Just a few days before their stop at The Earl in East Atlanta, I was able to get in touch for an interview over the phone with rising indie dream pop band Twin Sister's lead singer, Andrea Estella. She talked about everything from her family roots in Puerto Rico, to looking forward to checking out some whale sharks at the famous Atlanta Aquarium.
Kevin: 2011 was a big year for Twin Sister. New album In Heaven was released, tour dates all across North America and Europe. Do you have any personal memories or highlights of the year that stick out?
Andrea: I feel like I’ve had so many things happen that it’s difficult to pick out one moment. Someone actually asked me this last night. The day we were approached by Domino was definitely pretty memorable.
Kevin: Care to elaborate on how you guys and Domino got together exactly?
Andrea: I guess the best way to phrase it is…unusual? Haha. They ended up sending us a message over our MySpace page, which is pretty archaic by now. And then they started coming out to our shows, and we just really hit it off and they decided to sign us.
Kevin: As I mentioned earlier, last fall, your debut full length album In Heaven was released. As a band, do you guys feel this record changed the musical direction, or did it expand on ideas from earlier releases?
Andrea: I think it expanded on ideas because we learned a whole lot about ourselves from making this first album. It didn’t really change the musical direction, but I guess we just tried to execute things a little better. On In Heaven we figured out how to handle things differently, make it sound the way we wanted. What we did with In Heaven is we kind of wrote the songs for the album, and now that were playing them live, we’ve changed how some of the songs sound. So now we’ve started pitching new songs on the road before we record them, let them develop better.
Kevin: How much influence does the record label Domino have over the creative process when recording your material?
Andrea: They don’t really mess with that. They just sort of let you do whatever you want. They give you their opinion when it’s all done. Whether they like a certain song, they think one song should be a single, stuff like that. But they pretty much let you do what you wanna do.
Kevin: Do you or other members ever find yourself getting sick of playing the same songs live, or does it all still feel very new and current?
Andrea: Right now for this tour, it really feels good to play these songs live. One time we were practicing just before we went out on stage, just kind of cramming a bunch of new songs in on the set, so it really felt fresh. And then we also played a few songs from In Heaven that we’ve never played before, and there’s an added experience, like turning drum machines into a live drumset.
Kevin: Recently, you guys made a music video for the track “Kimmi in a Rice Field”. Can you tell us what kind of image you and the rest of the members of Twin Sister were shooting for?
Andrea: Well originally the lyrics to that were meant to be a story. And then I turned the story into lyrics, shortened them a little bit, and had them fit for the song better. And then Bryan our drummer took that story and made a few changes to it himself. It transformed into a ghost world, and we made it into a short horror film. We were really pleased with how that turned out.
Kevin: Are there any specific cities or parts of the world Twin Sister would want to tour? Any that you have yet to see?
Andrea: I really love going to San Francisco, and we will be going there very soon. As far as places we haven’t seen yet, I really want to go to Japan. I wanna see any part of Japan. Parts of China would be nice. Iceland would be cool, Italy would be cool, Australia. We’ve seen a lot of the States, as well as Europe. I actually have family in Puerto Rico, and I wonder if we have any Puerto Rican listeners, cause you never hear about indie bands being like “Let’s go to Puerto Rico and play a couple gigs,” haha. It would be so cool! I noticed when I went there, I hadn’t been there in a long time, and there were a lot of shirtless skateboarders with a tan! But on a serious note, I do have a lot of family members that listen to us down there.
Kevin: Where did Twin Sister originally form?
Andrea: We were all from Long Island, we’ve known each other since high school. We formed when we were just teenagers. Played a couple shows back home, at sports bars in front of jockey guys that don’t really care about the band.
Kevin: Do you guys have a preference of what type of venue to play? Are you more of a small, intimate kind of band, or do you enjoy more big festival shows?
Andrea: I think we prefer the more intimate kind of places. I think I like a good green room too, with my own bathroom haha. The crowds are much more spirited and seem to care a lot more at those kind of venues than say the ones at festivals. At festivals, you can sort of look down and see the crowd doing other things like checking Twitter and stuff! I actually enjoy more cramped shows where it’s like a house party.
Kevin: Do you have any current day influences that give you a sense of inspiration?
Andrea: I really like Ariel Pink and the new band that he’s in now. Hercules & Love Affair I think is really cool. Bear in Heaven, I look up to them. And Lost Boy, I love Lost Boy!
Kevin: Would you ever consider doing any collaborations with any artists?
Andrea: I’d like to play with anybody really. I just did my first big collab, a track with Wild Nothing recently, should be coming out soon. I think in the future, I’m not sure yet, I feel like it would have to come to me.
Kevin: Are there any studio recordings from Twin Sister that we should be looking forward to?
Andrea: Actually after this tour, we are taking a break, and are going to work on a bunch of new songs. I think we are going to do shows here and there, which is also a good way to try out new songs. Like I said, we wanna try playing them before full blown recording. We also like to make demos, so I’m sure a lot of those will be made.
Kevin: Do you have any plans of things to do while you guys are in Atlanta?
Andrea: The highlight of my trip this tour for me is driving out super early and going to the Atlanta Aquarium. I am so excited to see whale sharks!
Check out Twin Sister’s music video for the song “Kimmi in a Rice Field” off their latest album In Heaven here:
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