Cathedrals is a story of unlikely synthesis. Their sound marks the meeting place of organic and electric, the sublime and the physical; their narrative starts at the convergence of a city and a collective, a boy and a girl.
Brodie Jenkins grew up in sleepy California wine country in an old farmhouse that echoed with folk, jazz and soul. Before her fifteenth birthday she was signed and touring with her mother and sister in an Americana-steeped family band. Johnny Hwin, the son of Vietnamese refugees, taught himself piano by ear in a small town called Hercules. He played open-mic nights and made beats for hip-hop groups in high school; after finding success on the business end of the music industry, he was back in the studio full-time by 25.
The prodigious and wildly individual lines of their lives snaked and wove around San Francisco—the two of them attended Stanford simultaneously but never met—and in the summer of 2012 a mutual friend corralled them together at the fabled San Francisco artist collective, The SUB. Johnny, with his distinct electronic sensibility, had a vault of tracks and an endless string of ideas; Brodie, a soulful crooner with folk roots and a Gothic heart, found an uncanny rapport. They layered their instincts and experience over one another, their frequencies combining to yield a sound completely their own: equal parts sultry, soaring, long-lost and totally new.
Drawing simultaneously from Swedish pop and nineties trip-hop, indie dreamwave and pitch-black trap, Cathedrals effortlessly merge these disparate pieces into the gorgeous geometry that defines their kaleidoscopic debut EP. It’s the surprising but perhaps inevitable product of two people who grew up drawing on divergent, stratospheric facilities, whose lives are now steeped in the granular collectivity of a profuse artistic space. Cathedrals sounds at once cinematic and warmly, immediately human: in this web of juxtaposition, the duo’s music coheres like a stained-glass window, a bouquet of roses blooming in the night.