Upon the release of ‘Love Me,’ Claire Toothill and Taylor Nave reveal the reality behind their glam rock persona
Coco & Clair Clair are natural-born pop stars. The self-proclaimed “demon glam rock” duo are creating a hypnotic take on Soundcloud rap and bedroom pop, transforming Claire Toothill’s airy vocals and Taylor Nave’s witty raps into sensational soundtracks for the girls who get it.
After stealing the hearts of their suburban Atlanta neighborhood, Coco & Clair Clair won over the internet. In 2017, the pair released their DIY cheeky debut, Posh, along with hit singles: “Pretty” and “Crushcrushcrush.” With lyrics like “If I beat you up, Ima make it look pretty / Nails still intact and yeah I’m still witty,” they planted seeds of obsession that have since blossomed. Even the members of the acclaimed hardcore band Turnstile are fans, and invited the duo to open for their latest tour.
Five years after the Posh release, Coco & Clair Clair are releasing their long-awaited sophomore album. Sexy is their debut for those who aren’t already stans within their niche online circle. The tracks are more mature, as Coco & Clair Clair actively made an effort to maintain different styles and include features from their favorite artists, such as Porches and DETO BLACK. That’s not to say they’re selling out—if anything, this album is more true to themselves than anything else they’ve produced. “We made the songs we’ve been wanting to make, rather than thinking about what other people want,” Clair tells me. “It’s the most perfect thing we could have given ourselves. I would want this album to exist, even if we hadn’t made it.”
In anticipation of their November release, an almost femme-fatale version of early Yung Lean track was released today, where Coco raps, “This might be a hit, we do this normally.” And she’s absolutely right: The harp-type beat in “Love Me” is nostalgic and ethereal. Once Clair’s fluffy chorus comes in, the arpeggio starts sparkling, similar to Cowgirl Clue’s Icebreaker. Accompanying the track is a video directed, filmed, and edited by Nizan Kaspe, featuring skaters from Hamburg’s Lobby Skateshop team—a callback to another line in Coco’s verse: “International, that’s what I wanna be / Finna be sold out in Germany.”
Ahead of the single’s release, Coco & Clair Clair sat down with Document to discuss the origins of their friendship, living to party, and the truth behind their satirical sound.
Madison Bulnes: I know you guys met on Twitter… Who followed who first, and why?
Coco: I feel like you followed me.
Clair Clair: I followed you. Claire followed Coco first. And she’s always been so funny [on Twitter]. It’s like another side of Coco. I didn’t know she lived near me. I think I thought she was—
Coco: An internet person.
Clair Clair: Yeah, like a Twitter personality. Then she hit me up and it turned out we lived so close together. The rest is history!
Coco: Clair was really funny on Twitter, too. That’s why I followed back [laughs].
Clair Clair: Imagine if I wasn’t [laughs].
Coco: A pity follow.
Madison: When did you guys decide to meet in real life?
Coco: As soon as we started messaging. I was like, ‘Oh, there’s a party this weekend. Do you want to go? We were instantly really good friends from that point on.
Madison: That’s so cute. Did either of you ever dream of being a pop star?
Clair Clair: When I was little, but I didn’t think I would do it. It’s still surprising to both of us that we’ve even gotten here because, of course, it’s fantastic and dreamy. As a little girl, I always loved pop music and Coco has always been interested in making music. We had it in us a little bit, but it wasn’t on the roster of plans. I absolutely never thought I would do this.
Coco: I thought I wanted to get into video editing. I would make music videos for my friends, and when I ran out of friends to make music videos for, I started making songs. That’s how I got into it. I never thought, ‘Oh, this is gonna be a job.’ I was having fun with my MacBook at the time, just kept making stuff.
Madison: So you would make your own songs?
Coco: Yeah, really dumb bad songs. But at least I have videos for them.
Madison: Are you guys pursuing anything else at the moment?
Clair Clair: Oh, no, we’re just pop stars [laughs].
Coco: Yeah, full-time.
Madison: How did you first decide to make music together?
Clair Clair: It just happened. In hindsight, it’s so lucky that we kept it up. I’m grateful that we both were excited about it and had friends encouraging us to not think [our music] was a silly little thing. But we never were like, Okay, we’re gonna take this seriously.
