Members: Nicole L’Huillier (vocals, synths), Juan Necochea (vocals, guitar)
Sounds Like: Cóndor Jet, Picnic Kibun, Miss Garrison, and other gifted children of Chile’s genius indie scene
You should listen to Breaking Forms because…they are a shot of pop adrenaline straight to the heart.
Breaking Forms is the literal and creative marriage of Juan Necochea and Nicole L’Huillier. Formed in 2015, the band was born in the tumultuous months following the pair’s wedding and subsequent relocation from Santiago de Chile to Boston. Both musicians were already well-established within Chile’s indie scene, Juan as part of Picnic Kibun and Nicole with Cóndor Jet, and when it came time to explore a collaborative effort, the two found their skills and sensibilities much more compatible than anticipated.
“We started making music the same way we went about getting to know each other,” the band tells Remezcla via e-mail. “Just one more way of creating. Our sound was based on a love for reverb and hypnotic ambient pop. We like to be classified somewhere in the space-pop category…but who knows?”
Breaking Forms have released three short but exhilarating EPs packed with bubbling energy and rapturous hooks. A song like “Carnival,” where Nicole effusively chants “we could be” over an urgent melody, reveals the band’s sunny and spirited outlook in a chorus filled with serendipitous emotion. On “Folie a Deux,” from their first EP Uno, the couple serenades each other while exploring the giddiness of sharing the creative process with their romantic partner. “There is a comfort in working always welded by our love,” they write. “It’s a very warm feeling to see your partner glow with the enjoyment of performing something you both made, together.”
Their latest EP Tres, released in late January, includes the song “Useless,” an evocative collaboration with Chilean dynamo Fran Straube. As Juan writes, “Fran is family to me. We were band mates in Picnic Kibun and in Miss Garrison, so when she started her solo project I was the first person she approached to work on the demos for Rubio.” Juan and Fran collaborated on what would eventually become “Al Sol de Noche,” now a Miss Garrison staple. It wouldn’t be until much later that the outtakes from those sessions appeared in “Useless,” a slow-burning anthem where Straube’s wordless howling weaves beautifully through Nicole’s own charging vocals.
The couple is currently based in Boston where Nicole is pursuing a PhD at the MIT Media Lab as part of a group called Opera of the Future. As she explains, “My research focuses on finding ways to use sound as a builder of experiences, as a construction material. My work is very experimental and explorative, which opens new ideas, universes, and questions every day.” The band recorded Tres at the MIT Media Lab, feeding off the advice of friends and colleagues while also re-conceptualizing the possibilities of their music. “We are working on an interactive light installation that will accompany our next performance,” adds Nicole, “which will be at the Gardner Museum. So the crossing of disciplines is something that we really love and want to explore more. Breaking Forms can have many forms, maybe as a band in your local bar, or as a sound art installation/performance in museums.”
Though Boston’s Latino music scene remains small, with stalwart party Picó Picante being one of the city’s most visible beacons, Breaking Forms continue to reach for the stars. Literally. “There is a definite aspiration to do some space travel… No joke, Nicole just did a zero-gravity flight to test an anti-gravitational music instrument she built!”
Before they achieve ultimate lift off, you can still catch Breaking Forms performing on our earthly plane. The band made a splash at New Latin Wave festival last fall and they’ll be heading down to Austin for SXSW in March. “We have been playing around Boston with bands like Citrusphere and collaborating with artist friends and fashion designers like Erin Robertson from Project Runway,” they add. “We’d like to keep meeting cool bands and artists in the local Boston area to see if something homey arises.”