Stonked to bring you today the premiere of a newie from Berlin electropop twosome Ducks!: With Compliments, a single released in collaboration with guitarist and composer Maya Shenfeld (formerly of Leoprrrds).

Ducks! describe it as “a tangy slice of indie dance with a swirl of psychedelic bossa-nova guitar”, and if that isn’t enough to make you fall in love with them, please note that these darlings sign their emails off with the line “Don’t go chasing waterfowl…” We just had to find out more, so we tasked them with our 5 lazy questions …

  1. Tell us about Ducks and Maya – how did you come together?

    Ducks! met in early 2014, when Lani had just moved to Berlin. A mutual favourite human in Australia digitally introduced us, and we started making music together pretty much straight away. Maya came into our world when we played a gig with her indie rock band Leoprrrds at a classic Berlin DIY venue called Loophole (the excellent Party Fears were also playing that night). We got to know each other a bit better, and eventually saw Maya perform an experimental electronic piece composed for a sixteen channel sound installation at the Humboldt Forum, which seriously impressed us and made us really want to work with her. We found an excuse to make something together soon after that – a Walkmix for Ableton’s Loop summit in LA in 2018. 
  1. Tell us about With Compliments.

With Compliments was recorded in two sessions earlier this year. The first one was in the pre-COVID times. Lani was hungover and fell asleep for a while and woke up to Craig & Maya’s beautiful sounds and some subliminally-delivered inspiration, and sang some vocals. The second one was when we were coming out of the first lockdown, the sun was shining, and we were all feeling a sense of relief. We worked in the classic Ducks! method of taking turns adding parts, which is always very playful. Maya recorded a dreamy guitar part, Lani added saxophones, Craig added some keyboards weirdified with ageing tape loops. And we all had fun making a choir together. The song’s about false compliments, meaningless small talk, and the masks we all wear in social situations – which makes it sound grim, but it’s a lighthearted take on it. We were working very quickly and trying not to overthink things, which adds a nice naïveté to the mood. 

  1. What artists are you most excited about/inspired by at the moment?

So many! Our friends TV Heads make beautiful dusty Californian indie rock, and their video for Ribbons gives us all the feels. Skwirl’s album Planned Obsolescence is a head-nodding, samplicious good time – if you can get your hands on the tape that mix is especially tasty. Yvois makes lo-fi hip hop with such a great blend of textures. We’re really loving her sexy remix of Ohrkid’s Cherry Juice. Then there’s Ori Moto, who’s been live-streaming his way through the pandemic with all different flavours of beats – slow rave, 80s house remixes, hip hop… all sorts. We’re also obsessed with this B-side called Run 4 U off our friend Sparrows’ latest single – it’s full of ear candy and the raspy vocal style is awesome.

  1. What are your top 3 lockdown tips.
  1. Get a ceiling projector, lie on your back and binge the whole of Twin Peaks: The Return. It’s even better as a giant movie marathon. Add hallucinogens if that’s your vibe.
  2. Dance alone with headphones to Middle Eastern dabke.
  3. Make music with those special people you already sneezed on (keep it in the bubble, friends!)

5. Please draw yourselves as ducks.

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