If the rapid popularity of Brooke Candy and Iggy Azalea has taught us anything about the music industry, it’s that someone is keeping the ‘halo effect’ alive and well. And, whilst Say Lou Lou (previously Saint Lou Lou) may look like an experiment to determine how many erections it takes to get a record deal, it’s refreshing to realise their music has all the complex symptoms of a musical mindset that they like to call “dream pop”, though we’d call it dreamy pop. In the words of Say Lou Lou’s Kilbey sisters themselves: “organic ethereal music landscapes with flowing instruments and vocals”.
Speaking before a show in Florence, the pair seem unfazed by the boiling point popularity: “It’s been a learning process,” begins Elektra. “It [debut single] came out without us even realising. Our first gig ever was a festival with a thousand people. We were thrown in at the deep end. We had no choice but to just learn.”
Listing their influences from Burt Bacharach to T.L.C. via Fleetwood Mac, they concoct a bittersweet pop sound built on the experiences of their formative years. Growing up on a constant commute between their separate homes of Sydney and Stockholm, the music weeps with the raw misery of two protagonists wishing constantly to be somewhere else. The geographical paradox creates a cultural juxtaposition in their songs, with a trademark dark Scandinavian pop sound being constantly offset by a subtle Australian sense of twee.
Early single ‘Maybe You’ leads by example, melodically saccharine smothered throes of dysphoria that harbour more teen angst than a Meredith Brooks lookalike competition, thus creating the sound of 1998’s Garbage re-produced for Robyn fans. The potential of this being pop-luck was dispelled when future single ‘Julian’ appeared online, a triumphant and cinematic ode to some man-sel in distress; “In old music, the woman is always the victim of something and needs to be saved. I like the concept that the woman is saving. Saving the man,” explain the twins.
How the eventual album will sound is an open question. We can vouch for good, but what sort of good? Richard X, an original mash-up tycoon and purveyor of synthesized grunge-pop music, is now involved, whilst Addeboy vs Cliff are helping with the writing. Miranda explains the latter: “They are famous in Sweden for doing hip-hop and R&B - kind of futuristic hip-hop, I guess. They haven’t really done a lot of pop before. It’s a match made by musical friends.” Richard X, on the other hand, has guided notoriety to total yesterdays like Rachel Stevens, and versatile pop queens like Kelis.
Tonight, a stage in Florence will find out that the latter is very, very likely.
This is an excerpt from the March 2013 issue of Clash magazine. Find out more about the issue.
Words: Joe Zadeh
Photographer: Rory Van Millingen
Fashion: Agata Belcen