"Everything about this project has been a surprise," Talia Londoner says of the international electronic pop duo Let's Mars, whose debut album Always 15 Minutes Late is surprising in all the best ways. "I never thought I'd ever be part of something like this, but now I can't imagine life without it."
"It came out of nowhere," agrees her musical partner Oren Emanuel. "We started this thing with no expectations, but it took on a life of its own and became more important to us than we could have imagined."
Let's Mars' uniquely personal, effortlessly accessible music is the product of the seemingly unlikely songwriting and recording collaboration of American singer Londoner, a Los Angeles native, who grew up with a background in theater and Israeli multi-instrumentalist Emanuel, a seasoned musician and producer with an extensive resume in the realm of electronic music.
Based in the emerging creative mecca of Tel Aviv, Israel, Let's Mars makes music that's bright and uplifting yet a little dark, combining catchy melodic songcraft, inventive sonic settings and heartfelt, emotionally rich lyrics that resonate with insight and humanity. Their expansive sound merges the D.I.Y. vibe of '90s-style digital sampling, timeless R&B grooves, propulsive bass lines and Londoner's intoxicating, expressive vocals.
The twosome's distinctive approach and playfully edgy attitude are reflected in such irresistible originals as "U and I," "Words," "History," "8000 Miles," "Be Cool" and the topical "The WARning." The duo also puts its stylistic stamp on a pair of covers: an slinky, funky reading of Prince's "Darling Nikki" and a haunting take on "Dedicated," originally recorded by Israeli alt-rock icons Minimal Compact. The latter track already stirred up considerable excitement when released as Let's Mars' debut single.
Talia Londoner had studied musical theater at the University of Arizona, and taught herself to play guitar and write songs. In the summer of 2013, feeling stagnant and frustrated with her life in L.A., she impulsively decided to relocate to Tel Aviv, with the intention of staying for a few months. The temporary relocation soon became a permanent one, and before long Talia found herself competing on Israel's version of The Voice. While she still had no intention of pursuing a professional musical career, that changed soon after a mutual friend introduced her to Oren Emanuel.
Oren had already carved a long and varied career in electronic music by the time he and Talia met. Growing up between Haifa and Tel Aviv, he won acclaim with the "PsyTrance" outfit VOID, releasing four studio albums between 1999 and 2011. In 2012, he launched his EDM project Let's Be Friends, which achieved substantial recognition while touring the world and performing at such notable festivals as MysteryLand and TomorrowWorld.
After being introduced by a mutual friend, Talia insisted they try recording her song "Be Cool" in his studio. They recorded the song in a mere 30 minutes, and it soon became clear that they were destined to continue making music together. Mining elements of Talia's folky songwriting influences and Oren's EDM background, they crafted their hook-filled melodies, insistent rhythms and smart, evocative lyrics into full-bodied, instantly memorable songs.
"The spark was instant," Talia recalls. "Together we were able to tap into something that neither one of us could have come up with individually. It was too good and too much fun to ignore, so we just kept writing and recording."
"It's been exciting," Oren adds. "I'd gotten a little burned out on EDM and was ready for something new, so falling into this new thing was perfect timing for me."
The product of nearly three years of studio experimentation and songwriting craft, Always 15 Minutes Late embodies the adventurousness and universal appeal that make Let's Mars special, and Talia and Oren are looking forward to sharing those qualities with the rest of civilization.
"We've been creating this music in our own little bubble for so long," Talia notes, "and now we're excited to share it with the world."