Ruby" is one my favorite songs and the video is hilarious–two dogs falling in love. are those dogs yours?
No, those bulldogs were a nightmare to work with. My managers sisters neighbor owns those dogs, she just takes care of them from time to time and we got to borrow them for the music video. They’re not trained, professional bull-dog actors so we had to lure them with food all the time. For the ending there, there’s a spaghetti scene and they’re supposed to go crazy with the food but they were already full up with the dog candy. It wasn’t as easy as I thought, but I’m really happy with the result.
What kind of music do you like to listen to?
I’m not good at discovering new music as much as I was before. I would purchase physical CDs and get to know each album very well, but the access has grown so immensely it's hard to stay focused and listen to a whole album. I tend to go back to the records I love in the past which is mostly rock music. I always go back to Vampire Weekend, I love Drake, The Get Up Kids, ‘90s and ‘00s pop punk. Justice is my probably favorite electronic act ever. I try to listen through the Cross album every third month or so just to remind myself of how good it is. I’ve recently rediscovered my love for Basement Jaxx, they were so ahead of their time. Remedy sounds like something from the future even now, 16 years later. I also like to listen to atmospheric video game music when I'm traveling. Fun fact.