Coco: The whole thing about it was fun. We were friends with a lot of musicians who were playing shows. We had two songs and were like, Oh, so we can play a show too. So we played shows with our two songs and covered other songs. We loved the lifestyle that came with it, so we fell into [music] that way. I don’t think we ever were like, Let’s play these shows and make a name for ourselves and blah blah. We were more like, Oh Ryan’s playing a show Saturday at a house? I want to play!. We’d just drink, party, and happen to sing a couple of songs.
Clair Clair: We really would jump on the most random shows. There was a dog wedding. Two dogs got married on Valentine’s Day and all of our friends had real plans and they were like, ‘So what are you guys doing?’ We only had three songs, but we took it so seriously.
“There’s a misconception that because our lyrics are bad and bitchy, people think we’re hard to please, tough, and rude. Of course that side sometimes comes out, but it’s not who we are. It’s a persona.”
Coco: It was lit.
Clair Clair: It was like anything we could do that coincided with partying, we tried to do it. It gave us an excuse to go out which was nice and it made people invite us to things.
Madison: Did you have a special song for the dogs or was it literally your own music?
Coco: We just played whatever songs we had. I don’t think we even acknowledged that the dogs got married, now that I think about it.
Clair Clair: Were they there?
Clair Clair: It was probably so awkward for them.
Madison: What is it like going from playing those local parties to big festivals now?
Coco: It’s drastically different. It’s scary, but it’s been fun to learn how to operate in different scenarios and with different crowds. It has definitely made us better performers because before, it was low stakes. At Lollapalooza, there’s all these people here to see you, but it’s more fun. It’s cool that people now know our lyrics, they definitely didn’t know them before.
Clair Clair: Lollapalooza and the festivals were cooler. We’d never done anything like that. The biggest shows we had played before were openings for Turnstile, and I was laughing because, thinking about the audience, I don’t think they knew what to expect with us. So we’d walk out and it would be crickets. No one would say a word. It was an intimidating experience, but we learned so much.
Coco: Definitely character building.
Clair Clair: By the end, people were always so nice and into us. So when we got to the festivals, we had a tougher skin. Even if no one in the crowd knew us, it’s so fun being on a big-ass stage and seeing all these other artists we really like. Once we went out there, the audience was so receptive. It’s definitely less scary than I thought to have a big audience, especially when they like you.
Madison: How did you guys end up on the Turnstile lineup? Even when I saw that, I was like, What the hell [laughs]. I saw you open for Cowgirl Clue, which was the same genre, same vibes. I liked imagining you opening for Turnstile, because it’s my two personalities, but I didn’t know exactly how it fit for everyone else.
Coco: My friend has a boyfriend in a hardcore punk band called Glue, and they’re friends with Brendan [Yates]. She went to our album release show last October and posted a video. He liked what he saw on Instagram and DMed her: ‘Hey, do you think they would want to open for our tour coming up?’ We were like, Hell yeah. I don’t think we’d ever listened to [Turnstile] when they asked, but we started then and really liked them.
Clair Clair: We watched them play every night. Before we went on, we would play their music. We were obsessed by the end of it.
Coco: They were sweet guys, all of them. It was a good first big experience. I’m glad we did it with them.
Clair Clair: Definitely. As much as it didn’t make sense, it was very true to our roots to play shows with a totally different type of band. Everyone’s just there for the charade and party of it all. So it felt cool and was definitely in line with what we wanted to be doing, but it was scary as fuck.
Madison: That’s so iconic to be invited by the literal members of a hardcore band.
Clair Clair: I know. Then we saw them at Lollapalooza and one of them had our merch on.
Madison: So Taylor, for the longest time I thought your name was Coco. What’s the story behind the name?
Coco: I did the school announcements when I was in high school during my senior year, and I needed an alter ego for that. As Taylor, I’m not as abrasive or in your face. She’s very passive, and Coco is the opposite of that. When I met Claire, I purely went by Coco. Within the last three or so years, I started going by Taylor again. Coco is a character to me; she’s the girl I can’t be a hundred percent of the time, but I love her and respect her.
Madison: I also saw you tweeted a poll asking if you should drop the second Clair. Was that something you were actually debating?
Clair Clair: No! I mean kind of, for a little bit. Years ago, we saw one YouTube comment that was like: I love the music, but why is it Clair Clair? That’s redundant. The more serious things got, the bigger the songs got, we had a moment where we were like, ‘Oh, well, maybe Coco & Clair sounds more serious and people would take us seriously.’ But now we like it. It is what it is. It’s cuter, and everyone calls me that.
Madison: Are you guys still struggling to be taken seriously?
