Music defined by politics or devoted to certain styles often gets dulled by the pretense. Though they could hang their music on any number of obvious hooks, recent transplants to the Triangle Robo Sapien steer clear of the limitations, free to rock, rap and dance as they see fit. The duo, Chad and Whitney, moved to the countryside near Chapel Hill recently after stints in San Francisco and Chicago. They became fast friends with the FrequeNC records camp, a vinyl label that released Where the Beat End Up? this summer. Whitney and Chad explain, “When Charlie and Jon approached us, the idea was to do a dance record.”
Robo Sapien pride themselves on challenging various musical formats in a very lo-fi manner. “We ended up with a lot of stuff that we didn’t see coming: a hook for the DJ, some hip hop, some disco, a remix of the first song we ever wrote, some futuristic rock groove,” Whitney says. “We just focused on the turntable and asked ourselves, ‘What is the secret to this? What is it about those certain songs that possess the power to get you moving?’ It certainly changed our approach to writing.”
They now have a split 12-inch with Gerty forthcoming and new dance-rock songs in the can.
When asked about feeling obliged to address queer issues in their music versus the heady party vibe, Robo Sapien have their banana pudding and eat it, too. Whitney: “Isn’t all art/creation related to libido and hedonism in some way? Yes, queer issues are incredibly important to us. We’re all about dancing and celebrating and we want to give volume to those who are too far away to reach the microphone. But we refuse to be over-sexualized or put under a microscope just because I am a giant androgynous dyke. I mean, unless it is going to get me some hot girls. For Christ’s sake, the only reason we make music at all is to get laid.”
Robo Sapien plays Wetlands on Wednesday, Nov. 16 with Heros Severum, Mortar and Pestle and Gunshy. Genre-bending starts at 9 p.m. and costs $6.