Double Wish and Always You Get Nostalgic for The Strokes, Fingerboarding, and More

The OC band catches up with Christoph and Anton Hochheim.

Christoph and Anton Hochheim are twins who perform as Always You, as well as in Beach Fossils currently and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart formerly; Double Wish is the project of Orange County multi-instrumentalists Philippe Andre and Adam Sabolick. Double Wish’s debut EP Light Split Sparkle was just released on Hit The North Records, so to celebrate, the friends caught up about indie sleaze, fingerboarding, the psychology of nostalgia, and more. 
— Annie Fell, Editor-in-chief, Talkhouse Music

Christoph Hochheim: I saw Slipknot in Irvine a couple of months ago, and they just seem to have this very keen understanding that people were just there for the hits, and would almost apologize when they were like, “Hey, we got this new record out, we’re going to play a couple songs. I hope that’s OK. Then we’re gonna play the old stuff” [Laughs.]

Adam Sabolick: But I had a similar experience at that same venue when I went to see the Goo Goo Goo Dolls — when they played their new stuff, they literally were apologizing, but they also were like, “But we’re still artists and we gotta make our music.”

Christoph: Yeah, it’s kind of sad that they have to plead to their audience like that. 

Philippe Andre: You sign release forms on your way in just disclosing that new music will be played.

Christoph: “You’ll be 20% disappointed by our set.”

Philippe: “But we wont mention it on stage at all.”

Anton Hochheim: I feel like there’s two schools of thought on how you could approach making a setlist if you’re a more established band. In Beach Fossils, I feel like we’re constantly checking Spotify and seeing what the top streamed songs are, and really trying to make a set list that people would be excited about. But then you have a band like Animal Collective who we grew up seeing, and any time they would put out a new record and you would go to their show, they would just play the following record and you just wouldn’t hear a single recognizable song. Which I also really respect, because that’s such a brave move. Like, they even did that at Coachella when I saw them — they didn’t play anything recognizable whatsoever. 

Christoph: Yeah, that was the peak of their Merriweather success and they just said, “Fuck you, we’re going to play all of Centipede [Hz],” which is super weird and you could tell the audience was very confused by it.

Anton: Yeah, it’s like they just want to play the stuff that they’re excited about, which I understand.

Christoph: Yeah. I mean, at the end of the day, if you’re hoping to have a career in music, that’s sort of how you continue, because you could burn yourself out just playing the old stuff over and over again. 

We went to this Celine event recently, and it was Iggy Pop and then The Strokes and then Interpol. The whole show was based around nostalgia — it was called “Age of Indieness,” which we didn’t even realize going in, and all the clothing was, like, vaguely 2001. You know, a lot of torn jeans and Members Only and stuff like that. And the song that they walked down the aisle to was “Hello Operator” by the White Stripes, but the song repeated on a continuous loop for 30 minutes, which was a very interesting move and started to make everybody feel a little crazy. [Laughs.] But yeah, then Iggy Pop played and he was just so vibrant. It’s a funny thing to play punk rock music in this large format, where people sort of expect this performance of being disruptive and aggressive and shocking or something. You would think he maybe wouldn’t be into it, but it came across as hugely authentic. And you just kind of realize, Oh, yeah, he just does this because he has to do it and it’s in him and he lives to do this. And it felt still fresh, even though he’s playing all these old songs. I feel like especially when you’re playing these big shows, they’re so anonymous, and it must be like Groundhog Day doing that every single. I mean, how do you stay inspired? How do you write new material when you can’t gauge a response from your audience? 

Adam: Also, I don’t know how special of a night that would be for the performer as much as the audience, because it’s like that documentary that came out recently—

Christoph: Yeah, Meet Me in the Bathroom.

Adam: Yeah, they lived that.

Anton: It’s interesting how “indie sleaze” is a thing now, the whole sort of early 2000s indie thing. There’s been enough time that it’s retro again, and maybe it sounds fresh to a new generation and nostalgic to our generation.

Christoph: Yeah. There’s always that sweet spot.

