Original article appeared in Status Magazine.
By Bea del Rio
Interview by Ernest Fraginal
Using a comical approach to serious worldly themes befitting of the contradictory culture it tries to expose and consequently establishing its own musical genre, PRINCESS CYBERSPACE stands out as the next big act to invade our online screens.
If millennials ever need a soundtrack, the music of LA-based duo Princess Cyberspace would be a top choice. When singer-songwriter Rebecca L’Amore and electronic music producer STEL★LEO teamed up, they effectively gave birth to what they dubbed as “CyberPop,” a new genre tailor-fit for this cyber-obsessed generation. Gathering inspiration from past punk rock and new media to feminism and pop culture, their infectious jams are a combination of ‘80s synthpop, electronic music, and a tropical-future sound–a nod to the duo’s multi-racial roots–accompanied by satirical lyrics that reveal a deep and relatable truth about a generation whose reality exists inside mobile screens and the Internet.
With their first music videos in the works and a full-length album expected to be released by the end of the year, we caught up with the duo you’ll be probably be hearing and seeing more of in your next online browsing.
How did two of you get together?
Rebecca: Stelio and I met in Boston through a mutual friend. We connected immediately because I grew up on Guam and he grew up on Bermuda. I think living on an island with a very small population during your early childhood affects you in a really unique way. Islands are like distant stars in the middle of nowhere. It’s difficult to connect with people from the mainland if you’re from a remote island. Also, both Stelio and I are multi-racial and really into fashion, music, art, and entertainment, so there hasn’t been a dull moment since the moment we met, honestly.
What pushed you guys to start a Princess Cyberspace?
R: We officially started Princess Cyberspace when we moved to Los Angeles in early 2016. We wanted to start a more self-aware/society-aware popular music group, because so many songs on the radio today aren’t relatable. To me, they’re vague. We both spend a lot of time on our phones and computers like most millennials, so simply writing about my experience of living in a mobile world pushed us to start this project.
Your music often dwells with tropical, electronic music and has dubbed it as “CyberPop.” What inspired this direction in sound?
R: Growing up in Bermuda, Stelio was surrounded by the sounds of dancehall, reggae, and calypso music. The rhythms and melodies of these genres have definitely shaped his writing style, but each song we create is definitely new and distinct from our other tunes. “So Relatable” definitely captures that dancehall pop electronica vibe while “Alone, By Myself” is a festival ready moombahton track. Our latest release “Blocked/Unblocked” completely breaks this mold and has a more future/retro ‘80s sound utilizing a lot more live instrumentation. We’ve always been poking fun at how social media and the advancement of tech affects everyday interactions with this project. Our “CyberPop” sound definitely goes hand in hand with this with its clean pop elements and sometimes robotic vocal processing.
Speaking of it, your lyrics call out this generation’s overuse of phones and technology. What led you to tackling this specific subject matter?
R: I think the question is what didn’t lead us to tackling this subject matter. To be honest, if you’re not writing about mobile technology, you’re not writing about popular culture, because popular culture, at least in Hollywood, is literally being on your phone or computer 24/7/365. It’s rare for people here to be able to hold a full conversation anymore, especially if they’re strangers.
What do you want listeners to take from your songs?
R: I hope that listeners hear our songs and (a) think they’re relatable, (b) think they’re funny, and (c) take a piece of the song with them and show them to their friends. I think that our lyrics have a certain depth to them that not all people will want to admit that they can relate to. Hopefully, people become more self-aware and apply this intelligence to their everyday lives.
Ultimately, what do you hope to achieve with your music?
R: We want to prove to be complete rule-breakers in the music and technology industries. A woman fronting a male producer has been done before, but I write all of the lyrics and call almost all of the shots when it comes to this project. So many pop songs on the radio are written by men for women, therefore not voicing the opinion of the feminine. We want Princess Cyberspace songs on the radio, so that the feminine word can get out there properly. We want to take Princess Cyberspace all over the world, and maybe to another planet one day.