We here at GGA think that The Doubleclicks are the bees’ knees. The cat’s pajamas. The crème de la crème if you get my drift. They are known for their Billboard-charting sibling folk-pop music and also the voices behind the highly successful Roaring Rainbow event that supported trans youth. Seriously, they freaking rock. Laser Malena-Webber and Aubrey Turner are expanding their vast repertoire of goodness with a brand new musical, Teaching a Robot to Love. They wrote and produced the music alongside composer and producer E. Aaron Wilson!

We recently got the chance to chat with Laser Malena-Webber about Teaching a Robot to Love! Check out everything they had to share surrounding the upcoming musical! Teaching a Robot to Love will drop on November 19, 2021! You can preorder physical copies or digital copies of the album now and keep an eye out on their Instagram and Tiktok and sign up for their special musical-specific newsletter for more news and announcements!

RELATED: The Doubleclicks have announced the release date for Teaching a Robot to Love!

Laser Malena-Webber Interview

The Doubleclicks

Audrey Turner and Laser Malena-Webber of The Doubleclicks.

Julia Roth: What was your inspiration behind creating Teaching a Robot to Love?

Laser Malena-Webber: Overall, I love robots, I love sci-fi musicals, and I love stories with happy queer characters that aren’t coming out stories. That being said, throughout my transition— coming out as non-binary, having top surgery, going through therapy, and so on — I’ve had various stages of feeling like a robot pretending to be a person or wishing I could be a brain in a box without a body. This musical is about all of those things. 

JR: Did the music or the story come first?

LMW: In some ways, this musical started with a song —Normal Human Party” — which I wrote after throwing a party at my house that made me feel like a total anxiety monster. This song became a big part of the musical. It’s much more celebratory in context, which I think is the value of art. You take your anxiety and you turn it into a party.

The rest of the story came to me In the middle of the night. I woke up at 3 am and had an idea for this story about a woman who has to teach a robot how to be a person, but the woman herself is not that good at being a person, so the robot ends up teaching her. I wrote the outline for the musical all in one night, and it grew from there.

JR: What was the creative process like while working with COVID restrictions?

LMW: COVID did a lot of things to this musical. When it started, this was supposed to be a 45-minute musical with maybe 10 songs. But because we couldn’t get together to read the story and couldn’t record it, it kept growing. I had nothing to do but think about this story, and when I sent songs to Aaron, he kept sending them back and telling me to make them longer, which meant the story got more complex, and it grew and grew. So this went from a tiny mini-musical to a full-length story—the album is an hour-long and the stage version with script is over 2 hours. 

COVID also delayed everything for the normal reasons, of course. Aaron was a rock star, taking care of his kids all day and composing music after they went to bed. But we did get to do Zoom readings, and once we could get together again, we had a huge project to create.

JR: What has been the most fun you have had while producing the pieces for the musical?

LMW: We toiled on this project in solitude for more than a year before ever getting to put it together in person, and the day we got to bring everybody together in the studio was incredible. It was truly one of the best days of my life. We were all newly vaccinated and fresh out of lockdown, and we got to sing songs together. It’s so awesome to see something come to life thanks to the talents of other people, and I’m so thankful. We recorded all day and then jumped into the pool and felt like rock stars. 

JR: Did you know who you wanted to be involved from the beginning? Or did people approach you?

LMW: We knew we wanted E. Aaron Wilson involved very early on. He co-wrote most of the songs with me and produced the album. I met Aaron because he is the musical director for a bunch of amazing musical improv shows at UCB, where I did improv back before COVID times, and he’s an incredible guy who we’ve worked with before on our song “Wet Money. He knows a million things and is a brilliant composer, and it was a joy to work with him, especially as he got deeply into dubstep despite himself.

The cast we assembled very early, too. We brought them all in to do a reading of an early version of the script, knowing secretly we would probably ask them to be in the cast, and they each lit up the characters in a way we didn’t expect. Yes, I knew Amy Dallen as a mad scientist would be amazing (if you haven’t seen her webseries Future Girl, I recommend it), but she brings something to Faun that is more delightful and troubling than we could’ve hoped for. Bonnie Gordon‘s playing of Lavender, the “mean girl,” keeps getting meaner, and thus we keep writing meaner things for her to say.

Xander Jeanneret‘s portrayal of Billie, the narrator, artist and manic pixie user experience programmer is an absolute dream to behold. Aliza Pearl has been a gift: Mary is our main character and the most complicated, both because she’s very similar to me and also very not. Aliza has said some amazing things to me about her understanding of Mary that have really helped this character develop. The last cast member we brought was Zach Reino for our villain, tech CEO Norton Norton. I’ll be honest. I wrote the character to his voice — I am obsessed with his podcast Off Book — and I was just praying he’d have time to say yes.

JR: Will we ever get the chance to see this performed live?

LMW: I really hope so! Producing live stage productions is not my specialty. Right now, our hope is that we can launch this album with a big splash, and that will help us tap into some production resources to get this on stage somewhere sometime. I’d really like to see it done right — and I think that means finding an amazing director and producer, both of whom would not be me!

 

JR: Are we going to get music videos for each of the songs similar to Science at Home?

LMW: Yes! We’re releasing music videos right now for songs in the musical. People can find them on our Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube page! Science at Home was super fun because it involved our fans — our favorite kind of video to make, to be honest. But we also have been doing a bunch of different stuff, live performances, animation … it’s been a fun, creative challenge. 

JR: Would The Doubleclicks be willing to create another musical album in the future?

LMW: I would love to. It’s been so long since I’ve done anything creative other than this musical, and my role in writing songs ended a long time ago. So I’d love to make something new! This time maybe without COVID, so Aaron doesn’t have to work in the middle of the night, and I can leave my house for inspiration. 

JR: What is on the horizon for you?

LMW: Right now, we are in full-on musical hype mode and, like I said, I would love for somebody to approach us and turn this musical into a stage show or a film… contact our manager (morgan@thedoubleclicks.com) if that’s you. For the future, we’re looking at possibly touring in the first half of next year. I’m eager to get back on the road! Until then, we’ll be busily shipping out velociraptor plushies and producing a 10-year-anniversary greatest hits album! 

In my other time, I teach classes about Kickstarter to creators, Laser Campaigns and Aubrey’s been producing records, including this amazing one for Sunday Comes Afterwards.

This interview was originally published on 11/2/21.

MONELISE Shares the Inspiration Behind Her Music, the #SecretSymphony Event and Much More

 

 

 

Julia Roth
Catch Me