One can imagine cruising an uncluttered Sunset Strip, putting the pedal to the metal and zipping out to PCH, in the glory days of LA. What would you be listening to? Likely some funk filled disco tinged radio station of your dreams, and in that case the DJ might well be spinning a cut from the duo Møme and Ricky Ducati. It’s a Parisian Angeleno pairing that combines the sexy swagger of French Touch groove with Ducati’s soaring sunny LA vocals.
Ducati and Møme are in some ways an odd couple, which makes their quintessential sound even more compelling. The pair first collaborated on 2018 certified gold hit “Sail Away”, which has since racked up over 15 million streams on Spotify alone, and sounds like it was produced by a pair of long-standing cohorts, not a duo in studio for the first time. Ducati is best known from his turn in the band Midnight to Monaco, while Møme has built a steady following in Paris with support from underground crews like Apollonia, while also crossing over into pop consciousness with sun drenched releases like Aloha, which he recorded while surfing around the coast of Australia in a van.
The pair have been working remotely ever since Sail Away, so covid has not impacted their creative process. We caught up with the duo, remotely of course, to learn more.
Hey guys, we're loving the new song "Moves". Can you speak to the lyrical sentiments behind the record?BOTH: The lyrics to Moves are personal and describe the connection we have with our partners. During the period of writing the song they were supporting us so we wanted to show them the appreciation and affection we felt. The track lyrics are about someone who thought they were okay with being alone and were swept off their feet by another. We hope others can experience this and use the track to express something they couldn’t.
Was it a challenge to pull off these split screen session videos? Can we expect more of these?BOTH: From our perspective we wouldn't say it was difficult, because we just wanted to have fun and perform but we can see how it was more challenging for the video editors/directors to match the vibe and feeling of the clips! We think this way of video performing from different locations will be very normal in the future. We love how despite the distance we can still deliver studio session performance that translates the energy and passion we put into it, and will do more for sure !
Sail Away has become a huge sleeper hit for you both, how did that collaboration come together? Where did you guys meet? Was it the success of that record that prompted you to make a full album?Møme: We first met online, then in Paris back in 2016, when I did a rework of "Alive" by Ricky's former project Midnight to Monaco. I had to perform "Alive" on a Paris TV show and I invited Ricky to join me on stage. Since then, we kept in touch and in 2018, while composing in L.A for my EP "Møment II", we decided to reconnect. We haven't stopped texting since then, and we are now composing our first pop album together, which will include the tracks “Got It Made” and “They Said”.
How does the US French dynamic work? Do you often find yourself chatting politics while producing at the moment? Ricky: Besides the time difference I don’t think our cultures have affected our work relationship. The dynamic comes through more in the music and the blending of our tastes, which is why we like working together. As for politics, we don’t chat that much about it but it’s safe to say it has affected our ability to travel and work the way we had set out originally and hope that things can improve soon.
Møme: Actually, it is pretty easy as I have always loved the Californian music and aesthetic and Ricky does love everything that sounds French Touch. So, we decided to blend our inspirations, to mix these US and French vibes and create something that we would both love. Politics? Not in our conversations!
There is a sense that French dance music has a nostalgic quality to it. This record certainly conjures up a sort of golden era in Los Angeles as well. How do you balance these ideas with a genre that is always marching forward?Ricky: In my opinion a lot of it has come natural. I believe we’ve both been heavily influenced by each other’s cultures and it’s cool that it can be identified through the music. I don’t think we’ve been overly concerned about the genre since there are a few on the album, it’s most important that we are creating music we love.
What has it been like to make an album from opposite sides of the world? Do you envision making collaborative music remotely more moving forward?Ricky: I always find it interesting that Jeremy and I only sat in a studio together once for an hour and we were really just getting to know each other. Everything we’ve created up to this point has been done remotely and it has been pretty easy to work this way. If this is the new world, then we’ve had a head start.
Møme: Yes, I'm feeling like we have always known each other! It’s funny how sometimes things are so obvious, so clear and easy! We meet sometimes in LA or Paris when we have the opportunity to travel personally or for work, but yes remote work has been our thing, almost since day 1. So yes we were ahead of the curve! And what is funny is that, with the time zone difference, when Ricky sleeps, I compose and when I sleep, he writes. I mean, it’s so fast sometimes and I get his parts the next morning. I’m lucky we have found our way to stay creative and collaborate. And even if this implies a lot of virtual exchanges, text messages rather than real catch up and days together in the studio, it doesn’t impact the friendship we have.
So Møme, you did all of the production on the album & Ricky, you sang on every track. How much input do you guys have each other’s responsibilities? For example, does Møme give Ricky advice on lyrical content? Curious how much crossover there is..Ricky: I think there were a few cases when we had feedback for each other but for the most part our pieces fit together. On the Album there is a track called "She's Gone" that I had written and sent to Møme and the next day he came back which the track completely produced and basically ready to release so it can be very easy for us.
Møme: Yes, most of the time the way we work is so easy and obvious; Ricky is very good at writing the top lines, singing etc… And then, I compose, rearrange, mix it… I don't really need to say anything to Ricky about the toplines because it's always very inspiring. We really trust each other.
The album’s name—Flashback FM—is a nod to Flash FM from GTA’s Vice City. But to me it seems to speak more broadly to the idea of radio soundtracking a city, or at least a slice or community of that city. Was that something you both experienced when younger? Ricky: I think we're aware of similarities of the name, but we just liked the concept of our own radio station to play our own favorite music through the eras. I think Jeremy and I have traveled a lot in our lives, so for my side, LA is a significant part of that journey and ties heavily into the feeling of the album.
Møme: Same as Ricky, and LA is also a significant part of my journey! It’s a place I would love to live in if I was not based in France now.
Paris and LA have both been hit hard by the pandemic. What's your view on how each of these cities have dealt with it culturally, and how do you think they will evolve and respond as a result?Ricky: I believe Los Angeles like most cities in the US have struggled with how to deal with Covid. Culturally it becomes really evident who is concerned about their fellow man/woman and how far we’ve come in this regard. At the moment California is one of the states doing really well with reducing new cases so we hope this can continue.
Møme: In France, they’ve just imposed a new curfew starting at 9pm in the biggest cities in the country. We got the news a few days ago, and despite the fact that yes, the culture (events, exhibitions, gigs, theaters…) has been really impacted since March, I don’t think a lot will change in the last 80 days of the year. I don’t see clubs re-opening soon, nor huge festivals happening… But I’m optimistic for 2021.. I’m even considering myself lucky that I had the chance to play live once since March, as a lot of my artist friends did not. Fingers crossed for 2021!