Late in July, music fans with keen eyes may have noticed the debut of what appeared to be a new project pairing DJ Sober with singer-songwriter and producer Sudie. “Beach Bums,” a smooth seven-minute summer jam, popped up on the Gorilla vs. Bear site (alongside ultra-cool Palm Springs-inspired visuals) and made the rounds on various social media networks. But neither one publicly acknowledged that they were responsible for the song, instead referring inquisitive fans to an electronic production team called Tommy & Linda who just happened to look a lot like Sober and Sudie.
Tommy & Linda’s fictional backstory: both were musical outcasts raised by single parents in the town of Juno, Vermont. They became lifelong collaborators when they realized they both planned to perform the same Eurythmics song in a middle school talent show. Linda’s mother, a pilot, traveled to Dallas often and shared the dance floor at the infamous Starck Club with “the likes of Grace Jones and Annie Lennox.” After visiting the city Linda often heard about growing up, the pair “fell in love with Dallas’ music scene” and decided to stick around.
In promo photos, Sober and Sudie are in character, sporting slicked-back hair, black-and-white geometric patterns, and chic sunglasses lent to them by California-based eyeglass maker Garrett Leight (who then featured their images on the company’s social media platforms). They turned to these second selves in part because both were exploring new territory. “Sudie came to me, wanting to learn how to DJ, and I wanted to learn more about producing,” Sober says.
The result has a house/nu-disco sound. The first synth-heavy single is less of a beach party and more a current just beneath the ocean’s surface, the rhythm so hypnotic you almost don’t notice Linda’s airy vocals floating mid-track. For their next single, set to drop this month, they tapped local singer Bettie Cager for a more disco-influenced vibe, with soulful vocals and a ’90s house aesthetic. They plan to release an EP at the beginning of next year. But even as the duo gets more public, fans should be advised to keep the musicians’ personae in mind. It’s better that way.
“Obviously people from around here know it’s us,” Sober says. “But it’s fun to see them play along with our alter egos.”