Between Friends is an all-encompassing creative outlet for siblings Brandon and Savannah Hudson. While the duo’s candy-colored, experimental pop is the main focus, their 360-degree approach includes doing everything from fashion design to building sets and music production. All of those elements come together on Between Friends’ kaleidoscopic new project Cutie, which is equal parts EP and modern art installation.
The common thread that connects all facets of the duo’s artistry is their quirky, free-wheeling aesthetic. “We want to build our own world,” Brandon says, “a colorful place where anything and everything is possible.” While Between Friends relish breaking rules, their sound is undeniably pop — in a post-genre kind of way.
A prime example is the breakout act’s Cutie project. The eclectic tracklist, which was inspired by everything from ‘90s alt-R&B to ‘50s elevator music, includes irresistibly catchy songs, off-the-cuff voice memos and personal anecdotes. It’s a fully realized sensory experience that builds on Between Friends’ successful mixtapes. “We had laser vision making Cutie,” Savannah says. “We knew what we wanted to do, and we knew how we wanted to execute it.”
That clarity is a result of Brandon and Savannah’s unique creative synergy. “It's truly something that I don't understand,” Savannah continues. “We fill the gaps in each other's creativity.” And it’s not a recent phenomenon. “At 7 or 8, we decided that we were going to be best friends and make music together,” she laughs, “which is hilarious because we still feel the same way now that we're in our early 20s.”
Born in Florida, the Hudson family moved to Los Angeles when Savannah was 9 and Brandon was 11. Between Friends grew up in ‘70s music hotspot Laurel Canyon, but their biggest inspiration is distinctly modern. “We're students of the internet,” Brandon says. “When it came to learning how to make music, YouTube taught us everything.” The web also changed the way they approached art. “It taught us that there are no boundaries,” Savannah adds.
That sense of artistic freedom is readily apparent on Cutie. Take “Orange Juice,” a feel-good bop about escapism. “That song is a perfect example of how I'll have an idea and Brandon will turn it into something I never would've imagined,” Savannah says. “I wrote the song on my piano and didn't really know where I was going with it.” Brandon, however, got it immediately, drawing on their love of ‘90s alt-R&B legends like D’Angelo and Erykah Badu.
“I loved the syncopation in the production and the way artists were mixing organic sounds with psychedelic, experimental and electronic sounds,” Brandon explains. “I wanted to try that in the context of making a colorful pop song.” Their innovative approach continues on “Try,” which explores matters of the heart by using dissonant sounds. “There's something fun about the way that the hi-hats and the bass hold the whole thing together,” he says.
Once a song is recorded, the duo immediately begins thinking about how to present it to the world. “The visual side of things obviously ties into our love for creating shapes and our love for apparel, so we make clothes,” Savannah says. “Visuals also tie into architecture and where we want to shoot things, which means building sets. We just want to be a one-stop shop.” With Cutie, Between Friends is a step closer to making that dream a reality.