Anton: Yeah. There’s like an official Spotify indie sleaze playlist, and I know in New York there’s bars that have indie sleaze nights and just play, like, Le Tigre and electroclash stuff. And there’s a bunch of new artists popping up, like this guy The Dare — he’s kind of holding the torch of this new generation of early 2000s indie music. It’s just kind of throwback LCD Soundsystem, Rapture kind of stuff. But they are huge parties in New York, and it’s just trippy because it just kind of feels like a time warp a little bit. They’re wearing the tight jeans again and and all that stuff. But I guess everything’s cyclical in a way.

Christoph: I saw that there’s this — well, now they’re a bar, but they at the time they were just this wine natural wine delivery service. They would have these crazy block parties in SF, and they would post videos of them blasting, like, “House of Jealous Lovers” and people were just losing their shit, which is so funny. I’m sure the younger generation probably aren’t drinking wine in the streets of SF, you know… But they have both of those markets, and that’s the sweet spot.

Anton: It’s trippy to think about that, because [in the] early 2000s we were listening to ‘80s music, music from 20 years before, like Joy Division, and getting inspired. And the early 2000s stuff, it’s been 20 years. 

Christoph: That’s terrifying. 

Anton: That’s kind of like their Joy Division.

Christoph: I was such a sucker for all that stuff. I mean, we pretty much went to NYU because of Interpol. We were just obsessed with that. Like, post-punk was just this brand new thing, like, “Wow, that’s so cool, they look so cool. And, oh, they all went to NYU, we gotta go to NYU.”

Philippe: [Laughs.] That’s hilarious.

Christoph: But it’s funny, in terms of my music consumption, I don’t personally go back to that era. I probably will at a certain point. And there are a couple of Strokes demos that I discovered recently where I was like, Oh, these are amazing. Like just Julian and a piano. I mean, he’s a genius songwriter for sure. But that sound, I guess… I mean, I’m not throwing on Moving Units or anything. I can’t wait for the dance punk [revival]… 

Philippe: The Blood Brothers return.

Christoph: Yeah, totally. But you hear Blood Brothers in a lot of stuff now. You hear it in hyper pop, and all the emo stuff. Because that’s already—

Philippe: Having a resurgence. 

Christoph: The late to mid-’90s, that resurgence almost was five years ago. And now it’s the early 2000s or something. Or mid-2000s — 2010s, I feel like people are nostalgic for.

Adam: What is the nostalgic timeline? Is there one, or is it more metaphysical than that?

Christoph: Do you guys know Vsauce? Sean Savage is obsessed with Vsauce, he’s always talking about them, so I’ve been watching these videos. He’s like this science YouTuber. He had an episode about nostalgia, and there is a timeline for it. I think it’s the “lifetime retrieval span.” There’s like this chart that some researcher made, and there’s something called a “retrieval bump,” and it’s between the ages of 15 and 30, and that’s sort of the most nostalgic time in somebody’s lifetime. So you’re younger and you’re not making memories and it’s sort of going up until you’re 30. And there’s that little hump right there, and then it dips down after your 30s, and then starts to rise pretty rapidly into your 50s.

Philippe: It ramps back up as you approach older age?

Christoph: It ramps back up. Which would make sense — 15 is when you’re very sensitive to music and things are really huge and important. And then maybe when you hit 30, it’s sort of like that’s this little time capsule that you’ll always look back to. And hopefully also as human beings, we always want to remember our past positively, because it helps protect us and and our sense of identity. We want to feel like we’ve had good lives. So generally it’s positive, and whatever music you’re probably absorbing between 15 and 30 is gonna be your nostalgic music.

Philippe: That’s crazy. I do wonder too, how it ramps back up in your 40s and 50s, but there’s a dip after 30, if that’s kind of a measure with existentialism. At 30, you should be settled into your life, so they say, but like by the 40s, 50s, and as you get older, you’re kind of like, OK, how much longer is this ride going to go? And you start going backwards again.

Christoph: Yeah, totally.

Anton: That would explain the midlife crisis. 

Christoph: Yeah. And he says music also sort of conjures these feelings of nostalgia, because it’s pretty much the same place in the brain where you interpret music. It’s all just in the amygdala. And music is in a lot of ways also just a form of communication, initially through movement and dance — that’s how you’d sort of communicate your viability as a mate, primitively. Music is sort of like an extension language of that. Maybe it doesn’t serve any real purpose anymore, other than just to conjure emotions in us, and now has become an industry where people can make money out of it. But evolutionary, he calls it “cheesecake” — like there’s no real reason for us to respond to music. It’s just this leftover thing that for some reason we all resonate with in a very primitive way.

