If you’ve watched Tall Girl on Netflix, then you probably know the character Stig Mohlin, portrayed by Luke Eisner. Eisner captured girls hearts immediately with his charming looks and personality and on top of that, killer singing voice. Well, it turns out Eisner is in a duo with his friend Gus Ross and they make up the duo VOILÀ. The duo has been releasing tunes since early 2018 and their recent single “Water” is getting a lot of attention on Spotify already. ECHO had the chance to chat with Eisner and Ross about how they met, their new music and how they managed to get their song “Stand Tall” in the movie Tall Girl.
How did you guys meet being from two different countries?
We met at USC, he (Luke) sat next to me (Gus).
Did you guys ever cheat off each other?
Gus: I actually got in trouble in class. I did very little wrong because I didn’t realize how strict the American system is, because in England, you can write on your arms during an exam. We had this really easy homework assignment and I, with my mate, looked at each others and we were like “hey if you do these, I’ll do these,” we didn’t realize that at the bottom it said “all answers must be your own work.” We handed them in and down the line, six months later, I got an email from admissions control saying you failed the class, so that was brutal.
Luke: Yeah, I never cheated. We did do a lot of group projects together. When we knew we could work together and it had to do with music we just wrote our music together for it. We took a TV music class because we knew the homework was making music for TV and film, so we would just write the music for both our record and class.
Did the professor say anything like “this should be an actual song?”
Luke: He loved it because he couldn’t believe the amount of effort we were putting into the assignments.
How did you guys come up with the name VOILÀ?
Luke: VOILÀ is a French word, which means “there you are.” We always say we want to be a mirror, we want people to see themselves in our music so we go “ahh, there I am.” That’s kind of the poetic way of saying it. Also, we grew up liking magic and we like to call our sound exotic pop, so we like to be foreign with the things that we do and have an open mind to the world, so taking something from a language we don’t speak was appropriate.
Gus: We went through ten names.
Luke: goldilocks was one of the worst, we even have the Gmail still. King Compass with two K’s, Symphony, Children of Giants, those were some of the other names.
How did you guys come up with Mamacita?
Luke: Interesting story. It was a collaborative project but we weren’t even in the same room. I was shooting Tall Girl and Gus was back in LA and we wrote it over the phone together.
Gus: Over the phone and over Twitch. It’s quite funny, you can’t do private Twitch, it has to be online to the public, so we had five users watching us talking gibberish back and forth.
The song kind of has a different sound for you guys.
Luke: It’s kind of an introduction to the EP coming, which is more of our exploration of exotic pop. So, that is taking us of course south of the border. Gus had Latin American roommates, I grew up playing guitar, so there’s a lot of inspiration for us.
Gus: Mamacita, the first on the six song EP, the next one comes on Friday and two weeks after that one more, and then the whole EP with two extra songs. So, all those songs sit together as an exotic pop EP, a feel good, Latin inspired record.
Do you have a favorite song off the EP?
Luke: I like “Water,” which comes out Friday, that has a lot of meaning to it. Musically, I would say, “Deja Vu.”
Gus: For me it’s probably “Trouble in Paradise.”
Luke: I also love “Mamacita” too because there’s some comedy in there, which is great because I don’t think a lot of songs have comedy in them.
Luke, you’re into modeling, acting and music. How do you find time to balance all of that?
They’re all the same headspace for me. They’re all a way of storytelling for me, I think that acting you’re approaching the story from another way, modeling form another direction. I feel like it doesn’t require a lot of shifting gears mentally for me, so it doesn’t feel exhausting. Music is nice because we’re in control of how much we can put into it, where as acting and modeling, you’re waiting for a company to hire you. All my free time is spent in music, music is the hobby and the career.
Gus, you’re from England, most British musicians tend to stay in an British band or duo. How do you feel that you’re kind of breaking that barrier being with an America in a musical duo?
That last time I met him we went to Avicii, who’s Swedish and Luke’s heritage is Scandinavian and so is mine, so we kind of have that. Also, he’s very observant and adaptive to everything around him, that you could put him in any situation and you’ll be fine. When cultures clash it’s typically because someone has a set way of doing something, where as Luke will kind of adapt.
Luke: We have parents who are very un-border, they want us to see the world through many different cultures. That’s where the exotic pop comes from, I’m not stuck in country music, Gus isn’t stuck in British music, we like to explore.
You’re song “Stand Tall” was in the Netflix movie Tall Girl, how did that come to be?
Luke: There was a version before. Gus had a friend who’s father was going through cancer and was inspired by it and Gus came to me wanting to write a song about it. My dad was going through stage four cancer and though that this was a great opportunity to really make it personal. We wrote it together and put it out think that was the combination of the experience we’re going through. Then the movie came along and one of the producers saw that we had a song called “Stand Tall” and wanted to re-work it for the film. The last line in the script was “Stand Tall” and I just felt like there was a bit of faith lining up here and we re-wrote some of the lyrics, and we realize that not much had to be changed, I just flipped it a little. There’s a lot of similarities in fighting cancer and fighting to love yourself.
Gus: Ava came in and really did a great job on her part.
What’s one setting you would set up a fan in to have them listen to your music?
Luke: I would like to put them in front of photographs of their exes and people they have crushes on and have that really hit home. But on a serious note probably somewhere more tropical, on a beach, have them enjoy some of the records.
Gus: Some of it for me is amp up music, so when you felt something bad or you’re in a bad spot, you can’t really control what’s been done, you can only control what you do. So, some of these records you put on and it makes you brave again, makes you stand up and really go after what you want.
What’s one quote you’ve heard in life that you want to ECHO outto your fans?
Luke: I use to write quotes on my bedroom wall in High School and one of the quotes was “Those who were dancing are seen as crazy only by those who didn’t hear the music.” That was on my bedroom wall and I think that’s a good goal for writers and musicians to try to make things that are happening or quite chaotic makes sense. I love that quote because it helps people hear the music or to dance.
Gus: “Suffering is necessary until you realize it is unnecessary.”
Take a listen to VOILÀ’s new single now!