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Rapallo Set Sail in More Ways Than One With “V.I.P.”

The Montreal indie-pop duo’s latest video makes a splash. 

by Maggie McPhee

Photos by Molly Verte

As their debut LP appears beyond the horizon, Montreal-based indie-pop duo Rapollo pronounce land ahoy with a new video single about a sleazy seaborn swingers sexcapade. With their first single since 2020’s “Fine Living,” Nick Lanyon and Kyla Jolene have brought their playful duet vocals, storytelling lyrics and ecstatic musicianship to the open seas, where anything is possible. 

Directed and edited by Jolene, the “V.I.P.” video stars the duo and a cast of characters dripping with 1970’s country club swank gambling and schmoozing, and Jolene herself dripping with literal tequila. Montreal is known for many things and now, thanks to Rapallo, it’s on the map as a yacht lover’s paradise.

But the pair balance playfulness with proficiency, and we caught up with them about yacht rock’s place in modern music and releasing new material following a streaming mega success. With their upcoming album, the SS Rapallo is ready to leave the harbour, and we want to be aboard. 

Who is Rapallo? And how would you describe the music you two play?

Rapallo is Nick and Kyla, two best friends that write and record songs together in Montreal. Our music is smooth, catchy, and a little bratty. We love underlining a pop hook with jazz chords and textures that evoke slick, early-80s production. Lyrically, we mostly write absurd stories from the perspective of fictional characters. 

Congratulations on your new video. Can you tell us a bit more about how the video came to be? Did you find a party or did the party find you?

Thanks! The party definitely found us—we sent an open invitation offering drinks and hot dogs to anyone who showed up to the apartment where we shot it. So we saw lots of friends and met some new people that day. Kyla directed and edited the video, Nick mixed drinks and grilled hot dogs. 

How would you describe the vibes on set shooting this video? 

Like the song itself, the vibes were fun but chaotic. We had one afternoon to shoot, the drinks were flowing, and the weather forecast predicted a huge storm. Fortunately, the weather ended up being gorgeous that day. 

How do you see yacht rock fitting into the modern music landscape? 

It’s doing pretty well for itself. That huge Sabrina Carpenter song “Espresso” rocks some pretty yachty production. “Mean Girls” by Charli XCX has an incredible piano break that sounds like it could have been lifted from a Michael McDonald song. Steely Dan has a whole meme culture among diehard fans born well after Gaucho. It’s funny to think that rock critics used to dismiss a lot of that music as inauthentic or insipid. We’re always reevaluating the past. 



Rapallo currently has two uploads on Spotify, one of which is your 2020 single “Fine Living”, which has more than one million streams. How does it feel releasing a new single four years later following that success? 

It feels great. We’ve been working on our upcoming album for years, so we’re thrilled to finally share some of it. We actually have an EP from 2022 that mysteriously disappeared from streaming services a few days ago, but it will be back up soon (probably by the time people read this). As for following the success of “Fine Living,” we make no promises—we just want to get our music out to as many people as we can!

What are you most excited about your debut LP, Merger, set to release this October? 

We worked hard to make a cohesive album with a lot of wild lyrical conceits, so we’re excited to hear how people interpret the record as a whole. We’re also looking forward to playing our release show in Montreal and our first out-of-town gigs. We’ll announce the dates soon. 

Describe a perfect day in Montreal.

Start the day with a cappuccino and an almond croissant at Caffè Italia in Little Italy. Bike to Jeanne Mance park for a picnic with friends. Play pickup baseball at the park after lunch. Go to a casse-croûte for dinner. Then Karaoke. 

You’re on a yacht, the sun is warm, you’ve got a margarita in hand, you’re living large — what’s the perfect song to put on to set the mood? 

Margarita by Marc Jordan. 

Anything else you would like us to know about Rapallo or your new video single?

The events depicted in the lyrics for “V.I.P.” are fictional—any resemblance to real swingers cruises is purely coincidental!