The adidas Ozweego takes inspiration from 1998's Ozweego 3, slims down the silhouette for a modern look, and sits it on the plush '90s adiPrene sole. To coincide with the release of the Ozweego, we sat down with Australian R&B duo CVIRO & GXNXVS to talk about that sweet spot where the '90s meet the modern era. The Ozweego is available now at Hype DC.
There’s something special about CVIRO & GXNXVS. The Australian R&B duo – pronounced Cairo & Genius, just FYI – are tailor-made for the current climate of contemporary R&B. A perfect blend of ‘90s flavour and modern song structure, the duo’s music has the colour and fun that transformed the genre into a cultural force but never feels derivative or dated.
The duo’s 2018 EP Now You Know put them on the map, earning spins on OVO Sound Radio, no less. In 2019, their slow jam "Negotiations" is earning spins on all platforms before another EP planned before the end of the year.
Complex AU spoke to the duo about the meeting point of '90s and modern R&B, and another perfect blend of the two eras – the adidas Ozweego.
Your music is obviously '90s influenced, but you guys are too young for it to be purely because of nostalgia – where did the love of ‘90s music come from?
CVIRO: I definitely was exposed to it from a young age, all my older cousins would bump heaps of '90s R&B at all the family gatherings. I really didn't delve deep into it until 2014 when I stumbled across a group called H-Town and listened to their 1993 album Fever For The Flavor. it opened my mind to a whole new sound of music that I was familiar with but had not been fully exposed to. From there, I went down a rabbit hole and discovered so many acts I had never heard of and found so much to draw inspiration from, including the way I sing. I literally fell in love with everything from the era, the sound, melodies, harmonies, beats, styling, visuals, performances. Everything!
GXNXVS: It would have been around the same time for me and probably the same album. CVIRO introduced me to a lot of the older stuff like 112, Jagged Edge, etc that I wasn't exposed to when I was a kid. After that I just started digging nonstop, finding different sounds and just study the music in general.
Can you tell me about the process of using that ‘90s influence to create modern music?
CVIRO: There is no real process anymore at this stage it's just something that has become ingrained in our fundamentals of everyday life. We just naturally bring that flavour when we create.
GXNXVS: For me, the process is more about thinking what's best for the record. Not everything is always going to sound '90s but I think because of CVIRO's melodies and tone it has that vibe no matter what kind of beat is there as long as it feels right. When we link up now it's just natural to gravitate to the sound in one way or another.
Let’s imagine anything is possible for a minute here. You can take any producer or vocalist from the ‘90s and match them up with a modern producer or vocalist from the current era. Which combination would you choose?
CVIRO: I'm going to be selfish with my answer and say I want to make a Devante Swing/Jodeci collaboration with C&G and see what we can cook up. I don't know how to make it happen but that shit would be crazy.
GXNXVS: There are so many dope people I'd put us with, too many... I'd pair us up with Scott Storch, Timbaland & Ginuwine, they all still have their heads in the game. Like CVIRO said though Jodeci would be the ultimate though.
We’re looking at the adidas Ozweego here, which combines 90s tech and modern aesthetic. Do you think you could claim it as the first ever CVIRO and GXNXVS signature sneaker?
CVIRO: It is definitely in the right lane, if it was an official C&G signature sneaker. Combining elements of the past and present and making something classic. Tell adidas to give us a call, let's hook this up!
GXNXVS: I vibe what they've done with the shoe and how they reworked it to incorporate some throwback elements, but If adidas is trying to get that official C&G shoe, they have to come to the source [laughs].
Let’s flip some GOAT Show questioning here. You can only give me one answer and there’s no getting around it. What’s the GOAT ‘90s R&B album?
CVIRO: Damn that's hard! It would be like asking a parent who their favourite kid is, I really can't say. However, I think the most important album is Jodeci's first Forever My Lady from 1991. In my opinion, it birthed the whole sound that we love and directly influenced everyone from for like 112, Dru Hill, H-Town, Jagged Edge, Ginuwine, Aaliyah, Missy, Faith Evans, the list goes on. Shoutouts to the kings of this shit.
GXNXVS: Probably hardest question in history, I'm just going to go with one of my favourites and say Ginuwine's The Bachelor. For me, it's probably one of the most timeless records for that period, if it came out today it'd still go crazy.
How about the GOAT R&B album from the 2010s?
CVIRO: I am going to have to get off on a technicality on this one again. The first album that popped to my mind was Drake's So Far Gone from 2009. Hearing that album for the first time was another big moment in my life. I had never heard anyone combine melodies with rapping like him before. After that, I knew one day I would create my own sound and lane in music.
GXNXVS: I'm with what CVIRO said there. If we being specific though, I'd probably say The Trilogy by The Weeknd. That project made me want to take this music shit seriously.