Riding high after their performance as one of the showcasing artists at the AmericanaFest in London in January, British Americana duo The Luck have returned with their first release of the year ‘If This is Love’. We caught up with the brother sister duo ahead of #NationalSiblingDay to talk all things family, inspiration, and the pros and cons of working with someone who often knows you better than you know yourself….
Hi Max and Esmay! So to kick off this sibling-day themed chat…What would you say are the biggest pros (and cons?!) of being in a band with your sibling?
Max: The biggest pro is getting to share some of the amazing, ridiculous things that happen along the way with someone who knows you, who knows where you’ve come from and who understands exactly what those things mean to you!
Esmay: You’re also really honest with one another too – so you know where you stand and know how committed each other is to the band.
The con is probably that you tend to be very honest with each other and that can be a little harsh at times. You’ll be rehearsing, something might sound a bit off, and there will most likely be a fairly blunt hint to let you know about it *laughs*. But that also makes us really efficient – comments are made, you work on it and then it sounds better!
Do you share the same musical heroes or does your taste in music differ?
Max: We grew up listening to a lot of the same music as our parents, there was always a tape player or radio on in the kitchen. And we bonded over music together as teens – we were really into the punk rock of the 90s and would go to a lot of gigs together.
Esmay: However in terms of heroes I think we differ slightly – I particularly love Fleetwood Mac, especially Stevie Nicks’ songs…and Joni Mitchell.
Max: And I really fell in love with albums like ‘Dark Side of the Moon’, ‘Pink Moon’, and all the Zeppelin and Oasis in-between.
When did you realise that you wanted to create and produce music as a pair?
Esmay: It was only about 8 years ago! Max was a solo artist and would send songs to me just to see what I thought. For some reason we were both in New York at the same time, Max was staying in a flat-share and we had a bowl of Lucky Charms. Max brought his guitar in to the kitchen and we started writing for the first time together. The song was a spontaneous flow, we were weaving harmonies over the guitar when a guy in the apartment came out of his room and told us he had goosebumps listening to our harmonies.
Max: So we finished our bowls of Lucky Charms and called the song ‘Bricks’ – taking lyrical inspiration from the brick-walled apartment we were sat in. The song was about changing direction in life, undoing all the plans and foundations we had laid to take a different path. The song certainly did that for us – we started performing as a duo a couple of months later and have been doing it ever since.
What music do you remember being played when you were growing up? Has this had an effect on you as songwriters?
Esmay: Fleetwood Mac was always playing in the car… The Eagles and Tom Petty featured highly too, as did The Cranberries and Garth Brooks!
Max: Listening to the same music from such a young age has probably made writing together really natural and easy too – we appreciate the same things in songs (like the way a song might build, for example). We go for similar instrumentation and tend to look for the same things from a song we are writing… although we might have different ideas of how to get it there!
Max, as working and travelling with Esmay brought you closer together as siblings?
It has – especially as we have shared a lot of eye-opening experiences on the journey so far. When you go and travel far from home with your sibling, there are times it feels like a holiday… You might be in the studio, working on a vocal take in LA, maybe even struggling with it, but you’ll suddenly ‘wake up’, become aware of the moment you’re in, and you’ll look at your sister and just say, “Blimey” through the vocal booth, and laugh about how lucky you are to be making music, right there in that second. *looks at Esmay, who nods*
How do you solve your artistic differences Esmay?
Esmay: *Laughs* usually a heated debate! And then some compromising… Singing and playing each others ideas through (even if you don’t think it will work) is really helpful too – it shows you’re actually listening to the other person and not just disagreeing because you think you know better…*stares accusingly at Max*.
Letting things rest for a day helps as well – if we can’t agree on something, we’ll park it for a day or two and usually it sorts itself out.
Who is the more heated sibling and who is more mild mannered?!
Esmay: *Laughing* it varies on the situation… but I’m a Leo and Max is a Gemini. So I guess I’m the more heated!
Max: Yep. But in a good way. You get things done, mate.
And finally….If you could tour with any other sibling bands / groups who would it be and why?
First Aid Kit! Absolutely LOVE their sound and songwriting. And probably Kings of Leon – amazing stadium rock sound…Ward Thomas as well – their harmonies are brilliant and they seem like they are really good fun to be around!
So what is next for The Luck siblings? Well, with the suggestion of new music already in production and a weekly front page slot on the popular streaming site Twitch, it seems as though 2019 is going to be a busy year for this Americana pair…