Los Angeles retro pop duo Scavenger Hunt -- comprised of producer/multi-instrumentalist Dan Mufson and vocalist/songwriter Jill Lamoureux -- have been lighting up the hype machine in recent months with a slew of euphoric, '80s tinged electro pop gems "River Runs Dry," "Sweet Talk" and "Never Enough."
A pair of California transplants, the twosome first linked up over a shared interest in retro pop and R&B -- à la Fleetwood Mac, Annie Lennox and Robyn. After netting some time in the studio, they earned early success with singles "Lost" and "Dreamers," which featured in campaigns for Estee Lauder, Virgin Mobile, and Hollister, as well as numerous synchs -- including in this year's film Bad Moms -- followed by tours supporting the likes of Dragonette, Shura, and Capital Cities.
After announcing their forthcoming Shapes and Outlines EP, set to be released on November 4, Billboard caught up with the enigmatic duo about their sonic influences, songwriting process, and plans for their next act.
How did you first connect and what first sparked the musical chemistry of Scavenger Hunt?
Jill: Dan saw me playing a show out in Hollywood, came up to me afterwards and we chatted about all things music. He now says he was both excited and depressed afterwards because he loved my sound but there was no one in the audience! Fast forward a little ways and we were in the studio, writing like we've been writing together for years. We have very similar taste for the mainstream and the obscure - modern and nostalgic.
How did you come up with your band name - is there a story/explanation there?
Dan: Yes. When I first moved out to LA it was to pursue film scoring, which is still a passion. I described the meetings and network process to the childhood game of going on a "Scavenger Hunt". Each meeting led me to another contact, which inevitably would bring me closer to my goal.
You are both California transplants - where are you both from originally, and how did your upbringings influence your musical aspirations?
Jill: I grew up in Wichita Kansas. I was consumed by music at a very early age - I was in my first audition choir at the age of 8 and never looked back! Music education changed my life and took me to places I could never have imagined. While growing up musical theater played a huge part in my development, but it wasn't until my late teens that I discovered combining my love of literature and writing with my love of singing and music. Music also played a huge role in my relationship with my dad. He introduced me to all the "greats."
Dan: I grew up in Philly and went to a Creative Performing Arts high school. The way some young kids love sports and have all the equipment, I was obsessed with music from instruments. From synthesizers to drums to guitars to the newest computer program, I was an indoor kid who was obsessed with making music.
You have an '80s-tinged sound - what artists/albums cover common ground for you inspiration wise?
Jill: Prince "Purple Rain," Steve Windwood, "Back in the High Life" Fleetwood Mac, "Rumours"
Dan: Phil Collins "No Jacket Required", Michael Jackson "Bad" and Bruce Hornsby "The Way It Is."
You just announced the forthcoming Shapes and Outlines EP - as a set, how do the songs fit together in your mind and how did you come up with the name?
Jill: This EP was written over the course of a year, some in NYC, some in LA. Most of the heavy lifting was done in our studio, a.k.a. Dan's bedroom in West L.A. During that time we went on several tours and I think that really influenced the sound and feel of the EP. The title comes from a lyric in a track on the album called "Slow Dancing."
You've earned a number of synchs, including in the recent film Bad Moms - how does it feel to hear your music soundtrack a scene on the big screen? Has the success you've had in that realm informed your sonic direction in any way?
Dan: It's an absolute trip to hear our music in movies and TV ads. It's also a great way to have people discover our music. I think a sync can really help break a band these days. It's the new radio. Jill and I always aim higher and higher with our goals of how a song should sound and feels. Based on the reaction from fans and followers from our recent releases I think we are living up to own standards as well as theirs, which is or goal. We make music we'd want to listen to and to be honest I can't stop listening to this EP.
What are your goals following the EP's release - are you looking to go out on tour/support the set live? What's next for Scavenger Hunt?
Jill: We never want to stop writing and recording. It's in our blood. Honestly it will be great to be done with all the release stuff so we can get back to doing what we do best, which is making tunes that make us wanna get up and dance. We have some exciting collaborations coming up that we are looking forward to being released as well. It would be an absolute dream to get back on the road and do a proper tour supporting another act. Stay tuned.
Who is your dream artist to play a show with and why?
Dan: I think currently The 1975. In fact let's use this moment to make that happen. Matt and the boys if you're out there let's do it!
What is on your current playlist?
Jill: Records I actually spun at home last night are ABBA's "Greatest Hits Vol. 2," Huey Lewis and the News, "SPORTS," and "Bad Company" by Bad Company.
Dan: Bruno Mars "24k" (song), Phantogram "Same Old Blues" and Emily King's "The Switch" album.
Pre-order Scavenger Hunt's Shapes And Outlines EP, set to be released on November 4, here.