Los Angeles quartet Tic Tic Boom! began five years ago, when singer Leilani Francisco and guitarist Mike DeLay started dating. “I wrote a song and brought it to him,” Francisco tells CMJ, “and the rest grew from there.”

The group plays a brand of hook-laced synthpop that casts live drums and guitars as conspicuously as it does sugary vocals and catchy synth loops. Francisco and DeLay released their second EP, Reason And Rhymes, earlier this year, and Francisco says an important turning point for the band came when they decided to self-produce that latest offering.

“We took a good chunk of time off from the band,” she says, during which DeLay went through a certification program for audio engineering at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood. “We both felt like it was important to be able to take creative control through the ability to self produce.” It was at school that DeLay met bassist Matt Gurgol, who, along with drummer Morrison Nichols, make up the rest of Tic Tic Boom!’s live band.

Tic Tic Boom! by Tic Tic Boom!

After DeLay graduated, he and Francisco moved to a musician-populated apartment complex next to the 101 freeway, where they began to furnish themselves a studio and record the songs that would become Reasons And Rhymes. The two still live and record there today. “Because of our proximity to the freeway we are able to make as much noise as we want any hour of the day,” Francisco says. “It’s a cool environment because we are surrounded by like-minded artists who are all working in music.”

The choice to go it alone in the studio hasn’t come without its challenges. Having started from scratch, the Delay and Francisco had to buy their studio equipment piece by piece, as the money came in, and wait to record each further track of Reason And Rhymes until they had the right gear for it. They’ve also had issues with crashing computers and hard drives along the way. Still, they say, the effort is worth it. “We definitely plan to continue self-producing,” Francisco says.

Since releasing Reason And Rhymes, Tic Tic Boom! has signed a deal with boutique publisher Zoomania Music, got added to Pandora, and had songs picked up by programs on Showtime and MTV. The band has recorded acoustic versions of some Reasons And Rhymes songs, and is working on a third EP that should come out in early 2012. After that, look for the quartet to make a trip to Austin for SXSW and spend as much time as the can touring elsewhere in the lower 48.

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