They say the best things come in pairs, and in the case of Snakehips and Tinashe, that’s certainly true. Together, they make a perfect pair. Today, music’s most unlikely duo has reconvened for another electric single and visual. Titled, “Who’s Gonna Love You Tonight,” the delicate, piano-driven single follows a one-sided love story.
“I feel like this song is very relatable, something everyone goes through,” Tinashe shares with V. “I feel like everyone’s been in a situation where you feel like you’re putting your all into someone and they don’t necessarily appreciate your value.”
The new collaboration comes six years after the release of their multiplatinum track, “All My Friends” ft. Chance The Rapper, which immediately resonated with listeners and has been streamed over 700 million times. Featuring both the songstress’s airy vocals and the band’s lush production, the track was one of the first to bridge gaps between the R&B and electronic dance music scenes.
“The records that we’ve done with her have had been quite different from what her usual sound is,” shares Ollie Lee, who makes up half of the British electronic duo, Snakehips. “Because she’s a predominant force in the R&B and hip-hop worlds, so I think we’ve taken her into a slightly different world. It’s nice to see her voice in a different way.”
After years of releasing their own music and touring across the world, the pair finally reunite for a highly-anticipated follow-up. Over the phone, Tinashe shares that they’ve always wanted to collaborate again, but felt the mounting pressure to top themself as each year passed and the legacy of their “All My Friends” collaboration strengthened. After a few visits to the studio, they finally nailed down a track they were both happy with.
“’All My Friends’ was such a massive success that I think we always knew we wanted to do something again, but like the pressure was there,” Tinashe shares, to which Ollie adds. “This one, we wrote more of it together, which was nice. Obviously, we’ve been in touch for a while now, so we can just text her ideas and stuff. This [song] came from a beat that we’d written initially with the piano. But earlier this year, in like February or something, we got in the studio and just jammed the rest of it out.”
To complete the collaboration, Snakehips and Tinashe produced an equally exhilarating music video. Directed by Axel Kabundji, the docu-style video follows Tinashe and her complex relationship with a professional boxer. With every hit the boxer takes, we see Tinashe there in his corner, always there to build him back up for the next fight.
“I really wanted to highlight the storyline of someone that is there with you when you’re up, and you’re down,” Tinashe explains. “And I thought that the easiest, most literal way to highlight when someone’s down versus when someone’s up is through a sports analogy. So in the music video, I made him a fighter, and when he’s hurt, I would be there for him and nurse him back to health. But then, in the end, only for him to win the fight and leave me.”
Ahead of the release, V sat down with Snakehips and Tinashe to talk about their partnership, creative process, and next steps. Below, is the interview with the artists as well as an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at their music video, captured by Eric Cisneros.
V: Congrats on the new single, “Who’s Gonna Love You Tonight.” I understand you guys first collaborated six years ago with the mega-hit, “All My Friends.” So just curious when you first met Tinashe?
OLLIE LEE: I don’t even remember, probably during a TV appearance or Coachella. Sometimes when you collaborate with people, they’re in a different part of the world with different stuff going on. So yeah, I forget when it was when we actually met her, but it could have been rehearsal.
V: How did the process of collaboration work this time around?
OL: This one, we wrote more of it together, which was nice. Obviously, we’ve been in touch for a while now so we can just text her ideas and stuff. This [song] came from a beat that we’d written initially with the piano. But earlier this year, in like February or something, we got in the studio and just jammed the rest of it out.
TINASHE: “All My Friends” was such a massive success that I think we always knew we wanted to do something again, but the pressure was there. We tried a few different songs before we actually landed on this one, and for this collaboration, we were actually in the studio together. So it took a few studio sessions for it to all come together, but it was a really fun process.
V: How did you guys come up with the meaning behind the song?
OL: It was a dialogue. I guess it is something that felt quite universal, something that everyone might have experienced at some point. It wasn’t about a really specific thing that one of us had been through at the time.
V: And as you’ve worked with many artists in the past, what’s unique about working with Tinashe?
OL: To be honest, she’s got such an amazing voice, and she’s really versatile. She put so much emotion behind the songs. The records that we’ve done with her have had been quite different from what her usual sound is. Because she’s a predominant force in the R&B and hip-hop worlds, so I think we’ve taken her into a slightly different world. It’s nice to see her voice in a different way.
V: And Tinashe, what’s unique about working with Snakehips?
T: I think they’ve got a really great perspective and attitude. I think they’re just really nice guys and cool people to work with. To me, that’s the number one thing I look for. When I collaborate with people, they have to be real people. I think they’re super down-to-earth, cool, and laid-back.
V: Yeah, for sure. Also, you guys created a music video for this track, which is also beautiful. What was the creative direction behind that?
T: I really wanted to highlight the storyline of someone that is there with you when you’re up, and you’re down. And I thought that the easiest, most literal way to highlight when someone’s down versus when someone’s up is through a sports analogy. So in the music video, I made him a fighter and when he’s hurt, I would be there for him and nurse him back to health. But then, in the end, only for him to win the fight and leave me. So yeah, I thought it would be a really cool way to visually illustrate the song’s meaning.
OL: We found a director that we really liked, Axel Kabundji, and we wanted Tinashe to star in it and take the lead role. She’s very good at that type of stuff. So we just worked together to get a storyline that would be really cool. And yeah, we decided not to be in this one because we didn’t want to kill the vibe [laughs].
V: Are you guys a big fan of boxing? Mixed martial arts and all that? I know the music video follows the relationship with a boxer so just wanted to ask.
T: I’m not a super close follower of it, but my family watches it all the time. My brother and my dad are always watching it, so it’s always on at the house. I’ve grown up in a family that’s super into sports, so anything sports-related has always been a point of interest for me.
OL: I couldn’t say I’m a huge fan, either, but I do like to watch it when there are big fights.
JAMES CARTER: I like a bit of martial arts, and I like some Kung Fu, especially Kung Fu in those old films.
V: What message do you hope listeners take away from this single?
T: I feel like this song is very relatable, something everyone goes through. I feel like everyone’s been in a situation where you feel like you’re putting your all into someone, and they don’t necessarily appreciate your value. I think that’s what the song really highlights.
OL: This is kind of sad, isn’t it? I’m not trying to throw out too much of a sad message, so I guess the message is just to be a good person, and everything is going to work out for the best.
V: How do you think you guys have changed since your previous collaboration, six years ago?
OL: This is definitely an evolved version of our sound. In terms of themes, we’re writing about, it’s the same, but the production is definitely stepped up. I feel like it feels a bit more like grown-up. It’s similar but different in many ways.
T: Totally. I’m an artist who loves to evolve constantly. I’m always looking to do something that I’ve never totally done before. So I think this song definitely has a different emotional component than “All My Friends,” but I think sonically, it feels like it’s in the same universe.
V: And how does it feel to have “All My Friends” so well received after all these years?
OL: It’s still mind-blowing to me, just how much it’s traveled and stayed in people’s minds. It really exceeded my expectations. It’s been really amazing to be able to travel so much and see how much happiness it brings to people.
V: Finally, what else are you guys looking to complete before the end of the year?
T: I’ve been working on a new project for most of this year, so hopefully, in the next couple of months, I can really hone in on that. Now, that I’m done touring, and we’re slowing down, in a sense, for the holidays, I get a little bit more time to really focus on that creative.
OL: Same, we’re just finishing our album, and hopefully, we’ll be able to do it as there are not that many weeks left. We’ve been writing it in different parts of the world for the last few months. So now, we’re in the stage of taking it back to the studio and just doing a lot of the production stuff and adding the final touches.