Rainbow Arabia blends a melange of musical influences (including Lebanese, African, and Indian) and transforms it into their own unique breed of dance pop. Consisting of husband and wife Danny and Tiffany Preston, Rainbow Arabia is one of the latest musical examples of how a wide range of sounds and styles can combine to create an entirely new genre of pop music. Behind the Hype interviews Tiffany about everything from Gossip Girl, touring with Gang Gang Dance, and the difficulty of leaving Amoeba Records without at least three new items.
Behind the Hype: Describe the dynamic of working together as musicians versus the dynamic of being married. Is there a method you use to separate one facet from the other?
Tiffany: Well, we try our best to be productive with music. Of course, we have arguments sometimes about music or money. We will have our moments of silence that usually last a couple days and then we talk, get over it and move on.
Behind the Hype: Who decided on the name Rainbow Arabia and how did it come about?
Tiffany: Danny was driving home from work and he called me and said, 'What about Rainbow Arabia?' and we were under a little pressure to come up with a name. I thought, ‘Sure, why not? It rolls off the tongue.’
Behind the Hype: Was this project something you expected to have such great success or was it more of an outlet from other projects you guys were working on?
Tiffany: We had very little expectations for the project. Danny and I had both separated from our previous bands and thought we would just get together and jam. We feel super grateful for the opportunities we’ve had. Hopefully we can keep it going.
Behind the Hype: When were you approached about "Without You" being featured on Gossip Girl ("Beauty and the Feast") and how did you feel about the scene it was used in? Had you watched the show before and were you aware of the influence it has on bringing under the radar songs to prominence (e.g. The Rapture's "No Sex For Ben")?
Tiffany: We were honored they picked our song. We haven’t watched the show before, although we were aware it was very popular. It was exciting to watch the episode that featured our song. We felt giggly because it was behind these serious scenes. It’s great to get our music out there and we hope we get a good response from it.
Behind the Hype: The title track on your latest release, Boys and Diamonds, sets the tone for the rest of the album--specifically, it feels like being in a jungle. What was your inspiration for this sound? Did you guys travel anywhere before recording that incited this distinct vibe? Who suggested using “Boys and Diamonds” as the title of the song and record?
Tiffany: Well, it’s funny because we wrote the song “Boys and Diamonds” very last minute. We needed something to tie the record together and Danny just sorta pumped it out and I laid my vocals. Mudrock was helping produce the record and he was the one who suggested we use “Boys and Diamonds” as the title of the song and record.
Behind the Hype: L.A. tends to be vilified because of its movie industry ties as a place where the vacuous go to languish. But so many people forget about how innovative the music scene is there. With acts like Ariel Pink, Nite Jewel, Hecuba, and Peppermint Pumpkin, do you think L.A is underestimated as a city of cultural relevance?
Tiffany: I think the people are starting to catching on that Los Angeles has a very diverse and innovative music scene.
Behind the Hype: Back in 2008, you did a tour in Europe with Gang Gang Dance. There has to be an interesting anecdote/favorite memory from that.
Tiffany: I love that band. Before we toured with them in the U.S., we really didn’t know their music that well. I remember watching them in Arizona totally blown away by their sound and live performace. It was very inspiring.
Behind the Hype: You cite Omar Souleyman as one of your primary influences. His style (and yours) of dance music proves that this is often a genre that is too overly generalized (e.g. everyone assumes Daft Punk is the overall sound of dance). What's your take on why dance music is viewed as a superficial category that can simply be lumped into one massive electronic k-hole, so to speak?
Tiffany: Dance music is just whatever makes your hips move. Like every other type of music, there are thrown into a category. If there just a nuance of a non-organic instrumentation and it makes you move, then its Dance Music, in today’s terms.
Behind the Hype: The video for "Without You" is amazing. Can you talk about where the idea for the concept came from and the location where it was shot?
Tiffany: We shot that in Serbia totally last minute in a very improv style. We met a couple of amazing girls via internet and approached them about doing a video. We really had rough sketches of what we wanted to do. Most of the main shots were shot the last hour of shooting, totally loosing sun. I drank some wine and threw some flour on my face and that was it.
Behind the Hype: You're in Amoeba Records. You can only buy three albums. What are they?
Tiffany: Man…I haven’t been to Amoeba in a while. Could use a shopping spree. Wanna send a gift certificate? I would probably see what new Sublime Frequencies releases are out, I know there is a new Omar Souleyman… May look for some Italo-disco comps. There are a few Nigerian box sets there that I would like (if a box set would count as one). I don’t think I would be able to leave with only three albums. I would probably buy stuff that I never planned on buying before I got there.
Rainbow Arabia's latest album,
Boys and Diamonds, along with all of their other releases, can be listened to here.