Indie-pop duo Heathers played the first show of their mini Canadian tour on June 25th in Toronto. Before their show, Ellie and Louise dropped by the LGS Toronto to chat with us and take some photographs - check out what the girls have to say about their new album Kingdom, photography, and poutine!
Heathers stepped into the LGS Toronto in awe as they saw the beautiful Lomowall draped across the front of the store. It was their first time in a Lomography Gallery Store and we were honoured to host them for the hour. We sat down and chat with the twin sisters from Dublin, Ellie and Louise, about many things, their music included, but I had to bring up the topic of poutine! For those of you who don’t know, there’s this great video of the girls making their very own poutine after they tried it the last time they came to Toronto in April to release their album. Although Louise stated “I wouldn’t have it everyday in the week” (and neither would we!), they both were thoroughly surprised by this Canadian feat. “I didn’t even want to taste it at first, but everyone’s like ‘you need to try it!’” explains Ellie about their first experience, and that’s when they realized: “It was incredible!”
Well, poutine aside, we of course dove into their new album, Kingdom, which is now available for purchase on iTunes. When asked about the differences from this second album to their first, Ellie responded: “For us, it’s very different from our first album, which was ‘Here, Not There’ – just myself and Louise, very struck back, raw acoustic.” The first album was actually written almost 6 years ago, when the girls were both just 17 years old. That was the very first music they had ever written which was composed of a lot of metaphorical hidden meanings. “Kindgom was a few years in the making and it’s a bit of a departure,” continues Ellie, “It’s now with a full band: us, guitar, drums, synths, cello, bass, a lot more electric guitars and keyboards.” Lyrically, it’s a lot more direct and straight up, which Louise describes as “kind of terrifying.” Their first album was recorded at a friend’s recording studio in a small town in Ireland, but this time, Ellie and Louise went to London and worked with producer Max Dingel (The White Lies, The Killers), which was very new for them.
Aside from the musical differences, there was also the age factor. Now 23 years old, Louise describes that even when singing some of their old songs, it’s not as much as relating to it but more reminding them of a time back then. “With this album, different things were going in our lives when we were writing it.” This is evident in their first single ‘Forget Me Knots’, with the chorus hook, “It’s alright not to feel okay”, referencing to tough times that people go through, more specifically, about a close friend of theirs that took their own life two years ago. “In Ireland, there’s quite a stigma attached to mental health and depression. A lot of groups are trying to fight that,” states Louise, who wrote the song with her sister and released their album just before that.
During those few years between their first and second album, Ellie and Louise also both went to university, Ellie for teaching, and Louise for geography and music technology. “Musically our voices have developed,” describes Louise as she pokes fun at the fact that their voices were very high-pitched in the first album. Anyone who listens to Heathers knows that their sound consists of distinct strong guitars and strong vocals. I asked them about their musical influences and Ellie listed: “One – we grew up listening to a lot of Simon and Garfunkel, a lot of Irish traditional music. Two – Our brother is a massive influence for us.” When the girls were 16, they would go to a lot of DIY gigs with their friends and would perform with that very strong community feel, which was something that was really important for them growing up. It was one of the major encouragements for them to start writing their own music.
The girls are big fans of all types of music, from the Spice Girls to Destiny’s Child to punk music to Robyn. Dance and electronic music is also something the girls of Heathers loves, and they actually write a lot of music for other people too, which is a good creative outlet for them. When asked who’d they want to collaborate with, the girls both collectively said: “Beyonce! And Robyn!”
Just prior to our photoshoot with the girls, we spoke a bit about photography and what they know about film. “We love rooting through old photographs that our parents took,” says Louise about analogue photos, “So many people have digital cameras, but it’s so nice to take photos with analogue cameras and having the actual photo in your hand.” Ellie explains: “When you’re on tour, there’s so many things that happen and so many strange places we visit.” It’s a good thing we hooked the girls up with some Diana cameras themselves to capture all those moments!
A big thank you to Ellie and Louise of Heathers for spending some time with us at the LGS Toronto! Stay tuned as we have some exciting things happening with Heathers – ahem right here!
‘Kingdom’ is now available for purchase on iTunes