Philippe: The core DNA memory of tribal drums and coming together at one point.

Christoph: Yeah, totally. And in dancing, even — when people are inspired to dance on their own, it’s like this even further removed instinct where dancing is purely an expression of wanting to fit in. And music just seems inextricably a part of movement. Which makes me feel like I should write more dance music. [Laughs.] Or at least more bodily music. Because I think I, for years, sought out to write the least sexy music that I could think of. I don’t know if that’s like a rebellious thing…

I’m curious, when you guys write music, do you guys have certain reference points? Because to me, it does have a very nostalgic feel to it, I think. Sonically it has a very modern feel, so I think you guys kind of have both of those elements. But is it something conscious? Is it something you decided on the onset of this project, a certain sound or era that you would be drawing from? Or is it just something that you think will be changing as you go? 

Anton: What’s the source material?

Adam: I think I do a lot of making sure I don’t question myself too much, and when I realize I’m expressing myself, understand that I’m kind of in a sacred space and to let it happen. David Crosby talks about songs being like, they kind of float in the wind and when they float by you, that’s your opportunity to grab them. And I think by the nature of not questioning my inspiration and just expressing it when when the time strikes is inherently going to have a nostalgic quality. But then when Philippe and I come together and combine our powers, then I also don’t want to micromanage what Philippe does sonically, and let the collaboration happen.

Philippe: I mean, he definitely gives me some wild curveballs too, you know. We’ll be sitting down and it’s like, “OK, so this song comes from this idea and this thought form, and this is the experience.” And he’s like, “But it needs to feel like these keyboards are like Linkin Park in a cave.” “Alright, cool. What does that sound like? Let’s go listen.” So then we go and reference something, and then we just start throwing shit at the wall. And that’s usually a production day — the whole song and infrastructure’s there. We’ve got vocals in, and then it’s like, “Can we fill the extra stuff out that hasn’t been spoken,” or, “what’s going to be the subconscious element that’s going to build tension,” you know? And that’s a lot of the fun stuff. But I think a lot of it, too, is like referencing Korn. And we’re not trying to lift those things exactly, but there’s something about those subconscious elements that you’re like, “How can we bake this in to get that point across?”

The thing I take interest in, especially collaborating with Adam, is just like, if I’m not worrying about songwriting, I can take the time to make the drums pulse a certain way or use tools, side chaining and stuff. I love that feeling of pushing and pulling between bass elements or a kick drum or that feeling between the space, between things where nothing’s happening. Like, how do we capitalize on making that exaggerated, or whatever it is that needs to happen? A lot of that being a groove or something.

Christoph: Cool. I feel like you do have a very specific kick and bass relationship. It’s funny, Adam played me some music and didn’t say anything about it, he just sent it to me, and right away, I was like, “Did Philippe produce this?” Literally just from the drums.

Philippe: [Laughs.] That’s hilarious. He told me about that.

Adam: Yeah. I think that when we’re working together, Philippe, there are some points of the process where it’s like, “Oh, yeah, this is really what we’re going for.” But then there’s other things of intentionally throwing curveballs at something to get to a place that can’t be predetermined.

Anton: Yeah. On their last record, we worked with Jerry Paper, and I feel like they were very instrumental in shaping the sound of that album and just consciously pushing against — like we had certain songs that kind of sounded like Burt Bacharach, but sort of consciously putting modern synths over that to infuse the inspiration points so it doesn’t just sound like a kind of token…

Christoph: Break the convention of it. But then there are certain parts where I feel like that convention was absolutely what the song needed. We tried certain parts that were a trumpet, and Lucas [Nathan] would be like, “Oh, well, let’s try it on the synth.” And then after recording a couple of hours of different synth sounds, we realized, actually that part just needs to be a trumpet, because it needs to sound like Herb Alpert or something. You know? It’s funny. It’s definitely that sort of tug of war.

