Nick Weiss is half of the duo Teengirl Fantasy (along with Logan Takahashi) who create cushiony, wistful aural confections for the mind and (sometimes) booty. Imagine a New Age tribute to that as-seen-on-TV compilation Pulse and you’ll have an idea of why they’ve termed their marshmallancholy aesthetic as “sleephouse”. Better yet, go and check out to their new album 7AM (released last month on Merok Records) and come up with your own silly analogy or micro-genre. For further listening, you can download their new XLR8R podcast, which mixes Chicago and Detroit sounds with dubstep and other contemporary electronics.
As Teenage Fantasy gears up for a UK tour later this month — including dates with peers like Stellar OM Source and Oneohtrix Point Never — Nick took the time to answer a few questions about the duo’s methodology and influences, and also gushes about which 90s heartthrob child star he’d like to be left home alone with. (Hint: it’s Macaulay Culkin.) A listing of their upcoming live dates appears at the end.
Expatriarch: What are your and Logan’s respective roles — or are they not so clearly defined?
Weiss: We each play synthesizers and samplers so it’s pretty much open-ended as to what each of us do. Generally we just build tracks off of each other.
Your sound has a noticeable 90s house music influence. Did you go to raves growing up? Or were you simply a fan of Ce Ce Peniston and Snap! during your pubescence?
I definitely always loved pop-housey stuff like Ce Ce, Snap!, or Robin S. It was only more recently that I started getting into more classic house and techno tracks. I never went to raves as a kid, but have grown to love going out… the darkness and community of clubs really does something for me — it’s inspiring.
Then again, the club signifiers you implement tend to be quite abstracted and the music not necessarily very danceable. Care to discuss?
A lot of what we do involves taking certain aspects of dance music without feeling compelled to keep it strictly “within the club”. There is so much beautiful stuff about dance music that I think sounds really interesting outside of its utilitarian aspect (i.e. making people move). However, I would definitely like to make something totally abstract but still undeniably danceable… Maybe in the future…
You studied at Oberlin Music Conservatory, right? Fellow NYC electronic act Blondes also studied there and also release on Merok Records. Conspiracy?
Blondes are good friends of ours. Oberlin just happens to breed a lot of bands!
Many of the other acts you’ve worked with — such as Light Asylum, Alexis and H.U.N.X. — fall outside the heterosexual hegemony. Is it a conscious political decision to align yourselves with such artists, or is it more like, you just happen to be friendsies so whatevs?
My projects with Alexis and H.U.N.X. are purposefully queer. I love gay dance music, and wanted to collaborate with other gay artists on my own. TGF didn’t work with Shannon Funchess of Light Asylum for political reasons — she’s just an incredibly talented singer and amazing person.
H.U.N.X. “Can a Man Hear Me”:
If you are awake at 7AM, is it typically because you’re an early riser, or because you’ve been out all night partying?
Definitely not an early riser. Yeah, I’d most likely only see the morning if I’ve been awake all night.
Don’t you think J.T.T. is due for a comeback?
Honestly, Macaulay Culkin is more my style — he is a teengirl fantasy.
Teengirl Fantasy live:
22.10 @ Proud Galleries, Camden, UK w/ Human Life
23.10 @ Fleece and Firkin, Bristol, UK w/ Chrome Hoof
24.10 @ Bowery Sheffield, South York, UK
26.10 @ Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, UK
27.10 @ Nation of Shopkeepers, Leeds, UK
28.10 @ Hoxton Bar and Grill, London, UK w/ Stellar OM Source, Twin Shadow, Kittens
29.10 @ XOYO, London, UK w/ Oneohtrix Point Never, Oni Ayhun, Veronica Vasicka
30.10 @ The Bunker, London, UK
05.11 @ Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, US w/ Physical Therapy
06.11 @ Arch St. Tavern, Hartford, CT, US w/ Nite Club
19.11 @ Voyeur, Philadelphia w/ Tensnake