If you’re a fan of bands who resonate on unusual frequencies, you should invest in I, Gemini – the debut album from Let’s Eat Grandma. Multi-instrumentalists and childhood friends Rosa and Jenny create ornate and twisted tunes that echo in the memory long after they’ve finished playing, and it’s their blend of the weird and the wonderful that’s led to a nomination for ‘Best Break Through Act’ at this year’s Q Music Awards.
We caught up with the pair backstage before their short performance at The Stubhub Q Awards Nominations Party to talk about books, multi-tasking, and their upcoming performance on Later with Jools Holland…
Vote for Let’s Eat Grandma to win the Best Breakthrough Act at The Q Awards here.
The Stubhub Q Awards will be at the Roundhouse on November 2nd. Tickets are available now!
Hello Jenny and Rosa. How are you, and how are you feeling about your performance later on tonight?
Jenny: Good, we’re excited. We’ve just had our make-up done so we’re geared up and ready to go.
Great stuff. You’re playing on Later With Jools Holland next week too (18.10.16), are you looking forward to that?
Rosa: Very excited. I’m a dedicated Jools Holland watcher, I think I’ve seen every single episode! It’s always been the thing that I wanted to do but I never thought we’d be doing it quite so soon… or at all really! So we’re very excited…
Jenny: Rosa was not calm when we got the call to say we were playing (laughs)
You released your debut album I, Gemini earlier this year. Can you tell us about the response you’ve had to the record? What’s your favourite song from it?
Jenny: It’d be hard to say exactly what the response has been really, but we’ve been overwhelmed by how positive people have been about it.
Were you not expecting that kind of reaction?
Jenny: We didn’t expect so many people to have an opinion really.
Rosa: I don’t think we were expecting people to “get it” if that makes sense? But it seems like people have which is good. As far as favourite songs, it depends on the mood really.
Okay, so if you were in a good mood what would you pick?
Rosa: None of them? (laughs) I’m not sure really. I like playing ‘Rapunzel’ live.
Jenny: I like playing ‘Eat Shitake Mushrooms’ live.
Cool, I like ‘Chocolate Sludge Cake’…just in case you were wondering.
There are allusions to fairy tales (‘Rapunzel), and lots of onomatopoeia and alliteration in your song titles and lyrics, which suggests you have a love of language and literature. Do you have any particular favourite authors or stories, and if so how do they influence your song-writing?
Jenny: We’re both quite in to reading really, and I read a lot of non-fiction and stuff. I’ve got a gem stones book in my bag at the moment. Sometimes it’s interesting combining real life events with literature. For example, ‘Rapunzel’ is a fairytale but we wrote it as a real life case of a young girl, and we do that quite a lot. It’s a way of seeing things from another perspective.
We go to the library quite a lot. We don’t really have favourite writers, it’s more about looking at the different sections and titles and seeing what’s around…
Rosa: I’m reading a psychology text book at the moment. Well, it’s not really a text book, it’s ‘A Brief Introduction to Psychology’ (laughs)
That still counts! So what you read does impact on your song writing then…
Jenny: I think so, but I think we read things without the intention of “being inspired”.
Rosa: Yeah, I think it comes out in a more indirect way. When we’re writing lyrics we don’t consciously think “I’m going to write about this”. It’s more about the words that you’ve taken in from what you’ve been reading just naturally come out again.
Jenny: In your subconscious…
Nice link to the psychology text book, I see what you did there…
You released a video for ‘Sax In The City’ earlier this year. You’re dressed as giant babies and you crawl through the city and end up playing in an indoor play area. It looks like you had a lot of fun making the video, was that the case?
Jenny: It was challenging (laughs)
Rosa: It was great fun in the play area…
It looked it!
Jenny: I’ve been waiting for someone to ask us about the video because no-one’s really said what they’ve thought and I’m wondering if people really get what it’s about…
There’s definitely a satirical, subversive undertone running throughout the video. Did you want people to directly pick up on this?
Rosa: Basically we were mocking the fact that we’ve been kind of portrayed as being baby-ish and girly…
Jenny: We’ve been portrayed in a really patronising way and this is probably the last video we’ll make for the album, so we thought we might as well go out with a bang (laughs). Rosa also really wanted to go in to the indoor play area (laughs).
Rosa: There was a sign on the door which said “On Monday at 3pm this play area is closed for a private party” and we were all above the height restrictions (laughs). There was only about four or five of us in there.
Joel from Wolf Alice remixed your track ‘Eat Shitake Mushrooms’. What is it you like about his version of your song?
Jenny: I think he’s really made it in to a different thing. It has different vibe to it and I think he’s been really creative with it.
You’re off on a European tour in November. Any places or venues in particular you’re looking forward to playing?
Rosa: We’re really looking forward to playing in Iceland because we’re going to the hot springs! (laughs).
Jenny: We’re getting the ‘comfort package’ which is basically the cheapest one (laughs)
Rosa: It’s the second cheapest actually…
You’re experts at multi-tasking – you juggle school work with writing music and touring – how do you find time to do all these things?
Rosa: We skip the school work (laughs)
Jenny: We should’ve been in college today but we didn’t go in…
Rosa: Yeah, just don’t go to school basically. (laughs)
Finally, what do you do to relax?
Jenny: That never happens…
Rosa: We go to gigs, and we DJ too. That’s our way or relaxing really. We go to music college, we do music jobs, we’d be shit at anything not music related (laughs).
Thank you to Jenny & Rosa for answering our questions!
Photo Credit: Francesca Allen