Philippe: I feel like a lot of times, too, a lot of times those sounds are like a failed attempt at combining a lot of influences, which kind of then all of a sudden bakes into this new sound of all your influences that you’re like, I tried to capture this. I tried to make it sound like that. And then that failure ends up being kind of fresh, but weirdly relatable.

Adam: It’s kind of a flow state thing. 

Philippe: [Laughs.] I love a flow state.

Adam: I know. It’s the perfect balance of being present, but not overly micro-managing your consciousness and that gesture of expression. I think that’s what’s the most attractive thing in everything, when something is genuine and kind of unapologetically itself.

Christoph: Unlabored. Lucas always says that they love music because it’s one of the rare things that doesn’t get better the harder you try at it. Which I think is true. I feel like that’s not what our culture teaches us early on — “You’ve gotta practice and you’ll be the best, you’ll be successful.” Music’s not like that at all. I think art’s not like that. Putting yourself in a position to actually do the thing and be brave enough to share, I think that’s an element. But it’s not going to get better the more you work on a song. Usually the song is there right away and then you can dust it up and polish it and make it look real nice and shiny. But I always go to demos of artists that I love, and my own, and I think it’s more than just demo-itis. I think there is something in that moment of creativity where you hear these sort of endless possibilities, and it’s perfect, I think — in its imperfection, but also in that infinite possibility space. And when you start to hammer out the details, then you start to close off the possibility.

Philippe: It’s like the, “leave them wanting more” than wishing like, “Please, I wish you just gave me less than what you just gave me.”

Christoph: Yeah. And it’s more inviting to the listener, too, to sort of fill in the gaps. It’s like imaginative listening. It’s sort of like, Oh, I know what this is going to be or where it’s going to go, and you can kind of paint this picture. Whereas if you’re like, “This is the picture, this is all the beautiful details. What do you think of it?” Then it’s like, “Well, you put a lot of work into that picture.”

Adam: Yeah, totally. You can’t let the labor be the reason why something is good. That is such an unromantic thing. I think there’s also something extremely factual in a psychological way of when you try really hard for something, that’s when it gets away. Versus, “riding the pulse of the universe,” is maybe what I’d call it. [Laughs.] 

Christoph: Yeah. I feel like it’s something that we understand in other realms and we get lost in the sauce of music. People are like, “If you’re looking for a partner, don’t look too hard. If you’re looking for it, it’s not there.” I feel like we have these adages that translate — it’s the same thing. 

Adam: Do you feel like, Christoph, when you’re fingerboarding, how much effort you’re putting in?

Christoph: [Laughs.] Thank God, Adam, I’ve been waiting for you to change the subject. Let’s get to business.

Adam: How much effort are you putting in, when you’re nailing these tricks? 

Christoph: I definitely enter a flow state. I mean, it’s definitely a very different sort of thing than music, but it’s a necessary part of my life, for sure.

Anton: But there is a meditative quality to it that, to me, is actually pretty similar to playing drums or something.

Christoph: To the act of playing an instrument, yeah. Maybe not writing. It’s like playing darts — I have a friend who’s getting really into darts now, and right away he was like, “It’s my fingerboarding!” I was like, “Oh, yeah, that makes sense.” You know, you’re very in the moment of whatever this trick is, you’re very focused, and for a moment, you could sort of suspend disbelief and you are this trick. The more you picture it, the more real that possibility becomes that you can do it and actually land this thing. For me it’s also communal the same way music is. My old bandmate in Wild Nothing, Cam [Allen], the drummer, he’s really obsessed with fingerboarding now in a way that I didn’t realize he was. We fingerboarded a lot on tour but he kinda fell quiet about it but recently sent me clips and I checked him out on TikTok and he has hundred of videos. He’s kinda an influencer now. He’ll send me videos of him trying to do a trick and then I’ll try the same trick and we will go back and forth. It’s definitely a necessary part of my life right now. [Laughs.]

Anton: It’s definitely important to have little hobbies outside of music if you are trying to perceive music as your profession. Because even for me, it’s like going to play drums is enjoyable, but there’s an element of stress if I’m having a bad day and get in my head, because my identity is so closely tied to being a drummer, and being a good drummer, you know? So it is nice to just go inside after feeling kind of crappy after playing and just fingerboard or whatever. And, you know, I don’t care if I’m not the best fingerboarder. It’s more just like this meditative thing. 

