Wednesday, 21 November 2012
My friends are all a drag, they think I'm such a flake
I was so taken with the new Love and Radiation single, Ganymede, that I had to ask the girls if they would partake in one of my now infamous five question interviews. Well, not only are the girls beautiful and intelligent, but also super efficient as well. The answers pinged back across the Atlantic within 24 hours and are now here for your enjoyment. Thank you Lakshmi and Adele for the great answers and can't wait to hear the next single and debut album. Stephen: How old were you when you got interested in music? What instruments can you play? Were you in bands when you were younger? What were the first songs you remember hearing from childhood? L: I’ve always been drawn to playing music. I play the guitar and keyboard seriously now, but as a child I played the flute and violin. It was all very nerdy, since I performed with the school orchestra and band. Thanks to my Indian parents, I grew up listening to Carnatic (Classical South Indian) music, which they always played at home. I also trained for ten years as a Carnatic vocalist. These experiences fundamentally shaped my approach to sound through instruments and my voice. A: I took piano lessons as a child, but didn’t start writing songs until college when I picked up the guitar. I play guitar, keys, and some bass, and tinker with midi programming. During college and law school, I played in power pop bands, and Lakshmi and I had an off-kilter punk band called The Catatonics. The first albums I really loved as a kid were Weezer's Blue Album and Fiona Apple's “Tidal.”S: Who writes the songs in the band? How do you decide on the "feel" and "mood" for each song? How long does it take to complete the recording of a song? Do you ever disagree over the production/ sound of a song? A: Our songwriting process is very collaborative. Almost everything on the new record — the drum programming, keyboards, guitars, vocals and lyrics — was written collaboratively. We often have disagreements while writing, mixing and producing our music. Because we’re such close friends, neither of us hesitates to express strong opinions, and we both have very definite ideas about what we like and don’t like. However, we have a lot of respect for each other’s judgment, and working through these disagreements has played an indispensable role in shaping and refining the sound of the album. L: We write all the lyrics together. They predominantly address themes of darkness, rituals, healing, and nature. Our interest in these themes shapes the mood of the songs, which tend to balance dark tones with strong beats, as in “Ganymede.” We can have very different ideas about how a song should sound and it can take months to record and mix a single tune (our sound engineer, Jonathan, is very patient). But our disagreements ultimately produce good music: by bringing such distinct perspectives to the mixing board, we create songs that neither one of us could write in isolation. S: Which artists inspired you to seriously start making music? What bands do you like at the moment? Do you think of yourselves as indiepop/synthpop/electronica? What are your thoughts regarding the current indie/alternative scene? Have you travelled abroad as a band? A: Cat Power’s album “What Would the Community Think?” inspired me to start writing and recording my own songs. It’s such an urgent record, yet it also sounds so insular and isolated. Hearing that record made me think of writing songs as a powerful tool for self-expression, and it also helped me get over my fear of not having enough technical prowess as a guitar player. Love and Radiation’s music blends elements of pop, indie rock and dance music. Lakshmi has a tendency to write music that is dark and dissonant, and I gravitate towards a more poppy sound. Our collaboration is aimed at the middle ground — blending dissonance and dark themes into music that is fun to listen to and easy to digest. Ultimately, we hope that people will want to dance to the songs on this record. There has been a lot of good new music this year: I love the new records by Cloud Nothings, Bat for Lashes, Purity Ring, and Fiona Apple. And there are also a lot of great Chicago bands that we’ve been excited to play with this year, including Videotape, architecture and My Gold Mask. L: Cat Power, PJ Harvey, Modest Mouse, and Sleater-Kinney inspired me to learn how to play the guitar and start bands. Female musicians have been particularly strong motivators: musicians like PJ Harvey and Carrie Brownstein empowered me to use my voice as a woman amid a sea of male musicians. Bat for Lashes, Grimes, Purity Ring, and Julia Holter are on heavy rotation at the moment. But I still frequently listen to music from the late 90s and early 2000s. Adele and I have never been abroad as a band but we *have* been abroad as friends, like the time we spent a few weeks seeing sights and fighting off monkeys in India.