It’s been a big year for PC Music: the label released its first compilation, PC Music Vol. 1, and hosted a triumphant performance-spectacle-extravaganza in New York City earlier this month. Two of the label's chief architects, A. G. Cook and SOPHIE, recently sat down with Rolling Stone for their first ever joint interview. During the conversation, the two producers discussed their aesthetic philosophy, why they find pop music so compelling, and the rumor that the QT Energy Elixir is actually just Red Bull in a can. Read highlights from the interview below, and check out FADER’s Gen F on QT here.
On the way they met: Cook: "I met SOPHIE by chance. I had a fragment of his music, and he heard a side thing that I did. This was before either of us released stuff properly. I emailed him, and it was very much like, 'Wow, no one else in London is doing this kind of music.' Everyone else was in this quite serious, bass-y, U.K. club scene, and we were both into pop music."
On the importance of pop: SOPHIE: "I think all pop music should be about who can make the loudest, brightest thing. That, to me, is an interesting challenge, musically and artistically. And I think it's a very valid challenge—just as valid as who can be the most raw emotionally. I don't know why that is prioritized by a lot of people as something that's more valuable. The challenge I'm interested in being part of is who can use current technology, current images and people, to make the brightest, most intense, engaging thing."
On the importance of pop, part II: Cook: "Pop always has to be so concise, but it also has to be so big at the same time."
On the importance of pop, part III: SOPHIE: "It's about using a whole palette of feelings and emotions, the way the best composers do, like Mozart or Beethoven or whatever. Not to compare ourselves, but they're capable of writing the most cheerful melodies and at the same time the most haunting things—and it's actually the same skill."
On satire: Cook: "This is a big part of our lives. There's no way that satire could be at the core of anything…One of our intentions is to try and push pop music and make it experimental and accessible, and put an interesting noise or personality as well as a good melody. Sometimes people just don't like how it sounds, and they're like 'Oh, well, I can't justify this. It must be a joke.' But we're really just trying to see if we can make something stick culturally."
On the power of pop stars: SOPHIE: "The pop star calls the shots. There's no industry head-honcho who's bossing everyone around. It was the same when I met with Miley Cyrus' A&R people. They're scared of her!"
On the QT Energy Elixir: Cook: "QT has been speaking to drink manufacturers and taste labs and all those kinds of things for over a year now. No assistance from the corporation on that side. It's an independent drink at the moment."