Stephen Santa Teresa and Greg Schilling are all smiles as they sit in their studio. The Los Angeles-based duo better known as The Attire, have discovered that the power of the internet knows no bounds for artists everywhere, and they acknowledge that in their greeting as they adjust their Zoom camera. The two have been making music together since meeting in middle school but got their big break when their original song, “Naked,” went viral on TikTok in March 2021.
Since then, The Attire have been busy releasing more music, including the song, “Luxury,” their debut album, Songs About Girls Like You, and their latest single – “Sriracha” featuring WOOSUNG of Korean pop-rock band, The Rose. The song, which has already amassed over 1 million views on its music video since its release last month, marks the band’s first K-Pop collaboration.
Kpopconcerts.com had the opportunity to sit down with The Attire to chat about collaborating with WOOSUNG, the steps that go into creating a hit song, and all the ingredients that go into making their sriracha extra spicy.
KPC: ‘Sriracha’ has a distinctly fun, dance-y vibe. I could definitely see this being played in the club. But the lyrics tell the story of bouncing back after a heartbreak – what went into the writing and production of the single and what inspired the song?
Greg: So interestingly enough, ‘Sriracha’ was actually born from an altercation I kind of had with a health coach of mine. I used to have a really debilitating illness and I sought out a health coach to help me out since Western medicine wasn’t working for me at the time and I got a holistic health coach. And we worked a little bit together for about a year, I improved a little bit but not a lot. Basically, I went to the doctor’s about a year later, and the doctors gave me a concerning test result and I reached out back to this person after a year of working with them.
Instead of addressing the result, they just tripled their price on me. So I was like, ‘What the heck?!’ I was so frustrated, so heartbroken, so sad – I felt kind of abandoned, to be honest. And I took that frustration and that pain and I shared it with Stephen, and we came up with this really fun, ‘moving forward’-like message. And interestingly enough, one of the things this health coach had me do was I couldn’t eat nightshades and lectins – basically spicy foods. I love spicy foods, so of course, that’s what we did – we wrote a song that was basically like, ‘I can eat whatever I want. Forget you.’ I’m gonna move on, move forward, I can eat my sriracha and have it extra spicy. So we took that concept and used that.
Now when we were making it, we wanted it to be kind of a breakup song in disguise. Obviously, this was a platonic, professional relationship in a way, but we wanted to make it a universal message. So it started with Stephen’s bass line, you know, the feeling of moving on. And then the line, ‘My sriracha extra spicy,’ and the rest is funk history.
KPC: Thanks for the background – I love that! it’s definitely not what I was expecting and I hope everything’s okay now.
Greg: Thank you, it is! It’s so much better, my health has improved so much and I’m so grateful. And to be honest, no ill will towards any of the people in the past. It was a learning experience for me and it brought us a beautiful song that we could share and a beautiful message of moving forward and getting rid of anything that doesn’t serve you and being in your most powerful self.
KPC: So you guys just collaborated with WOOSUNG, which is awesome. How did that come about?
Stephen: So we knew we needed a feature on this song, just because we wanted to give it extra spice. We needed the extraness of the record, we needed someone to give it a little bit of a kick in the sense of adding more flavor to it. But we met WOOSUNG through our manager. They have a mutual friend, long story short.
But when we first met him…man. He blew us away. He’s just so charismatic. We were recording in the studio with him and just, seeing his whole process. He’s been doing this for way longer than us, so we were really grateful to learn a few things from him and see how he works and that side of the music business. K-Pop is a lot different than the American pop world but different in amazing ways. Their connection with their fans and the community that they build is out of this world. He really showed us how close we could be with the people that listen to our music.
KPC: And with the global influence of K-Pop too, it’s been really interesting in the last two, three, five years now, to see more Western artists collaborate with K-Pop artists and even Asian artists as a whole. Music these days is so global.
Greg: Yeah, and you know what’s really cool is that Stephen and I have been friends – he’s pretty much my brother. He is Asian American, and it’s been really cool as a friend, an ally, and a brother, to embrace that and really help out – give people voices and support, and in this case, work with an amazing artist in the K-Pop space.
Like Stephen said, we met WOOSUNG through our manager and we sent him the song and he freaking loved it. Music is a universal language that connects all people regardless of race or nationality or anything like that. And he just loved the song. We tracked his vocals, and we became really good friends. That guy is serious talent. I saw him at the GRAMMY Museum just to perform and he sang like, two songs and gave a little interview, and he packed the entire room. I was like, ‘Whoa, this guy’s a serious deal.’ These people love him. And I saw why. As soon as he opened his mouth and sang, I was like, ‘That guy’s a star. I can’t wait to bring him on to bless the track.’ He’s awesome.
KPC: You can really tell when someone has that star quality! Backpacking off of that, could we expect any more international collaborations from you guys in the future?
Greg: Possibly! There may be some things in the works right now; we can’t really say for us in terms of performing or doing something with somebody special in the K-Pop realm. Can’t say too much about it right now.
KPC: Well, we’re definitely looking forward to it! So in the music video, you guys go on this insane getaway, this great escape. Are there any big trips that stick in your mind just as the one in the music video might?
Greg: (laughs) The trip from my bed to the refrigerator. That’s always a good one.
Stephen: That’s the greatest trip of all time because it costs nothing.
