Flaunt Premiere | 88 Palms 'Love Safari'

by Flaunt Magazine

Brooklyn born 88 Palms is hitting us with their new EP entitled "Love Safari" and we got the chance to ask them a few q's about this collaborative piece. The band consists of Morgan Wiley of Midnight Magic and vocalist/songwriter Ria Bouttier. Both of these creatives joined forces in 2015 to form what is now called 88 Palms. Their new music dances with pop sounds and beach vibes. Are you ready for the safari experience of a lifetime? Let's dive on in.


Your 80's synth pop style is extremely refreshing, what are your major influences?

We have a pretty wide range of influences between us, that I think comes through in different ways. We both have a lot of love for early synth music from the 70s, early house from the 80s as well as a lot of funk and disco. There’s soul and pop influences there too. Grace Jones, Herbie Hancock, artists like Cerrone, Bill Withers, Gwen Guthrie, a lot of Georgio Moroder and Donna Summer.

What inspired your band name?

There are a lot of 8s between us in our birthdates, more importantly there are 88 keys on a keyboard. The number 8 is supposed to be a very lucky number, it represents a lot of balance and success. 88 Palms is a reference to 29 Palms in California, which is one of my favorite areas of the US. Both of us grew up around the deserts of the West, but there’s obviously a big tropical element to what we’re doing. I feel a lot more at peace around palm trees. It’s an attempt to help people get into that kind of frame of mind.

What unique flavor can you guys bring to the mix of new music coming out right now?

I think a lot of people have kind of forgotten what the roots of a lot of popular music are. There’s this whole backlog of amazing stuff from the 70s and 80s that formed the basis for dance music and made its way into a lot of pop production as well and this project is a great way for us to pay homage to that and hopefully turn people on to some lesser known artists who were really groundbreaking in their time. I think people are hungry for something a little more real, there’s been a lot of music that’s come out lately that’s done in a completely digital way, and while that can be great in some aspects, you really can’t beat the original analogue sound of a lot of older synths. I think the little imperfections of recording live instruments are what give a song character. It’s a rich warmth you don’t get from a plug-in. There’s a more human aspect to the music.


How is this collaborative project different from your individual solos projects?

That’s the great thing about collaborations in general, you end up pulling stuff out of each other you wouldn’t normally get on your own. We’re constantly going down youtube rabbit holes introducing each other to new stuff that influences the way we write.

How long have you worked on this record?

We wrote a lot of the basis for what made it to Love Safari over the course of a few weeks, maybe even a lot of it the first time we ever sat down together in the studio. The process of refining that and actually getting it to a point where it’s ready to be put out took a lot longer as we both have a lot going on, about a year after that first session we were ready to put stuff out.

We have been privileged enough to see the Love Safari video before its official premiere, what inspired the visuals in the video?

I really wanted to play on this idea of man-hunting and taking it to a little bit of a literal place. When we wrote Love Safari I had this vision of hunting beautiful men across the plains of Africa like sexy gazelles. I didn’t think we’d get a chance to actually pull it off until I got an opportunity to DJ with some friends in Kenya around Diani Beach and was able to pull it off in a very DIY style. To keep with the kind of vintage style of the music I shot the whole thing on an 8mm mini-VHS camcorder. I got a lot of weird looks going through security in like 3 different countries carrying a Safari hat, disco ball and this old “dad cam” as we ended up calling it.


What can we expect from 88 Palms in the near future?

More music! We have a lot more where this came from, the tracks on Love Safari are some of the first ones we wrote. It’s kind of problematic for us to not start new tracks instead of finishing old ones when we’re in the studio. It would be great to do a little touring at some point too.

In your own words, how would you describe Love Safari Ep? Love Safari video?

It’s Tropical Disco for Aspiring Young Cougars. hah! I just hope it just makes people feel sexy and confident and free. The EP is like a beautiful lover on a beach somewhere warm and far away from everything. Love Safari is the playful hunt for that lover. I have to give a massive shout out to the beautiful people of Kenya and Diani Beach for making that a possibility. I hope people enjoy it as much as we did making it!


Written by Chloe Laughlin

Photo by Robbie Masterson