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Recently we premiered a song from LA-based duo Cardiknox, and we loved it so much we wanted to get to know the band better. Members Lonnie Angle and Thomas Dutton were introduced by Lonnie’s best friend in Seattle. They spent a few years working together on a musical and wanted to do something more creative, which began their foray in pop. Now, Cardiknox is preparing to release its debut record, Portrait and will support Carly Rae Jepsen on tour.
We spoke to the duo about the meaning behind Portrait, family and the pop people who inspired them. Portrait is out on March 11.
On making fit-pop:
Lonnie: Recently we were really excited because we had friends at a spin class where “On My Way” was the first song of the class. It’s awesome to have our music infiltrating the fitness world.
Thomas: I think it depends on your views of the fitness world. Hopefully that won’t mean corny Jazzercise or Zumba. I totally agree with the term—our music is really about overcoming obstacles.
The meaning behind their debut record:
Lonnie: One theme that we spoke to in a global sense was actually my parents’ divorce in my early adulthood, which was an earth-shattering experience for me which was completely out of the blue. It’s about loss, heartbreak, heartache and persevering through this earth-shattering event. It’s something we speak to in a lot of the songs—I don’t think it’s obvious. We didn’t want to be hitting people over the head with this divorce story. I think the themes of heartbreak and loss are things that everyone has experienced in different ways. As an adult, you’re understanding the intricacies of a relationship very differently. Our family is a very tight-knit unit. It came as a surprise to everyone but my dad who left. My parents were together for a 39 years.
Becoming a musician:
Lonnie: [The divorce] rocked my world in a way that made me realize that free will is a real thing. In many ways it changed my word. I was on a more traditional path in a traditional job. I studied theater and directing. I went on to work for a major regional theater, and I was actually working in development. I was actually working with our board of directors, fundraising, putting on events for the theater and raising money for the theater. I loved it and learned a lot about the business side of making art, but it wasn’t feeding my need to create art. So, I needed to leave and follow what my heart wanted to do. I started making music and pursued my creative passion more. I think that experience influenced the album, but I wouldn’t say it’s a ‘divorce album.’
Thomas: We really wanted to draw on the feelings, emotions and perspective behind the traumatic event for Lonnie. Those feelings, which are global feelings, could resonate with anyone regardless of if they’ve been through divorce.
Lonnie: It’s a play on Thomas’ family name, which is ‘Cardinaux.’ People would always pronounce the ‘x’ at the end, so we went with it.
Thomas: There’s a lot of Peter Gabriel and Michael Jackson influences in the production of the sound. The super modern stuff you probably wouldn’t realize it, but it’s Drake and Kanye West.
Lonnie: I feel like Cyndi Lauper in vocal tone and power. It’s those sounds I’ve always been attracted to.