Coco & Clair Clair is an Atlanta-based musical duo that formed in 2014, as they put it, “kind of randomly.”
The two met over Twitter and “started spending every day together” shortly after, eventually becoming a performing act. In the years since, they’ve carved a fun corner for themselves in the music industry, one filled with unusual “sproing” and “boink” noises laid over light, head-bopping tracks, offbeat and sassy lyrics like “Boy, you look like a cock-a-doodle-doo,” and “Pay me just to party and I show up in my PJs,” and a bubbly bedroom pop easiness that instantly puts a girl in a silly little mood.
Hailing from the suburbs of Peachtree Corners and Alpharetta, the two were not given rockstar names by their parents—though their government names, Taylor Nave and Claire Toothill, are pretty unique. Coco’s moniker was born out of necessity. “I made this Coco persona in high school because I did the school news… I was a big nerd,” Coco laughs. “I am actually super nervous about public speaking. In order to do it I had to create a character of myself. Then it carried into the music.” Clair Clair’s nominal origins are a little nebulous. “I don’t know why I dropped the E, maybe I thought it was ugly,” she says, sort of dreamily. I tell her it reads a little like “eclair”, the cream-filled pastry, and she replies in a breathy British accent, “Yes, it’s quite French! Coco & Clair Clair!” She waits a beat before adding, “I don’t know why I put on a British accent. What the hell?”
There’s no denying that the two are best friends, though, strangely, many people find this fact surprising—“I think it’s funny when people are like, ‘Oh, they’re genuinely friends!’” Coco shares, amused. “How else would we do this if we weren’t? That’d be crazy. We’ve been friends for so long that we [basically] grew up together.”
Having spent nearly 10 years making music as Coco & Clair Clair, the two are at the point where they finish each other’s sentences yet still get excited at the sight of one another. When Coco jumps on our Zoom, Clair Clair cheers. “Yay!” Coco’s laptop dies two minutes in, but she returns using her phone. Clair Clair cheers again. Hearing them chat, I get the sense that they can go on forever making jokes and complimenting each other, so I ask what they think the other brings to the table. Before anyone answers, the two go through a couple of rounds of “You go. No, you go!” before Clair Clair starts it off. “We’re good at making each other laugh, and I feel like I can always rely on Coco to calm me down and bring me back to Earth.”
“I feel like we’re kind of yin and yang. Claire is so orderly and on top [of things], and I lose my phone like 15 times a day,” Coco says, “I also think Claire is amazing at coming up with melodies.”
“Oh my gosh, but you are too, though,” Clair Clair gushes.
In the early stages of their friendship, they bonded over a mutual taste in music. One of Clair Clair’s core memories is laying on her bedroom floor and texting Coco her favorite Patsy Cline songs—“It was so cute,” Coco corroborates. But they never thought that shared interest would blossom into a career. To say it happened “kind of randomly,” is really to say that it unfolded organically. “We were just making beats for the pre-game,” Coco shares. But, as is often the case with passion projects that spark up at the right time, they were soon engrossed, “I was at a boring desk job and I was doing Coco & Clair Clair stuff at work,” Clair Clair admits. Before they knew it, the passion project evolved into a professional one that the two personally and exclusively oversaw up until very recently, looping in their friends whenever they could to create their signature DIY sound and direction.
After all those years of steady growth, the duo has recently been experiencing exponential enthusiasm for their music which, of course, brings about media interest and the pressure to collaborate with (and trust) outside parties. Clair Clair confesses, “The hardest part has been learning to give up control. Even with photo shoots, it’s anxiety-inducing because we’re used to—” Coco interjects, “Being in control of everything.” (Their shoot with V was the first in which they did not lead the creative direction or tap into their platonic network of photographers and producers.) Going in, they were nervous, understandably, but they were happy with the results. Baby steps.
Looking towards the future, the duo is prepping to drop an extended version of their popular debut album SEXY on November 10th. It is appropriately named, SEXY (Deluxe Edition) and features a remix of “The Hills (feat. DEELA)” from George Daniel of The 1975 as well as collaborations with Empress Of, Lewis OfMan, Homeshake, Chaeyoung of the Kpop group TWICE, Clip, and Niko B. In a culture that feels a bit gloomy, their irreverent sound is sorely needed. It’s safe to say that the duo is having their moment and it seems that they’re aware of their pending break. As if to confirm, Coco says, “Everyone is going to be fed real soon.”
Photography Tyre Twaites
Fashion Emma Oleck
Makeup Will Metivier (GODMOM)
Hair Rachel Polycarpe (GODMOM)