Track By Track
We pick the hottest new acts so you can tell your friends you heard them first. Meet Melbourne duo cookii on their new mixtape ‘popstyle'.
When Melbourne hyperpop duo cookii burst onto the scene with their debut single ‘coca cola’ back in 2020, it was the mystery shrouding the project that made them as fascinating as the PC Music, all-in pop maximalism they were creating. But now on their second mixtape, popstyle, the recently unveiled duo are embracing the limelight.
who is she? where does she come from? Those were the questions music fans have been asking since cookii and their high octane, instantly catchy and addictive tracks first landed online.
That first single grew to a string more, culminating in 2020 mixtape blossom, a nostalgic blend of bubblegum hyperpop and hypersynthetic electro, underpinned by a pop rock sensibility. Their anonymity gave the project a sense of freedom and let the music speak for itself, drawing on broad influences, messing with the pop music formula, and never remaining pinned down by any one sound. Through curiosity and the sheer catchiness of the music – people were listening.
Now, with the release of their new mixtape popstyle – their most expressive collection of music to date – the pair have shed their anonymity, revealing cookii to be prolific producer Lucianblomkamp and vocalist Rosebud Leach, who’s previously worked with Donatachi. Having known each other since they were 13 years old, and with music as their biggest connector, the project has flowed seamlessly.
When we started cookii, our intention was to be writing from the perspective of an alter ego. It just made everything really fun and allowed us to make music about stuff we probably wouldn’t think to otherwise. Although as time’s gone on the character of cookii has sort of dissolved out of our music. Even though the music hasn’t become drastically different or anything, we’ve just found ourselves making things that don’t feel too distant from who we really are anyway, making it seem a bit unnecessary to maintain our anonymity.cookii on their decision to shed their anonymity
Revealing their identities hasn’t hindered the pair at all – in fact their genre-bending boldness and production flare has flourished. With influences as broadly ranging as Aqua and Good Charlotte, popstyle is a fun and exciting blend of sugary sweet bubblegum pop and gritty y2k pop rock, continuing cookii’s assent as one of this country’s most exciting new projects.
To celebrate the release of their new mixtape popstyle, we sat down with cookii and let them take us track by track through the record.
Check out popstyle by cookii:
cookii take us track-by-track through their new mixtape popstyle:
‘oh no’ to us is pretty much your run-of-the-mill pop breakup song. A lot of what makes cookii fun for us is going into writing a song with the intention of it just being fun. So, with that, riffing off of somewhat typical song topics makes things smoother. Don’t have to kill ourselves over having fun lol. For literally years we’ve wanted to do a vocoder / “the middle” type song so we finally did it.
‘so young’ was the first song that we kind of took seriously. Most songs we write come from a very clear intention to have fun and only be fun. ‘so young’ was us letting go of the expectations we put on ourselves in that way and allowing ourselves to change up the sound and get a bit more serious. With that being said, there was definitely a choice to be as angsty as possible and OTT because that keeps things fun for us – trying to squeeze a lil of that scene music influence in there.
‘moonlight’ is a song about the end of the world and trying to find a loved one desperately. This song lyrically was relatively easy to think up because it was written in the middle of the long Melbourne lockdown and we thought “how can we be really dramatic about the end of the world” because at that time it all felt pretty doomsday-ish. The inspiration for the instrumental of this song comes from late ’90s rock anthems like ‘Torn’ by Natalie Imbruglia or No Doubt except deeper fried to keep things interesting.
We went through a massive phase of writing only pop rock songs and there’s a heap that probably won’t get released, but ‘babe’ is the one that’s stood the test of time. Honestly, there probably could have been an EP in between blossom and popstyle because there’s a lot of it, but maybe we’ll try and space it out. Lyrically, it’s kind of like ‘party girl’ in the sense that it’s about going out and not being sure how to feel about it. But in this one, once you’re out, there are no reservations about whether you’re having a good time or not. We’re just out here to get pissy and cause a ruckus.
‘party girl’ was written in a drunk haze – Rosey said “I’m going to try and write the most stupid lyrics I can think of” and then the chorus for ‘party girl’ was born. From there it was working backwards to try and make sense of the idea. We tried to be a bit introspective about how we personally feel about partying and oldness. We’re getting older and are at that weird stage where you’re conflicted about whether or not it’s actually fun to “party” anymore. The instrumental was written with very nostalgic intentions – we were trying to make something that sounded like Aqua or The Vengaboys, but a modern PC music-type version of that era.
‘crush’ is, for us, the closest song to [our previous EP] blossom. It’s got a high school teen movie vibe, it’s pretty simple in terms of production and it’s just kind of cute. It’s nice to bring it back to having fun and being cutesy. When writing this, we realised how much of a jump we’ve made with this popstyle era. For us to have any feeling about writing a “blossom” type beat was a strange revelation.
‘our love’ is, in essence, a song about an unrequited love. The idea for the song came from imagining a scenario where a person is so obsessed with someone over social media that they start creating a relationship in their head as a result. It’s cool that on first listen you don’t immediately understand that it’s about something a little bit sinister. Trying to make it easily listenable so people can interpret it as a straight up love song but also incorporating kind of stalker vibes was a weird and fun process! This instrumental is a really exciting one too, because it changes the pace from blossom and starts off this new chapter with a big smack.
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