Studio Killers are a European virtual electro-pop band comprised of fictional characters. Much like the Gorillaz, the music is written by human artists but always presented by animated characters. The true identities of the band members are unknown, the vocalist and designer Cherry works alongside keyboardist Goldie Foxx, DJ Dyna Mink, and manager Bipolar Bear. Eliza Jappinen, a Finnish artist and animator, is behind the band’s visuals.
Studio Killers’ debut album, Studio Killers, was released in 2013, after the success of their 2011 single, “Ode to the Bouncer”. Setting the stage for their music, this first single gives a great first taste to what the listener is jumping into. Being part of the electro-pop genre (also sometimes called synthpop) this ban very reminiscent of music from the 80s, as it features a synthesizer in heavy doses. Studio Killers takes full advantage of the creativity and the unique sound produced by the synthesizer. This genre of music was mostly abandoned by the 1990s, but has lately found a place among popular artists such as Ke$ha and Owl City.
I was first introduced to Studio Killers via a fan-made chip-tune of “All Men Are Pigs”. The song details the troubles that women face in the bar scene, with lyrics that say “I am better than you think. Let me buy you a drink. Cha-mon! I’m not so typical at all.” This song is ridiculously catchy and will get stuck in your head so easily. If you prefer a song that will tug on your heartstrings, there’s “Jenny”, a story of a woman in love with their best friend. I’m sure a lot of people can resonate with “I wanna ruin our friendship. We should be lovers instead.”
While the album has a cohesive theme and sound to it, that doesn’t mean all the songs are the same. “Ode to the Bouncer” is an interesting mix of speech with a very fixed beat. “Funky at Heart” has a similar pace, but is considerably softer and sadder. “In Tokyo” is heavily synthesized, even some of the lyrics are robotic. Oh, before I forget, this isn’t an album you can listen to around your kids, unless you want them walking around singing something like “And I’m not wearing trainers, not to mention knickers.”
On May 26th of 2014, Studio Killers released a new single titled “Grand Finale”. It fits perfectly into the aesthetic of every song they’ve created, and it’s quickly become one of my favorites. There’s just something about the low and gentle verses of “I want to stop doin’ bad, I want to meet your mom and dad” which is quickly slammed aside by the loud and harsh chorus of “I’ve finally found you. The one that I’ve been waiting for.”
As I’m a 90s kid, I didn’t grow up hearing this sort of music and so Studio Killers was a fun new experience. If you like anything similar to La Roux or Depeche Mode, then you’ll probably like Studio Killers. For those of you who have heard that synthpop is soulless or lacking in emotion – just listen to “Grand Finale” once and you’ll know that Studio Killers is far from any definition of “soulless”.