London – On the back of a solid 32-date tour over November and December that took in the U.S., U.K. and Europe, Indianapolis siblings Lily And Madeleine took a well-earned break from the road. Their travels are set to resume again in February when the duo criss-cross the States with a total of 17 shows confirmed to date. Impressed by the girls’ Bush Hall, London concert in November, Best New Bands asked the sisters to look back on their journey and ahead to the new year.
Just 17 and 19 years respectively, the Jurkiewicz sisters set an early, and quite surprising goal, to release an album a year for three years and are currently two down with one to go. The duo’s 2014 release, Fumes, was highlighted by Best New Bands in a year-end round-up. What drives them on to fulfill this particular ambition is a singular approach to their music, bound by a strong sense of family and a quiet appreciation of where they are in the world.
Your European tour closed on 4 December in Stockholm. What were the highlights?
Madeleine: Too many to count! We had some delicious mulled wine in Manchester. I walked around a beautiful park in Amsterdam. We celebrated Thanksgiving in style in London with friends. It was a lot of fun.
Lily: It was one of our best tours so far. One of my highlights was going to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Do you discern any differences in the way you are received by audiences in different European countries?
M: Well it’s a bit difficult to tell when you don’t speak the language! Haha, most audiences in Germany are very enthusiastic. Audiences in the U.K. are very quiet, as are the audiences in Scandinavia. But all of them are very kind and respectful.
How important is your family to your musical development and support? Tell us a little about how you grew up to love music.
M: Our parents are the best in the world! Both our mom and dad love music and played it a lot in the house when we were young. Our mom has a beautiful voice and encouraged us to sing (and speak a little French) since we could talk.
What sacrifices have you had to make to start out a musical career?
M: We’re both giving up the traditional American college experience, but in exchange for travelling the world and working with amazing artists and making friends in all different places. So I’m not that bummed. :)
L: This all started right as I entered high school, so I never made many high school friends and, like Madeleine, I’m not sure I’ll have the chance to go to university anytime soon. That’s totally fine with me though – I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing!
What was your first live gig and where? Any particular memories of it?
M: Our first live show was in our home-town Indianapolis and it sold out quickly so the venue added a second show that day. That one sold out too! So without ever having performed together live before, we played two sold out shows for all of our family, friends, and neighbors.
L: I remember being extremely nervous. We performed mostly covers because we had just started songwriting and it was silly to me that so many people would buy tickets to see two teens sing other people’s songs!
As sisters you obviously feel a close connection – how do you feel that your relationship affects your music?
M: We’re close in age and have always had a close relationship, but Lily and I are actually very different people. We like very different things and that makes our music more interesting. What Lily is influenced by at the moment may be the total opposite of what I’m listening to so our music becomes a mix of different things.
L: We obviously have to agree on everything in order to make the band work, so a lot of the time I think neither of us are explicitly expressing ourselves. I’m hoping that as we tour and work more, our individual styles and preferences will come out a bit more.
Your songwriting is a collaborative effort with Kenny Childers. How did that come about?
M: We met Kenny through our manager and he’s one of the most brilliant songwriters we’ve ever known and probably ever will know. Kenny has this amazing ability to say something so complicated in such a simple way. I also love how he experiments with lyrics and sounds. Recently he mentioned he was inspired to create a dance record with us!
Do you prefer recording to playing live, and if so why?
M: I much prefer being in the studio to performing live. I really like being able to take my time and experiment in the comfort of the studio. There’s less pressure.
L: I agree with Madeleine. Especially since we haven’t recorded in almost a year, I miss the studio!
What kinds of music do you most like listening to yourselves? Does any of this impact on or influence your own songwriting?
M: I like listening to modern folk artists, but lately I’ve been drawn to more R&B and pop. I feel like they’ll inevitably impact my writing, but who knows.
L: Right now I’m listening to exclusively rap music and R&B. Honestly, folk is not my favorite genre anymore!
What is on the horizon for Lily And Madeleine in 2015?
M: Lots! We’re going back out to California in February and we’re bringing along some new musicians so our live set will be a little fuller. I’m really excited to get back on the road. Now that the holidays are over I’m starting to feel a little stir crazy.
L: Tour and probably a new album. 2015 is gonna be CRAZYYYYY.
Go HERE for more on Lily And Madeleine.
Tony’s great passion in life is music and nothing gives him more pleasure than unearthing good, original new music and championing independent musicians. His association with Best New Bands brings great opportunities for this. He also writes for Consequence of Sound and is a judge for Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent Competition.
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