Coco: I guess not, since we’ve finally been playing big festivals and we’ve got some good features coming up on the album. It’s definitely been a long time coming, but I feel more respected these days than we ever have been. I think the album will solidify that we are songwriters before anything, and we’re good songwriters.
Clair Clair: We’ve been way more intentional with this project and spent a lot of time on it. We made sure we had features we actually liked and weren’t scrambling to connect with someone because it made some sort of sense. It was very much our opinions and tastes. So we feel comfortable with the message that we’re going to be putting out there and feel in control of the narrative. I wouldn’t say we’re struggling, it’s more so maybe we’ve surpassed the group of people who were annoying us at first.
Madison: When did you decide to take your own music seriously?
Clair Calir: That’s the thing, we always took it seriously. It wasn’t serious in the way that we were trying to be the next Miley Cyrus or whoever. We were making music because it was fun for us to listen to before we went out and it was fun to get on shows with our friends. We were both in college and had jobs, but we started only doing music during COVID because the timing was right. We started getting more attention and labels were hitting us up, so that’s when we were like, Well, if we’re going to do this, now’s the perfect time. In that sense, we started taking it more ‘seriously’ during COVID, because the opportunities presented themselves.
Coco: I’d just graduated college, and [Claire] had just moved back home because she was let go from work. So it was like, What are we going to do? Find other jobs that we hate, or should we actually give ourselves a genuine shot? We thought, We’ve made it this far, let’s see how far we can go if we actually start putting real work and effort into it.
Madison: ‘All the poppers in the world, but your nose in my business’ is my favorite lyric ever. What’s the process for coming up with this and your other brilliant lines?
“Coco is a character to me; she’s the girl I can’t be a hundred percent of the time, but I love her and respect her.”
Clair Clair: Honestly, we didn’t even plan to write that song. We were just having a sleepover. We used to always play through some beats and be like, ‘I want to record a funny song right now or see if I can come up with something.’ We played that [Smash Hit] beat and it came to Coco immediately. She basically freestyled a lot of that verse or recorded it in one take. We weren’t sure what it was going to sound like. The poppers line, though, I think you tweeted. It was so funny, so we put it in song.
Coco: I think I had it in my notes or [Twitter] drafts. Whenever I have a song idea, I write in my notes app. I have, like, a million one-liners that I have to use at some point.
Madison: Do you guys talk like your lyrics on a daily basis?
Coco: What do you mean by that?
I’m just kidding. [Laughs] We’re crazy in certain aspects, but we live in the suburbs and are very chill most of the time.
Clair Clair: We definitely joke that way—like it’s our lingo and language. We were just talking about that: There’s a misconception that because our lyrics are bad and bitchy, people think we’re hard to please, tough, and rude. Of course that side sometimes comes out, but it’s not who we are. It’s a persona.
Madison: Which early-2000s girlies do you each identify with?
Clair Clair: Nicole Richie.
Coco: Well, I definitely wouldn’t be Kim. I’m just kidding! I guess naturally I’d be Paris then, but I don’t feel connected to her. I feel like I’m also Nicole.
Clair Clair: We’re both very Nicole. [She and Paris Hilton] were so smart and hilarious, even with The Simple Life. They were laughing at everyone, but no one knew they were also in on the joke.
Madison: How would each of you describe ‘Love Me’?
Clair Clair: It’s about wanting affirmation, or figuring out what’s going on with someone, but you don’t even really care about them or you’re not even sure how you feel about them.
Coco: You want to know how they feel before you make up your own mind… It’s being in that weird position of wanting all the affirmation without giving any, because you’re like, I know I’m the prize, but you need to prove to me that you’re worth my time.
Madison: How long did the album take to make?
Clair Clair: Oh, about five years. We’ve been working on some of the songs for so long, but just because we never found the right project to put them on.
Coco: Some songs were written a year ago, but the last song that was recorded for it was made in July.
Madison: What moment is ‘Love Me’ for?
Clair Clair: I always think about getting ready to go out in your room.
Coco: Definitely pregame music. A lot of the songs on the album are good for just chilling and driving around. We spend a lot of time driving around in the suburbs, like going to Starbucks and having quiet, chill times. You’re back at home for the holidays, visiting your parents, it’s a little nippy outside [laughs]. You’re blasting Coco & Clair Clair and feeling carefree, good, and hot.
Clair Clair: I do picture [‘Love Me’ playing] in a car for sure, driving with the windows down.
Madison: Well, that sounds like the perfect note to end it on—it’s hot.
Coco: It’s sexy, actually.