Greg: You know what’s funny – Stephen and I, we’re always working. It’s so interesting. Fortunately, we love our job, we love our fans, so you know we’re slaving away in the studio in dark rooms and crafting the next song, the next thing. We’re on TikTok, we’re marketing our music, so we don’t really get a lot of time to have a lot of trips. Speaking for myself, I really don’t get a chance to get out there much. But what’s cool about that is that it makes the opportunity to tour in the future so much sweeter. When that comes, that’ll be the best road trip of all time. That’ll be the best trip because it will be unforgettable and so uniquely different from the routine that we’ve been in. Especially pre- and post-pandemic, we’re still in that writing sync – I wouldn’t call it a rut because it’s fun, but we’re just really maneuvering in that pattern. So it’ll be really fun, really cool when that happens.
KPC: And there’s just something about meeting fans in person. The internet is all great, but when people actually show up and you can be one-on-one with them, that’s invaluable.
Stephen: To build that connection, there’s nothing that can replace it. Not even through the internet. It’s a great tool but in person, seeing your favorite artist live and seeing a live performance, in general, is just something you can’t ever replace.
KPC: Absolutely – it’s surreal! So the ‘Sriracha’ music video ends with a disco in the back of a semi-truck. If you guys could have another one of those, who would be your dream guests?
Stephen: I would say Keanu Reeves. (laughs) I don’t know why. I just think he would be a fun person to hang out with. And it’s not music-related, so just to see how he would react.
Greg: (laughs) I think mine would be a serious hodgepodge. It would be like Elton John, Dua Lipa, Baby Keem, Mike Posner, just all these people. I don’t know, it’d be awesome to party with them in the disco truck. That’d be so crazy. And I’m also big fans of all those people, like they inspire me. Charlie Puth, Bruno Mars – that’s a party.
KPC: How did you guys even think of putting that into the video? I had never seen that before and I just thought it was so fun.
Greg: The director! Shoutout to Justin Thorne. He’s really a genius at what he does and he’s an incredible talent. Justin is truly a renaissance man because he was a signed artist himself. An amazing artist, singer, producer, he directs, he dances – I mean he’s like this amazing renaissance guy. He’s so creative. Originally we had this theme for the video–
Stephen: It was just gonna be in a room.
Greg: Yeah, in a room. We were like, ‘What about a white wall and red accents?” But Justin was like, ‘How about this? No. Not at all. Throw that away, here’s the actual idea.’ And he turned it into this cinematic movie. We were like, ‘What the hell, dude!’ And he came up with the disco truck and we had all these people on the side of the truck shaking it as we were dancing with the disco ball. He had a serious vision. So shout out to Justin.
KPC: That’s great that it worked out the way it did! I know we talked a little bit about the internet and TikTok earlier, but I wanted to quickly go back to it since you guys are kind of TikTok favorites now. Is there anything unique that you’ve seen from interacting with fans online versus in person where you’re like, ‘Wow, I never would have thought I’d be doing this when we first started doing music?’
Greg: TikTok is a really unique platform, and I think it’s funny because you can express a part of your personality that you wouldn’t necessarily express in person. You can really go wild on there.
Stephen: And also in person, when you’re meeting someone at a show or who likes your music, you could only get to know them for so long. You’re not sitting with them for an hour, so building a little community on TikTok, you can go back and forth with questions; you can go back and forth with sharing your personality and the things you like and develop a real relationship. So when they do see you in person, they’re like, ‘Oh my God! I feel like I already know you!’
KPC: And even with internet interactions in general, you can be a little weird. And that’s fine – you don’t have to be constantly professional.
Stephen: And the cool thing with TikTok, too – at least for our page – what we kind of portray, we don’t really have to be super curated. It can be off-the-cuff, whatever we’re feeling, whatever we wanna joke about or talk about. You just hold the phone and that’s it.
Greg: Nine times out of ten, I think our page is quite reflective of our sense of humor, which I think is cool. I do wonder if when people meet me and Stephen, if they’re like, ‘I thought you’d be way crazier.’ (laughs) But you know, it’s really exciting. TikTok is very interesting to me. I’m very curious as an artist, as a songwriter, as a producer, as to what TikTok holds for artists in the near future. I think it has a lot of potential, and it’s also very crowded so it’s hard to break through. So I’m going to watch that very carefully; I’m very hyper-focused and interested and curious about what TikTok has in store for artists, especially developing artists. It’s exciting stuff.
KPC: It’s definitely crazy how much social media has become such a huge part of work, business and art!
Greg: Yeah, you know half the job of an artist is really marketing your music.
Stephen: It’s just as important as spending hundreds of hours perfecting a song. You have to put in the same amount of work, if not more, marketing it.
KPC: One-hundred percent. So what can we expect from The Attire in the coming months that you can say?
Greg: Definitely a lot of shows! A lot of content, a lot of us really promoting our album. I think that’s going to be our main focus for the next three to six months – really taking this album to the next level and getting it to a global stage, and doing whatever that takes.
KPC: We do have one last fun question: What’s your favorite thing to put sriracha on?
Stephen: Yeah, everything. But we’re doing K-Pop right now, so I’d say the best thing is bulgogi. Any bulgogi dish, sriracha, all of that.
KPC: Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us! As a final thought, what would you want to say to fans reading this?
The Attire: Hey, we’re The Attire! Thanks so much for listening to our music and this interview. You guys are the best and we really appreciate you. Go stream, ‘Sriracha’ featuring WOOSUNG right now. Don’t miss it – it’s extra spicy!
Big thanks again to The Attire for chatting with us and congrats on the release of ‘Sriracha!’ Be sure to follow the band’s updates through TikTok – we’re looking forward to supporting their global chapter.