“Elektra and I are both very big dreamers,” muses Miranda Kilbey, before nebulously continuing, “My most recent dream was that I pushed a pen into my ear.” You can probably guess by now that Miranda, who is currently hunkered down in Stockholm isn’t prophesying about what might come of band Say Lou Lou’s potential chart success. As far as she’s concerned, her and sister Elektra are “going to keep buggering on, doing our thing and be happy where we’re at – it’s going to happen or it’s not.”
The stuff dreams are made of?
Their future might be ambiguous but Miranda’s dream is nonsensically coherent, as she distractedly recalls “a pen getting stuck in my throat and having a big art exhibition, which I was sharing with a famous Swedish rapper (Silvana Imam), who was taking all of the limelight and selling more art than me.” This frankly baffling story ends in her driving away to the suburbs and sharing cider with the mafia.
Bizarrely, she was in no way intoxicated during this little reverie, but the brunette 23-year-old, who is four minutes older than her blond sister, “always dreams intensely, and always remembers what happens.” As abstract as it sounds, episodes from the subconscious, like that odd little example, are why the identical twins named their darkly ethereal debut album “Lucid Dreaming.”
The name is indeed wistfully romantic but the reality of getting on the airwaves has been more nightmarish than the duo could have imagined. “It’s not the way I thought it would be… You know, people working against me, the label not understanding and doing things I didn’t want to do,” she laments through Nordic-inflected English. “They wanted it to be full-proof pop; I think we were too much of an indie band signing with a big label.”
Rebelling against "the man"
It’s the reason that the model-looking musicians, who hate being referred to as a girl band, split from Sony/Columbia, whom they signed to in 2013, to set up their own label, À Deux. “Now, I think splitting from the label is one of the best things that happened to us,” says a relieved-sounding Miranda. It was a classic case of creativity at loggerheads with commerce.
But couldn’t daddy have pulled a favor for his daughters? “No no no, we never do that,” Miranda insists. “I hate name-dropping like that… I don’t like to name-drop, ‘coz I don’t want that person to think that I’m using that [connection] and forcing our way into the industry.” Their father, incidentally, is Australian Steve Kilbey, the former front man of rock group The Church, while their mother is Swedish musician Karin Jansson and co-writer for 1988 mega-hit “Under the Milky Way.”
It’s almost inevitable that the twins made it into the family business; however, initially, it was Miranda who was the more avid musician. “During our teenage years, I was more serious about it, and maybe I dreamed a bit more about playing music professionally,” she recalls. “I didn’t have as many friends as Elektra; I think it was a bit more of a refuge for me – I tried to find friends through music – because I didn’t have that big social circle like Elektra did… maybe she’s a bit more outgoing than I am.”
Although they share a romantic Seventies-esque style, there are differences: the hair for one and apparently, Elektra is more like Jerry Hall, whereas Miranda is more akin to Bianca Jagger. Their mother, who also has three stepchildren, tried desperately to treat and dress them as individuals, but often to no avail. “Sometimes mum would get us completely different birthday presents and then it would be like chaos because we wanted each other’s presents or whatever,” Miranda explains.
They also have that symbiotic unspoken "twin thing" down to a tee, having shared a bedroom ever since they were 16. “For some reason, our parents were very open, so we didn’t even have a door to our room, we had a little curtain. I think we were dying for some privacy and then we moved from Sweden to Australia for high school and finally got our own bedrooms. Ironically, we ended up sleeping in the same bedroom anyway,” confides the 23-year-old.
Coping with their father's failures
It’s a closeness that endured following their parents’ split and father’s well-documented 10-year descent into heroin addiction. The girls divided their time between frigid winters with their mom in Stockholm and sun-soaked summers in Sydney with dad. “When something bad has happened in the family, we’ve kind of taken turns to take the lead so that one twin stays strong to keep sort of the flag flying high,” she self-comfortingly chuckles.
Miranda says that she doesn’t delve into her father’s past, admitting that she hasn’t read his recent biography (“Something Quite Peculiar”) and doesn’t want to know the uncomfortable and intimate details of her dad’s more wayward years. But has he warned his daughters about the hedonistic perils of the music industry? “I think he’s just trusting us to make the right decisions; I think it’s hard for him to preach and I have a hard time hearing people preach who have made a lot of mistakes. I mean he’s definitely doing his best to be in a better place but, you know, what can I say, I guess he just doesn’t want us to do anything that’s bad for us,” she says politely bringing the topic to a close.
For now, the duo is looking ahead to their North American tour, where they’re still “quite new” and “trying to make sure people know we exist over there.” What she is looking forward to is the pumped-up, over-enthusiastic welcome, screeching in a mock American accent, “Oh my god, you’re coming to the U.S.? That’s so exciting.” The other bit of news that could do with a good old-fashioned all-American cheer is that Say Lou Lou is planning to release their sophomore album in early to mid-April, according to Miranda, who’s optimistic that there won’t be the delays that plagued their first release. As for the name, “Hmm, we’re not sure yet,” she ponders. Who knows, maybe something will come to the twins in one of those lucid dreams…
If you go:
Sep. 11, 8 p.m.
Brighton Music Hall
158 Brighton Ave., Allston