Electronic duo AR/CO tell Notion about their latest single, life on 'planet AR/CO', and the ultimate pursuit of happiness. 

Their sound having been described as if MGMT met Daft Punk in a dusty desert rave, the surreal comparison sums up the world of AR/CO pretty succinctly. A rising electronic duo who have been featuring on collabs since 2021, new track “Call Me By My Name” marks their official debut single.


Consisting of Mali-Koa and Leo Stannard, both bring a set of unique experience to the group. Mali-Koa was born in Australia to a family of Maori heritage, and is already an established and successful songwriter. British-born Leo has his own set of credits, having written with the likes of Camelphat. Meeting in London and forming in lockdown, their collaborative style brings infectious soundscapes together with dance anthem melodies.


The concept of escapism drives the pair’s musical output, as evident in new track “Call Me By My Name”. It’s psychedelic pop at its finest, as the pair’s vocals blend for a euphoric trip into AR/CO’s world. Their mission statement hopes listeners will leave inhibitions at the door, set worries aside, and use their liberating dance hits as a stepping stone towards a new age. We caught up with the pair to chat about ‘planet AR/CO’, their future ambitions, and the ultimate pursuit of happiness.

Hey AR/CO! How’s your summer going so far?

Hey! Cracking so far, especially that heatwave last week. Honestly – most of our time has been spent in window-less studios writing songs ironically, but we’ve been finally getting out and about recently and are ready for festival roll out!

Congratulations on your new single, “Call Me By My Name” – it definitely has a summer anthem feel to it. Was that your intention during the writing process? Did you want it to have an uplifting vibe?
We were both sitting around thinking how amazing it’d be to be, to be dancing somewhere on a beach or in a field, or being in a crowd. “Call me by my name” was our slice of escapism in the pandemic!
Mali-Koa you’re Australian-born and Leo you’re British – how did you meet and end up forming the group?
We wrote together 2 years before AR/CO, on an Australian writing camp in London. It was that classic case songwriting scenario “this has been great, let’s get back in”. Took us a few years to get back in, but now we’re here.
You describe the new track as ‘pure escapism’, and AR/CO itself was born in lockdown. Do you feel like your music has offered the opportunity to take a break from reality over the past few years?
Hell yeah, why be in Bethnal Green when you can imagine you’re in the depths of space dancing with no obligations or emails? That’s how our music makes us feel, like whatever problems we had at that time, they were irrelevant. We created planet AR/CO as a place for our minds to wander,  everyone we’ve shared it with so far has wanted to come too! The more the merrier in our opinion!

I know you have Maori and Trinidadian heritage between you, are these influences present in your music? What else do you feel like your sound is inspired by?

Both cultures have strong ties to the music and the joy it brings, you can hear bits of that in our music too. It’s all about celebrating and being connected!

Where would be your dream location to play your “Call Me By My Name?”, I feel like it has a big festival feel…

Our bucket list venue is Red Rocks, in Nevada!

“Under The Sun” with Franky Wah has been a massive tune for you recently, how has it felt watching that blow-up? And seeing Franky play it all over the world?

Franky is having his moment and we’re so glad to be along for the ride! People love and connect with this song for so many reasons, we’re glad it’s out in the world with a friend.

A lot of your imagery is intergalactic and space-related – could you tell me a bit about this and your AR/CO world?

AR/CO is a wonderful figment of our imaginations, a free planet which is home to us and our music. The first chapter of our time on AR/CO is all about the pursuit of happiness.

What do you feel like you learn from each other when you’re making music and collaborating? Are there aspects of the process you’re each more drawn to?

We get along like a house on fire, which is lucky cos we’re now in a position where we spend nearly every day together – ha. We work across it all together, and have such a great collaborative synergy, makes the creative process so much easier.

What’s next for AR/CO? Anything coming up you’re excited for?

We’re playing a few summer festivals with Franky! All Points East and Creamfields, which we’re super excited about. We have a couple of new records we’re wrapping up now and there’s some more unfolding of the AR/CO world to come.