Interview: XYLØ | Bonded By Blood And Beats
XYLØ (as in every pre-schoolers favorite instrument) are the latest brother and sister act who make beautiful musical together. From The Carpenters, to more recently Wild Belle and Angus and Julia Stone, the sibling connection can be both a gift and curse if egos get in the way.
That doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a problem for the Duddy’s (Paige and Chase). The Los Angeles natives have gone from Soundcloud sensations to being featured in an iWatch commercial in just a year, but seem more like the amicable Tegan and Sara than the infighting Gallagher brothers of Oasis.
I had a chance to chat with Paige over the phone as she took a break from a New York recording session to talk about making music with your big brother, “setting fires” with the Chainsmokers, and their homecoming show this Saturday at the world famous Troubadour in LA..
Crave: There’s a significant age difference between both of you, did you grow up listening to the same type of music?
Paige Duddy: Chase is ten years older than me so he grew up listening to Rage Against the Machine, Led Zeppelin, Paul McCarthy, whereas I grew up on hip hop and pop stars. Now that I’m in my twenties, we listen to a lot of the same stuff, which gives us great chemistry when we’re collaborating.
What are the disadvantages and advantages to making music with your big brother?
We’re blood. We can be honest with each other, but that can be negative too. Every sibling butts heads at times. He’s older so working with your younger sister can get difficult, but for the most part we work really well together. He’s been my mentor. I was thrown into the deep end in this industry. He’s a leader who has shaped me as an artist and has given me the confidence. He’s dealt with the business side, he’s the producer, he writes all the instrumentals, he put together our live show. He wears many hats.
As a big brother should.
So who settles the disputes?
It comes down to communication and we have a great team around us that helps us work out those kinks.
A lot has happened for XYLØ in a short time. What do you think people are drawn to?
Younger kids gravitate towards the production — there’s an electronic, hip hop element to it that sounds fresh. There’s something relatable about the mixture of that production and what we’re talking about in the lyrics. It’s special and unique. People can connect to it.
I get that. There’s an actual message in your songs that unlike most electronic-pop is all surface. Is that something that happens organically or do you go into making songs with a purpose in mind?
It’s both. The songs on our EP were very personal. “America” is about something I went through. We wrote “Afterlife” at a time in our lives where we feeling like shit and got all those emotions out. “Black Cloud” is about being depressed, having anxiety, which both Chase and I have experienced in our lives. But, there are other songs that are more political where we sit down and go “Yo, we want to write a song about this,” so we do.
You collaborated on “Setting Fires” with the Chainsmokers (see above). What was working with them like?
They’re awesome guys. Made us feel really comfortable. I had never recorded vocals in any studio but Chase and mine’s. And I never recorded vocals for anyone else before so I was super nervous. Drew (Taggart) has a particular way to ride vocalists in the way he wants to go in. He was really good at giving me direction.
Your busy year ends where it all started in Los Angeles with a homecoming show at the Troubadour (Dec. 3).
We actually wrap up our tour (XYLØ has been supporting The Naked & Famous). We haven’t headlined in LA in awhile so I’m really excited. One of our really good friends is opening for us. Tons of our friends and family out who haven’t seen us play in awhile will be there since it’s right before the holidays. And the day before our new single and music video (for “Get Closer”) are coming out. It’s an exciting time.