Stripmall Architecture Discuss Leading a Double Life, Recording New Album ‘Suburban Reverb’
Ryan and Rebecca Coseboom, the husband-and-wife duo behind San Francisco eletro-wavers Stripmall Architecture, are leading a double life. By day, they live just outside the city, in a suburban enclave of two-car garages and adobe-shingled roofs. By night, they rock faces at metro-based clubs.
It’s this duality that the couple have come to confront, and ultimately embrace, on their upcoming album 'Suburban Reverb,' which they recorded in their basement studio.
City folk often stick up their noses at the suburban lifestyle. The commuting, the manicured lawns, the superintendent-less buildings: It’s all a big drag. But in reality, it’s how the majority of us have chosen to live.
Due out June 18, Stripmall’s new record -- the type of brooding electro album that you’d expect from an angry union metal worker, or a Portishead disciple from Bristol -- mashes together darkwave foreboding and the lady Coseboom’s exciting vocal chops for one thoroughly dense listen. Despite the potentially bleak subject matter, it’s the music itself that portrays the gloom, not the lyrics.
“Major key things always sound wrong to me,” songwriter Ryan tells Diffuser.fm by phone. “Rebecca’s not a very cynical person, so lyrically, there’s a lot of positivity.”
Their single 'Commuter' gets at the very heart of that sentiment. Off-kilter percussion seeps through a collection of filters while Rebecca uses her hushed alto like a four-door utility vehicle. The song then finishes with a highway-bound electro display that’s equally mesmerizing and terrifying.
“That song is probably the most honest thing that we’ve done just because it kind of describes our lives,” says Ryan, who works as an audio engineer by day. “We are very suburban people, but we sort of lead this second life. Lately, people have talked about how musicians are forced to have professional lives because music is a diminished commodity now ... We just thought it was interesting -- what it was actually like to have to do that.”
The Cosebooms have been working on music together for many years. Before Stripmall Architecture started back in 2008, the couple fronted a dream-pop band called Halou, and they even opened for Bob Mould on a U.S. tour.
“Our band is really Rebecca and I and whoever else we can talk into playing with us," Ryan says. "There’s not a lot of obstacles, but her and my aesthetic seems to be pretty similar. She’s super nice."
“Her and I work together well because of that," he adds. "I’m pretty focused and get pretty serious, and she’s more lighthearted and fun.”
Ryan says that he wanted to “get away from the craft part” of recording for 'Suburban Reverb' and follow his instincts. Listening straight through the album, you're led down a digital rabbit hole that feels like one singular, cohesive journey. This record-it-and-leave-it mentality helped shape the foundation of the band’s latest effort.
“I was raised in suburban Los Angeles, and even our band name -- the anonymity and how mundane it can be -- used to scare me," he says. "I think it’s rational to worry about getting lost in a sea of faceless people ... [But] nobody’s really faceless, if you stop and talk to people, everyone is really interesting.”
Watch Stripmall Architecture's Video for 'Commuter'