The Big Interview: The Veronicas

The Australian duo who have recently made a triumphant return to the music industry, recently spoke to Rachel O’Shea about their self-titled album; The Veronicas.

After taking several years out of the spotlight, Australian pop twin duo Lisa and Jessica Origliasso are back on the music scene and ready to conquer the world of pop for a second time. The talented, identical sisters, who have co-written all the songs on their new album, had phenomenal success in 2007 with the release of their double platinum selling album, Hook Me Up, and are best known for their roof raising dance anthem Untouched. After music industry limbo, the girls, who have since dropped Warner Brothers’ from their label and are now signed solely to Sony Music, have used their time away from the centre stage to work on a new image and fresh music that is sure to elevate them back to previous success. While pop divas Katy Perry and Taylor Swift have dominated the industry since their departure, this latest album release is a sure attempt to have them re-crowned and back on their thrones in the music kingdom.

Early on a Tuesday morning, I got a phone call from Gráinne at Sony Music to set me up to speak to the sensational sisters. The phone interview, which was set to take place at 11am is forwarded at the last minute to 10:15am, to cater for the girls hectic schedule as they are currently in the middle of their UK Sanctified tour. Fresh from the stadium, rocking The Institute Library in Birmingham the night before, I am put on the phone with Jessica, who informs me that they have just arrived in Glasgow to play their next show and that it is absolutely freezing there. Natives to the soaring heat of Brisbane, Australia, it is no surprise that the twins are unfamiliar with the cold weather. I steer the conversation to their return to the industry and the sound of their latest record.

A diverse variety of music can be heard within the album. There is an element of pop, rock and soul all incorporated into one record. Unearthly sighs and stunning high notes are lifted in heart wrenching songs such as the first single released from the album, titled, ‘You Ruin Me.’ Released by the pair last September the track debuted at number one in Australia for three weeks straight. This deviates from the powerful dance beats that can be heard in their newest single ‘Cruel’ released on iTunes last week. With such variation in mind, it was interesting to hear what their musical objectives were when penning and recording the album.

“When people go in to make pop records it’s very strategic and it’s written with a goal in mind, that is driven by popularity, whereas when people make rock records its a completely different mentality. It’s not trying to just write a song that is going to relate to everyone and that is going to be played on radios, it’s trying to create something passionate that embodies their identity and that is exactly what we did. It is more of a pop record but when we had that rock mentality going in there it was not traditionally pop. We were very young when we started and we have been learning more about ourselves overtime and now that we’re older, we have a great deal of opportunities to really challenge ourselves outside that realm.”

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Involved with music from a very young age, the group was founded in 1999 when the girls were only 15 years old. Writing music and lyrics has become a part of their souls, when drawing inspiration for songs they claim to rarely suffer from writer’s block as it all comes so naturally to them.

“I think that for us it is a process of being honest and we really draw inspiration from being where we are at the time. Usually, we’re directly inspired by people in our lives or what we’re dealing with in relationships, situations, the weather, even places that we travel to and things that are going on there. I think we are just sensitive to everything around us and push it into our writing.”

Michael Jackson is their leading idol, whom they loved to listen to while growing up. “Michael was sort of our be all and end all,” according to Jessica. With such an idol and songs as their platform, it is unsurprising to learn the pair also make it their mission to also provide creative music videos to accompany them. Single ‘If You Love Someone’ is depicted with strong political messages often being conveyed to promote a positive statement, spreading awareness of love and raising awareness on issues such as bullying and war. Latest release ‘Cruel’ involved a lot of work, as it was filmed in two different locations.

“The first half was filmed on an island off of Sydney which involved a big production crew, and the other half in our hometown of Brisbane with all our best friends running around and doing crazy stuff. When it comes to making videos it really depends on what we think the fans will want to see  and expressing the visual side of the music in a way that relates to how we find the music most inspiring and fun and it’s something we take a great pride in and get to explore  more this time around.”

