Since forming Timeflies in 2010, Rob Resnick and Cal Shapiro have played off their distinct sensibilities to build a boundary-warping yet instantly catchy hybrid of pop, hip-hop, and electronic music. Last year, the East Coast-bred duo decided to shake up their creative process even further by relocating to Los Angeles and ditching the typical album-based approach to making music. Their first release following the move was the early-2016 single “Once In A While,” which quickly amassed more than 245 million streams on Spotify, and ultimately emerged as one of their biggest hits to date.
Brightly textured and blissfully melodic, “Once In A While” looks at the upheaval that Timeflies experienced upon relocating to L.A. from Manhattan. Throughout “Once In A While,” Timeflies amp up the track’s emotional intensity by alternating Cal’s soulful vocals with his seamless rapping style. “The idea behind the song is that, even if you feel like your whole life is in flux, there are always those moments that feel perfect, where you can just dance and feel good,” Cal explains. On their follow-up single “Something Wrong,” Timeflies blend heavy beats and airy atmospherics into a more urgent but still hopeful exploration of self-doubt and trusting your instincts. “We’ve learned through years of being in the music business that we know, better than anyone else, how to be the best versions of ourselves,” says Cal. “The message of the song is you should always listen to yourself—because even when you think you’re fucking up, you’re probably doing all right.”
While Cal typically handles the lyrical element of each track and Rez does all of the production, Timeflies operate according to a highly collaborative philosophy that makes the most of their singular strengths as songwriters. “I generally hear things in a more melodic, pop sense, and Cal hears things in a more lyrical, soulful kind of way,” says Rez. “Over the years we’ve really learned to fuse that, and also to let the other person drive when that’s what’s best for the song.” As a result, Timeflies have carved out a melody-driven but deeply inventive sound that’s firmly rooted in their natural musicality and sharp sense of songwriting.
Near-lifelong musicians who got their start playing instruments as kids, Cal and Rez began making music together soon after meeting at Tufts University. Thanks to their immediate creative chemistry, the duo began to emerge as an unstoppable live act in fall 2010— and began releasing original material. Along with showcasing the vocal skills long cultivated by New York native, Cal, Timeflies tapped into the sonic ingenuity that Rez had honed since teaching himself to produce as a middle-schooler in New Jersey. The two shaped a vital new sound by drawing from their divergent musical tastes, including Cal’s love for 90s hip-hop and Rez’s passion for dance music, pop punk, and classic singer-songwriters.
With their full-length debut The Scotch Tape—a self-released 2011 album that shot to #2 on the iTunes pop chart and reached #4 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums chart—Timeflies greatly widened their already-devoted fanbase. After joining Island Records for 2014’s After Hours (which debuted at #8 on the Billboard 200) and 2015’s Just for Fun, Timeflies reclaimed their independence and continued to grow their following by bringing their high-energy live show to major venues around the world.
In moving to L.A. after a lifetime back East, Timeflies underwent a creative renewal that’s often found them working until dawn in their self-built studio. “It’s gotten back to that original feeling of being in college with our whole studio set up by the bunk bed in Rob’s room—but we’ve also learned so much since then, and gotten so much better at what we do,” says Cal.
Cal and Rez instill each song with a certain free-form spirit. “The same way that two people might look at a painting and each see something completely different, we want people to have their own personal experience with our music,” says Cal. “The goal is to capture a mood and a vibe, but more than anything, let people escape for just a moment.”
The band is hitting the ground running in 2017 with the announcement of a 35 date headline tour across the United States as well as a new mixtape titled 18th and nowhere and a new single ft. Shy Martin called “Raincoat”. These new releases are a sign of things to come from the duo as 2017 promises to be full of new music.