(Make Me a) TRISTE© Mixtape Episode 81: Bubble Tea And Cigarettes

Bubble Tea And Cigarettes

Bubble Tea And Cigarettes was founded in New York City where the two members Andi and Kat met. Starting in 2019, the project took shape in the couple’s bedroom where they record and produce their songs. Their dreamy ballads take the audience on an emotional journey with mellow and evocative melodies, breathy vocal and hazy ambiance full of reverb,  – everything you need in a good dream pop song is here. Since then, they have released five songs digitally, and on September 2nd their debut album, There’s Nothing But Pleasure, will be out on Elefant Records. This release includes those five singles and three marvelous previously unreleased tracks. The album delves deeper into the preciousness that can be found in silence, of the magic of slow tempos, that seem to beat at the same pace as our heart. Where Andi and Kat’s voices, the reverb, the delays, the crystalline guitars all create a false sense of fragility, that everything could break at any given moment, of containment, and of course, of emotion. The songs also benefit from the great mixing work of Anthony “Rocky” Gallo(Norah Jones,Cat Power, The XX, Cigarettes After Sex, The Killers, The Clientele…) and the mastering of Greg Calbi (Stevie Wonder, John Lennon, David Bowie, Tame Impala, Arcade Fire, St. Vincent, Perfume Genius, Blondie, Aretha Franklin).

Fifties echoes, slide guitars, drones of analogue keyboards, arpeggios swollen with delays, hyper-precious melodies. This is what it sounds like when your heart is broken.

Kat and Andi continue to take us on a dreamy journey with slow-motion melodies, vintage synth and ethereal vocals. With “Liz”, they once again play with nocturnal nostalgia and that surreal, dreamlike feeling. Taking care of every detail, because subtlety matters. A lot.

Their Mixtape:

Lamp – Sachiko

Here’s a band that we have followed for a long time. They said their main influence is Brazilian music from the 60’s/70’s. I think they found a perfect pairing of the bossa nova’s bittersweetness and the Eastern poetic sensitivity. Their mellow sound, male/female duo vocal, and the beautiful melodies have influenced our music a lot.

Ennio Morricone – Love Theme

When I think of European cinema music, Ennio is always the first to come to mind. I don’t think any word could do justice to describe his music. This song, Love Theme, in particular, is an emotional roller coaster for me, and the type of coaster that I would ride again and again. Just like the melody of this song – it keeps looping and gives me a feeling of eternity. When I’m feeling emotional or when I’m sitting in front of a piano, the song will just start playing itself. Deeply ingrained in my mind. RIP the great master. I don’t know if Joe Hisaishi, the mastermind behind the studio Ghibli movies, is influenced by European cinema music, but we grew up listening to Hisaishi a lot too.

Lana del Rey – Blackest Day

One of Kat’s lifetime favorite artists. She started listening to Lana since middle school. She still plays this song in the car whenever we are on a road trip, especially when the sun is setting. I think the song Santa Monica took some influence from Lana del Rey. Although the guitar sound you hear from Santa Monica can probably trace back to Duane Eddy.

Joao Gilberto – Estate (from the album Amoroso)

Here we go, the god father of bossa nova. Like we mentioned the band Lamp was influenced by them, Andi is very influenced by Brazilian music as well. You may have heard of The Girl from Ipanema, but if you dig deeper there’s an entire world of beautiful music in Brazil. I think the beautiful chords you hear from their music is deep in their music culture, even in pop music. Check out this video (Flor de Lis – Djavan). When the entire crowd is singing along to this type of music, sometimes I wished I have grown up there and surrounded by the beautiful music all the time. (Never visited Brazil! We hope can visit there one day soon). For this song (Estate) specifically, Andi was using the string arrangement in the song (by Claus Ogerman) as an inspiration when arranging strings for the song “Cigarette Butt”. Obviously, Andi’s nowhere near his skill 🙂 And we couldn’t get an entire string orchestra, so we used a string quartet. If you are a music geek, check out this short transcription of a string arrangement by Clare Fischer as well. Wow!

Teresa Teng – The Moon Represents My Heart

I think people growing up in different cultures have their own definition of “the 70’s”. It’s most likely the songs they heard their older generations playing. For both of us growing up in Asia, it’s Teresa Teng. When I think of creating some music that sounds “vintage”, it’s this type of music.

CreepHyp – 29, 30

We’ve talked enough about music style influence 🙂 Emotionally all of our music are hoping to express a similar theme – the young confusion; the lost in a metropolis; the dispirited life of post adolescence. This band, CreepHyp, really embodies this type of emotions. We both listen to them a lot.

Beach House – Levitation

One of our favorite bands recently! We are influenced by their big and psychedelic sound, and their use of arpeggios in music. But what I find more impressive is that they have been doing the band for almost 20 years – they somehow managed to keep their sound consistent throughout the years, but still are getting better and better. Their recent album “Once Twice Melody” is such a banger. Truly standing against the saying of “a band can never surpass their first album”. Giving us something to look forward to as we gradually start to discover our own sound.

Cigarettes after Sex – Sweet

Lastly, probably one of our most obvious influences. While the “Cigarettes” in our band names is truly a coincidence (we came up with our band name a long time ago! Like, even before we started making music, we were talking about what we should name our band if we start a music project), when we were writing our first released song “5AM Empanada With You”, we were listening to them a lot. I think their simplicity of arrangement and the spacey sound was a big influence for us. We were even lucky enough to find their mixing and mastering engineers for our post productions, since we love their first album’s sound.

There’s Nothing But Pleasure will be out on September 2nd via Elefant Records. Look HERE for more information on Bubble Tea And Cigarettes.


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  1. Pingback: Bubble Tea And Cigarettes – There’s Nothing But Pleasure | Indie Sunset in Rome


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