BETWEEN FRIENDS talks ‘Tape 002’ inspiration, music’s fluidity in digital age

Photo of Between Friends Band
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Spray painting a dreamy analog-Y2K aesthetic over lush pop hits, siblings Savannah and Brandon Hudson make music ideal for a drive through sunset suburbia. The pair, known as BETWEEN FRIENDS, have drifted across the dream-pop scene since the 2017 release of their starry-eyed “Suburban Wonderland.”

BETWEEN FRIENDS’ Tape 002, released March 26, is the second EP of their three-part series created during quarantine. In an interview with The Daily Californian, the siblings described their latest record as an ode to lost nightlife, a creative vessel that effortlessly limns yearning in a time of isolation.

“What we were aiming for in this tape was just to kind of bring back the feeling of going out… the feeling of dancing and being with your friends,” Savannah Hudson shared. “Music right now is pretty much the only thing we have that makes us feel like we’re in a different portal.”

While quarantine led the siblings to try everything from tai chi (which went well) to knitting (which went not so well), they still found themselves longing for late nights out and laughs with friends. Stumbling across boxes of their parents’ old tapes, CDs, VHS players and cameras, the two began crafting their vivid vision for their three-part project, further drawing inspiration from ’90s rave videos and R&B. “We really were just trying to make the music that we wanted to hear, but that we couldn’t find,” Brandon Hudson explained.

Although their music loosely falls into a genre they’ve jokingly classified “laptop-dream pop,” BETWEEN FRIENDS recognizes that genres are growing less distinct with every passing day. “Our problem our whole life was like, we don’t want to be boxed into a word,” Brandon said. “What makes new pop music so cool is that it’s so fluid.”

Constituting a technicolor spectrum of music, the swift sprouting of the streaming era has created not only new online communities but more explorative opportunities for artists. “People want new music all the time,” Brandon said. “It presents a lot of opportunity for kids making music in their rooms like us. They can have a place to exist in the music scene, a place to exist in the music industry by just being themselves and people connecting to that because of the internet.”

Taking part in the evolution of bedroom DIY pop, Savannah and Brandon often work together from their home studio. They hail from Los Angeles, a vibrant city that matches the free-spiritedness of their personalities and passionate music. With their creative process characterized by their open mindedness (and the occasional mind-clearing midnight neighborhood bike ride), every day looks a little different for the duo.

Creativity has always been central to the siblings’ close relationship, and despite their differences, the two have been learning to make music for as long as they can remember. “(Savannah) loved standing up anywhere she could and singing and belting songs in front of everybody when she was little, and I was always very quiet,” Brandon remembered. “I would write music in my bedroom or wherever I was alone. And I would kind of do it out of spite because I thought what she did was so cool.”

Growing up together, Savannah described, their relationship was marked by their unspoken admiration for each other’s musical talents. “We got together and were like, ‘Alright, cool, so like, you’ll teach me how to do that, I’ll teach you how to do this,’ ” Savannah said. “We’ve always been partners.”

As their teens soon bled into their twenties, the siblings’ mutual passion for music persisted. Even after completing their debut EP We Just Need Some Time Together, they were still searching for an artist name that captured the intimacy of their music. After brainstorming for months, inspiration finally struck during a phone call with their manager. “He was like, ‘Hey, guys, can we just keep this between friends?’ And he was gonna tell us something,” Savannah recalled. “And we were just like, ‘That’s it.’ ”

Brandon added on, recalling their manager’s surprise: “He laughed at me like, ‘What?,’ and we’re like, ‘That’s what we’re gonna call it! Between friends!’ ”

And that’s the beauty of the siblings’ lighthearted, feel-good music — BETWEEN FRIENDS’ music is meant to be shared, well, between friends. Their latest project Tape 002 isn’t just a spontaneous burst of creativity in an isolated time, but a soft, hopeful ache for the togetherness that everyone so desperately misses. 

“We’ve turned it into this playlist, this radio station that we’ve made, like, for someone that we love, which is our fans,” Savannah said. “It’s kind of like a personal mixtape from us.”

Blithely blurring bedroom pop and lovelorn nonchalance, BETWEEN FRIENDS’ music serves as a blissful reminder that sometimes living in the moment with the people you love is all you need.

Taila Lee covers music. Contact her at [email protected].