Possibly unknown to many, The Veronicas are heavily involved in, and lend their voice to, a wealth of projects and charitable causes. Being positive role models to their fans is extremely important to them, and Jessica gets very passionate as she shares her compassion for the causes they support.

“There are many causes that are close to our heart and the many problems we want to tackle, the main being injustice and suffering, and that takes form in many entities. Animal welfare is one of those causes, The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is one of those causes that we support, they protect our ocean and marine life and they are absolutely incredibly brave and inspiring people. Marriage equality is another issue that we support, the fact that many countries including our native country don’t legally accept a woman and a woman, or a man and a man, in a marital sense is completely insane to us.  We live in such a progressed time and yet that this is still not accepted on a global scale and as a legal entity is wild. Teaching compassion and showing understanding to our friends, our family is everything because we are all human beings, regardless of race , religion of culture or even the way we are born is irrelevant. We are all humans, we are all here to experience the same things, we are all capable of expressing the same things, love, fear and so we all need to really understand that, coming together rather than judging or condemning will solve a lot of the world’s problems.”

 

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Grateful for having worked with amazing writers and artists in the past, the twins have a lot of respect for other females in the industry: “As regards to collaborating musically, we would love to collaborate with Taylor Swift she’s a badass, or Pink, she’s a great songwriter too. Empowered females, that have their own thing going on!”

Another interest for The Veronicas is fashion and when it comes to this, the girls both have introverted and extroverted personalities to express, and being on stage allows them to bring out that extroverted side which they use their fashion to express. “We’re going through a latex phase at the moment,” says Jessica, “so we have had these incredible costumes made that are all out of latex which are really fun to wear, it’s like being naked on stage. When we’re not on stage we wear oversized t-shirts and jeans and we like to keep it quite casual but we really enjoy designer gowns as well, being able to put on sparkly dresses and go out and dress up, we just pick and choose our style with the different the events we go to”. As regard to free time and special talents the sisters are master chefs in the kitchen and love to cook and both especially like to read. Lisa in particular has a keen interest in Christian zoology, or our ancient animal life, which follows the links between different past creatures and their history mostly mystical such as bigfoot and other animals and whether or not they existed. Jessica studies psychology books and philosophy. “We didn’t really like school but we do like to continue to learn and educate ourselves, it’s like were setting our own curriculum, we’re not sitting there learning about math but there are a lot of hobbies and subjects that we do study in our spare time.”

As the interview draws to a close, it was natural to ask if they ever plan on visiting Ireland to tour here any time soon. That’s when things start to get a bit crazy. “ Babe,” says Jessica, “I have to tell you, Lisa and I have been wanting to come to Ireland for such a long time. We asked for a couple of days off after our London tour to come to Ireland  for a visit, but now they are sending us to tour in Paris straight after so we can’t but we are dying to get there! Our first number one was in Ireland five years ago, so we have infinity to the Irish and actually every boy I ever fell in love with growing up was Irish and Lisa is obsessed with Guinness!”

To this point, I have only been speaking to Jessica for the interview but suddenly I am passed on to Lisa who wants to hear my Cork accent and asks me where to go out in Ireland, as it is  number one on their destination list. She also inquires about what to drink besides Guinness. I inform them to drink Bulmer’s cider and come to Cork to play Live at the Marquee, encouraging them to go out in the city afterwards as we have a brilliant nightlife here in Cork. All of which they promise to make a point of in the future. I am astonished at how down to earth, friendly and kind The Veronicas are to chat to; they even ask me not to hang up because they love the Irish accent so much, and I got called ‘babe’ more times in the space of forty minutes than I have been ever in my lifetime and I loved it.

Getting ready to play their next gig in Glasgow that night, I wish them well with the rest of their tour, which will eventually take them through Europe and then on to the States. Fingers crossed they take their tour to Ireland in the near future, who knows, we may very well see them rocking out in the Bowery or Voodoo after a show.

The Veronicas the album is out now, as is their latest pop single Cruel.