Fantasy Island: Nick Weiss

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The hot wonder behind the sound of Alexis's “Lonely Sea” and “Like the Devil” and the “gayest music ever” made by H.U.N.X. is Nick Weiss. Weiss is also (along with Logan Takahashi) one half of Teengirl Fantasy, who have revived the spark of AngelFire while transforming old soul laments like Rose Royce's “Love Don't Live Here Anymore” into dance floor hallucinations for tonight. (Teengirl Fantasy has the Pitchfork “Rising” seal of approval, even if the site doesn't seem aware of Alexis like Fader or responsive to H.U.N.X. like Vice.) In conjunction with a recent story about Alexis Penney and Myes Cooper, I asked Weiss some questions about music and men and here's what he had to say.

SFBG Do you remember when you first met Alexis [Penney]?
Nick Weiss I met Alexis a year ago when Teengirl Fantasy threw a rave with Party Effects at the LiPo Lounge. Alexis was their “untrained female vocalist'”doing live PA. She mostly ended up talking about why she had a really hard day over Party Effects' live technobass. It was amazing.
At the time Alexis and Seth [Bogart] were dating. The details of the night get fuzzy but we all ended up watching Michael Jackson's memorial on TV the next morning. I instantly felt a musical connection with Alexis, and the shine of her confident aura. It was clear that we would meet again.

SFBG What's it like working with Alexis? Can you tell me a bit about the writing and recording of “Lonely Sea”?
NW I came up to the Bay from LA to work with Alexis really soon after a breakup that had been particularly devastating for him. I had a general skeleton for "Lonely Sea" and Alexis had lyrics already written about pain and loss. My celebratory, buoyant house beat mixed with Alexis' love-lost lyrics so instantly I knew we had a hit.

SFBG One touch that makes the song special is the horn harmony near the end.
NW I'm really proud of that MIDI saxophone solo. The club mix of "Lonely Sea" will include a very special extended sax solo.

SFBG What was your first memorable music experience? First memorable gay music experience?
NW The first album I can remember listening to and really loving was Annie Lennox's Diva. My mom played it for me once in the car and I was hooked. I remember having some sense of the reasons I loved the production on that album, even though I was so young (I couldn't have been older than 5 or 6). I would ask myself how "Walking on Broken Glass" could possibly hold so many layers of Lennox's voice. That was the first time I understood the concept of multi-tracked vocals. Clearly it was also super influential as an early gay music experience.

SFBG What does the Teengirl Fantasy album sound like? When is it coming out, and on what label?

NW 7AM is out at the end of the summer on True Panther Sounds in the US and Merok Records in the UK and Europe. It somewhat follows our live set: starts out slow and dubby and moves into some pretty heavily ecstatic club bangers and sunrise tracks.
There's one single on it that is some straight up ethereal vocal house. We also have an R&B torch song we wrote with vocalist Shannon Funchess (of Light Asylum and !!!). The album has been finished for a while but still sounds fresh to me. It's definitely a repeat listener. We're super proud of it.

SFBG What do you like about Myles Cooper? Have you two had the opportunity to nerd out over music and songwriting?
NW Myles' music is amazing in that he makes incredibly catchy pop out of really tiny sounds, like a little Casio tone or pitched-up slap bass. He's totally a visionary. We nerd out over music and songwriting all
the time, usually over text message.

SFBG How does recording with Seth compare to recording with Alexis, and how would you describe your (artistic, whatever) relationships with both?
NW Seth and Alexis both are really hyper-specific about what they're going for. Seth likes to work really fast and doesn't usually go over two takes on a song. Alexis likes to throw out tons of reference
points while we're writing – "give me something a little more trip-hop-acid-tropical-wave-current please! And could you make it a little more World?" I love Seth and Alexis and it's seriously a blast
to work with either of them.

SFBG You recorded the H.U.N.X. tracks in Guerneville. What was that like?
NW All the H.U.N.X. tracks were recorded in a beautiful cabin in Guerneville overlooking the forest. Every day Seth and I would get up, write a song, go in the jacuzzi, [get out and] track the vocals, go back in the jacuzzi, and then maybe hit the gay bar or pizza parlor. It was perfect and really influenced the music to be able to record in such a beautiful gay resort town. Hopefully the next H.U.N.X. sessions can be in Palm Springs or Ibiza.

SFBG How did you like DJing at High Fantasy? What do you think of Aunt Charlie's and the club?
NW Aunt Charlie's is my favorite place, period. It has such an amazing feel, so comfortable and fun. DJing at High Fantasy was nuts. I can't wait until Teengirl Fantasy can play live at High Fantasy.

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