The band He Met Her is all snuggled up in a London hotel bed. Rocky Chance wanted to do morning yoga but her friend Skyped in about some bullsh*t, so instead, she and her better half, Mowgli Moon, are hanging out like two teenagers on a Euro trip.
There’s a lot to celebrate, the duo just released Crime Novela, their first EP (with accompanying animated GIF liner notes) after more than a year of searching for their sound in clubs and studios. Rocky and Mowgli are chameleons and Crime Novela drives straight through L.A. nostalgia with lots of pulp, lots of synths, and a late-night neon vibe cultivated at their studio, called “Le Dungeon.”
It’s cinematic and romantic and a little dark. “I like love songs that have a little griminess to them,” says Rocky, the lead vocalist. “He Met Her is romantic but we like to keep some of the grime in there. We like to have contradiction.” And yeah, those aren’t their real names. Rocky was born Chanel and Mowgli was born Omar, though that’s as much as they’ll say.
He Met Her met at a restaurant in L.A. where Rocky, an L.A. native, was a hostess. Mowgli was 19 and moved west from Oklahoma to give music a shot (“I’ve always been making music. I literally soundproofed my room in high school”).
“He was always coming in with his group of friends,” Rocky says.
“You know smokers. We had smoke breaks and she was the hostess and we’d always just chat,” Mowgli says.
“One time he fell down in the restaurant and that was, I guess, when I knew it was true love. I looked down and I was like, ‘Are you OK?’”
“And I was like, ‘I’m OK.’ I think Madonna was there, too.”
Mowgli was interning at a music management company but needed to get out. He was going on vacation and given free access to a studio. Rocky, originally a dancer, said she could sing and the two started experimenting, partying and dressing the part. “We’re growing up in an eyes and ears culture,” Mowgli says. “Especially with experimental music you need to stand out, you need to have the new fresh idea.”
Accordingly, Crime Novela isn’t just about the music. He Met Her has put together an interactive site where anyone can stream the entire EP for free. Each song has its own animated GIF. In one, they’re wearing cat masks, in another they’re hitting a balloon with a fishing rod. It sounds haphazard, but the style fits the party-hard, fashion-forward ethos of the band.
“They told us [about the GIFs] like the day before,” Mowgli says. “We were coming from London to New York and we didn’t bring shit. We went to a couple Halloween stores and picked up some accessories, like crowns and a Halloween balloon. We were an hour late. [The crew] looked at us and were like, ‘Oh, this is why you were late.’”
“Because we made everything,” Rocky adds.
He Met Her has embraced tech and social media as a way to spread their name and their music, but in some ways the Crime Novela site is pretty old school: “We were talking about how all the Tower Records are closed,” Rocky says. “We would go and buy the album and read all the liner notes and feel more involved with the artist. I think that’s what people are trying to do with blogs and stuff like Instagram. That’s what we’re trying to do with our Instagram. It’s a piece of us, it’s like almost being in the bedroom with the artist.”
Rocky and Mowgli finish each other’s sentences, speak to journalists from the same hotel bed in the morning, and have a music video, “Control,” where they’re basically having sex. But the two aren’t a couple, just besties with a mutual distaste for inhibition. That friendship has created an EP that’s a little uneven but catchy and bright and promising, even if it milks a time before He Met Her was born.
“It’s sort of like nostalgia for an era you didn’t grow up in,” Mowgli says.
“It’s like we missed it in a past life or something,” Rocky says.
It sounds a little sad, but it’s melancholy with a beat. Despite the silly names, the familiar retro sound, and their ADD approach to genre, He Met Her are living up to the hype. The two are prepping for a sprint tour with shows at London Fashion week and in New York’s Fashion’s Night Out. Hopefully, crowds ready to vogue are also ready to tap their feet. “Every time we go to a city and it’s lively, we’re like ‘Alright, let’s go out,’ Rocky says, her voice rising. “We like collecting stories.”
Image courtesy of Facebook, He Met Her