The music of Indiana born pop-folk sisters, Lily and Madeleine, has been described as seamless, deep and relaxed with having a haunting “blood harmony.” The duo began by simply uploading videos of them singing covers to YouTube. Eventually, the girls were picked up by producer Paul Mahern, who encouraged them to start writing. Even John Mellencamp was moved by their voices and asked for guest vocals on the soundtrack for his musical.
The duo’s third album ‘Keep it Together‘ is out now. We caught up with them before their upcoming tour to talk about the album, songwriting, and the importance of having control of their brand.
Your music has been described as seamless, deep and relaxed, how would you describe your music?
Madeleine: Our music has kind of changed as we’ve been making it throughout the past couple years. At the beginning our music was kind of simple in melody. I would say now it’s more rock.
Lily: I would say our music pretty much relies on melody, so if it’s rock it’s more melodic rock.
People draw inspiration from all kinds of things, what inspires your songs?
Madeleine: Definitely life experiences as we’ve gotten more comfortable and confident as artists. I feel like a lot of my lyrics come from that. Just from feeling more empowered. Lily and I have been touring a lot over the past couple years and we’ve learned a lot. But there is always a little bit of self doubt.
What tends to be the hardest part of being a young artist?
Madeleine: We learned a lot, but for me I’m still lacking on the knowledge of the business side of it. Sometimes it’s overwhelming with the business aspect. I kind of just want to write songs and perform but it’s part of what we have to do.
Even with it being overwhelming, you both are very hands on with all aspects of your career. Do you feel like that’s important for an artist?
Madeleine: I think having control or some control over every aspect is very helpful.
Being a duo and two creative forces, what is your writing process like?
Lily: I think it’s great, Madeleine and I are usually on the same page but we also have slightly different personalities and perspective of each situation, so I think it’s nice. I wouldn’t want to be doing this alone. It takes some of the pressure off both of us.
Madeleine:It’s true, there is less pressure –because if I’m missing an idea or if I’m feeling stuck on something I can go to Lily and she usually can get me out of my writers block. She’ll give me something to work with. It’s nice to have a partner in everything.
On the new album “Keep it Together” what song do each of you connect to most?
Lily: My favorite songs are probably ‘Westfield’ and ‘Hourglass.’ They’re the ones I have the most emotional and personal connection to. I wrote ‘Westfield’ mostly by myself and ‘Hourglass’ we co-wrote, but the main idea for ‘Hourglass’ is very personal to me.
Madeleine: I would also say ‘Hourglass’ but I’ll go with a different one. I like ‘Nothing,’ it’s one I wrote mostly by myself. But it’s really fun to sing. I feel a lot of emotion behind those words and I’m really happy with how it turned out on the album. I’m just really proud of that one.
I’m interested in hearing who you both are currently listening to in regards to music artists.
Lily: I’m listening to ‘2088’ by Big Sean and Jhene Aiko.
Madeleine: I’m listening to Alabama Shakes, their new album is really good. I also saw Kurt Vile a couple weeks ago and that was a fun show. I’ve also been listening to more podcasts recently.
The music world is full of amazing talent, who inspires you?
Madeleine: I really like Lana Del Ray, she’s a good example of someone who is a pop artist but also alternative. We both also really like Marina and the Diamonds. I listened to Radiohead a lot in high school and I just like the weirdness of their music. It’s beautiful, it’s strange and hypnotizing all at the same time. I’d love to make music that is lovely and kind of strange.
Lily: Marina and the Diamonds are really good at picking a specific vibe for each album and sticking to it. She’s good at changing the energy but not who she is- which is a challenge for a songwriter. I connect more with her words more than Lana.
Official Tour Dates:
May 1 @ Rose Music Hall
May 3 @ Three Links
May 4 @ Cactus Cafe
May 6 @ Rebel Lounge
May 7 @ The Loft @ UC San Diego
May 10 @ Troubadour
May 11 @ Swedish American Hall
May 13 @ Doug Fir Lounge
May 14 @ Ballard Homestead
May 15 @ The Bartlett
May 17 @ Kilby Court
May 18 @ Lost Lake Lounge
May 20 @ Reverb
May 21 @ The Mill
Aug 26 @ Fountain Square