1. How long have you known each other? What made you decide to form a band?
Cam and I met around October of 2011. We started kind of “folky” because we hadn’t found our sound yet and Cam didn’t have any pedals or effects in his set up yet. Once he started playing around with the violin acting as our lead guitar, we knew we wouldn’t turn back. Both of us were looking for a creative musical outlet separate from our classical roots and conservatory training. We were bored with the confines of how we practiced and played and both took to writing music together really organically. I think our similar backgrounds make us really compatible as writing partners.
2. Who are some of your main influences?
Radiohead is the first obvious one. We both also like classical and jazz music. Cole Porter is a huge influence for me, lyric wise. We also have a lot of non-musical influences, writers and artists who inspire us. Strong, female artists have always had a deep hold on me. I love Cindy Sherman, Sylvia Plath, and Joni Mitchell. We are actually heavily influenced by the news and politics of our world today; we tend to write about personal and universal things as they’re happening to us.
3. What do you prefer? Playing live or recording?
I (Emily) actually love both. There’s something forgiving about recording, where you have a lot of chances to get it right that I appreciate, but I also love the family we record with. Our producer, Devon Craig Johnson, is a blast to be around and work with; this last EP recording experience was wonderful. But, it’s hard to replace the immediate gratification of playing live to a great audience. You know if something is working and going over well in a live show; recording you have to wait and see if people will resonate with it. I can’t imagine only being a recording studio band though, I love touring too much.
4. Are you very influenced by the political climate of the country? Do you have an agenda? I guess that’s not fair, because we all have agendas, it’s part of life. But do you believe politics is important to music?
I actually think it’s pointless to be an artist and not have an agenda. Even pop stars with no real “message” to their music have an agenda to make people dance and have fun. Our message is a little more obvious, I suppose, but we feel it’s important to make people think when they listen to our music. Not just lyrically, but with our arrangements and harmonies, I think some music can be viewed as “dumbed down” these days. With the development of technology, it has become easy to make music that is not challenging to your brain or ears. So, I guess you could say our agenda is to create music that is different from the landscape of the industry today, while lyrically promoting equality for everyone.
5. How would you characterize your music? I’ve read it described as dark cabaret; what would you say?
We call it dark cabaret rock. There’s a theatricality that is in our live show that is similar to the old, smoky cabaret theaters of the 1940’s. I sing with my guts and Cameron alternates his playing from being a beautiful concert violinist to rocking like Keith Richards. The genre of indie music is so broad these days that we think all 3 of those words describe us perfectly, so we made up the genre.
6. I’ve been listening to a lot of the Velvet Underground lately and Lou Reed, may he rest in peace. Were they an influence on you, because I think I hear some Velvet/Reed in your music?
That’s incredible to hear, thank you! I love Velvet Underground as well. I think Lou Reed was a poet, first and foremost. His lyrics are incredible and totally not obvious. I guess we’ll never know exactly who influences which song, but we’re listening to all kinds of music all throughout the day, so I’m sure they snuck in our brains at some point. How can they not?! They were too good. I can tell you for certain the love of his life, Laurie Anderson sure had an influence on me (Emily); she is also an amazing artist.
7. Anything else you want your fans to know?
Our EP and latest music video are online! “Peace Arch” is on iTunes and anywhere you can find music and the video is up on Youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/
8. COME TO PITTSBURGH!!!!!!!
We want to! What are some venues you recommend? We’ll be there in a heartbeat if we can lock it down! xoxo