Adam: I mean, when we were teenagers, skating itself was a meditative thing, from the sound of the wheels turning and your feet vibrating, to when you do nail a trick you’ve been working on. It’s like an out-of-body experience or something.

Christoph: Yeah, it’s literally the exact same feeling that I get when I land a trick. And I would be lying to myself if I didn’t say that it probably is very much nostalgic for me. That’s something that I was always into as a kid. And now the boards only look more realistic, and they sound realistic. They all have, like, urethane wheels. There’s a sense of naturalism to that I just love.

Philippe: When I was in school, I used to — and this is before Tech Decks came out, in elementary school in, I don’t know, 1997 or ‘98 — I used to cut out pieces of paper and glue them together and fold them into decks, and then I would go to Transworld and find the tiniest little logos I could to cut them out and tape them to the bottom. But I didn’t have trucks or anything.

Christoph: Do you still have those decks?

Philippe: I wish. It would take, like, 30 layers of paper to fold them up, and then I’d get old grip tape — you know, the ends after you cut your own grip tape off your deck — just enough to make, like, a deck or two.

Christoph: Wow. You’re an OG. That’s cool.

Adam: [Going back to] another earlier part of this conversation — there’s the early 2000s New York scene coming back, but there is also kind of something happening in the Pacific Northwest at the same time, like the Death Cab, kind of that sensitive emo indie rock. And seeing that there’s that Postal Service Death Cab show — I think they sold out the Hollywood Bowl three nights in a row.

Christoph: What?!

Adam: Yeah. And the amount of people I see in my feeds, in terms of the range of people and how I know them, all flipping out and buying tickets to these shows… It’s another scene that was really inspirational to me in high school.

Christoph: Wow. What year was Garden State?

Philippe: Early 2000s. 2004?

Christoph: Yeah, Somewhere around there. So it checks out on the lifetime retrieval span. [Laughs.]

Adam: The first few Shins records. Snow Patrol

Christoph: Frou Frou

Philippe: Totally, dude. I mean, I was more into Imogen Heap. I love that Frou Frou song though.

Christoph: That sound, I feel like it’s pretty ripe right now. The drums are super compressed and almost sound like 8-bit or something. The production is just cool. It sounds fresh. But I’m sure it’s just that sort of thing where I haven’t heard the sound long enough and it sounds fresh all of a sudden again, and nostalgic.

Anton: Yeah. I mean, going back to the Depreciation Guild, our old band when we lived in New York, there was a whole 8-bit scene of electronic and rock bands that were like using Famicom on stage and blending it with more modern music. The sounds are just so nostalgic and recognizable that I feel like they were really able to reach a pretty wide audience just through that alone.

Christoph: Yeah, kids who weren’t really into music, definitely not in indie music, would just feel like, Oh, this resonates with me. And they would go to the shows. It would invite a whole new slew of kids for sure. I’m so curious who’s going to be at the show this time around. It felt like a very [specific] time and place, but maybe…

Anton: Anamanaguchi is still playing huge shows. And, I don’t know, I still hear the 8-bit influence in contemporary music, like that band Magdalena Bay. One of the tracks is just full or 8-bit, and it’s one of their biggest singles. I just don’t see that going away.

Christoph: Yeah, I saw that Anamanaguchi did a Dorian Electra remix too, and when they posted about it, they were like “8-bit legends Anamanaguchi!” I think for hyperpop kids, maybe, they are legendary.

Anton: Yeah. I feel like they’re just really good at the marketing side of things too. They’re just super funny, and I feel like they were kind of making TikToks before TikTok was even a thing. They just kind of knew how to speak the language of internet culture. 

Adam: Sweet. Thanks for doing this, guys. I’m stoked this happened. 

Christoph: Yeah, thanks for having us!

Philippe: Fun chat, guys.

Double Wish makes dark-sunshine-pop. Multi-instrumentalists Philippe Andre and Adam Sabolick have weaved in and out of different musical projects throughout the Los Angeles region since 2007. In 2020 bedroom demos became studio recordings and Double Wish began.