Hometown: Bakersfield, California (Solange); Charlotte, North Carolina (Andrea); Eugene, Oregon (Eric)
Personal nicknames (or rejected band names): We definitely joke about our pretend side project punk band Litterbox and Clitterbox (not sure the genre of that one yet). “Solo,” nickname for Solange.
(Editor’s Note: Answers provided by Andrea Walker.)
What’s your favorite memory from being on stage?
When we were first getting started we were asked to play in a battle-of-the-bands called “Buskerfest” in Long Beach, California. To say we were long shots at winning the competition would be an understatement. At 8 p.m. we went out on stage for our 30-minute set in front of the biggest crowd we’d ever been in front of and all of a sudden the sound system started going haywire. My microphone stopped working. The guitar amp stopped working. It’s like everything that could go wrong with the sound system did. But at the same time, all of our friends were right there in front and just so proud and excited for us. We were up there together, just the two of us and we kept rolling with it – whatever went wrong, we just smiled and kept going. We played for the biggest crowd we’d ever been in front of that night and in the end were named the grand prize winners. That night changed the course of our lives, because it gave us the confidence and conviction that we needed to follow our hearts and quit our jobs and try to make a life for ourselves in music.
What’s the toughest time you ever had writing a song?
In 2013, I lost my mom to breast cancer. We were incredibly close and the loss was utterly devastating. I started writing a song called “Cold Steel of Night” a few weeks before she passed. The lyrics to the chorus literally came to me while I was broken down on the carpet crying uncontrollably and the verses I wrote a few months after she was gone. The whole experience of writing the song was pretty cathartic for me and helped me to process her loss, but it was also the hardest to write, because I was going through the saddest experience I’ve ever been through.
What has been the best advice you’ve received in your career so far?
Back in the summer of 2015 we decided that we were going to quit our jobs, give up our apartment, live in a van on the road, and do whatever it took to support ourselves 100% from playing music together. Before leaving Long Beach, we had lunch with a friend, Josh Fischel, who sat us down and spoke with us earnestly about the life we were embarking on. He said, “Always remember, this is a marathon – not a sprint.” That advice has proved helpful every step of the way, because it’s been a reminder to be patient, to make sustainable choices, and to try and stay grateful for wherever we are in our career. We’ve come a long way and still have a long way to go.
Which elements of nature do you spend the most time with and how do those impact your work?
Solange and I live right next to an 85-acre park in Portland and we both walk our dog, Gilly, in the park every day. The park is full of massive trees and forested paths and is just a really peaceful place to explore. Writing songs is such an intensely cerebral activity for me that it’s really helpful to step away and take a walk through the park when I’m working. A lot of times when I take a break the ideas get a chance to gel and I’ll come back to the writing process with new inspiration about how to move forward.
How often do you hide behind a character in a song or use “you” when it’s actually “me”?
Actually, never. Solange and I both write from our direct experience and point of view, so reading the lyrics of a song is almost like reading a page from one of our journals. We definitely use imagery and metaphors to tell the story and deliver emotional content, so a lot of times the true meaning of a line may be hidden in there. But all of the songs are written from a very personal, first person narrative perspective.
Photo Credit: Jaquelyn Cruz