Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit
Say Lou Lou: “We hope someone is keeping a tab on our Frequent Flyers”

Say Lou Lou: “We hope someone is keeping a tab on our Frequent Flyers”

26 April 2013, 15:54

- Photo by: Andreas Öhlund

Best Fit last spoke to Miranda and Elektra Kilbey back in December. At the time they were called Saint Lou Lou and were riding high on a wave of universal love for their debut single, ‘Maybe You’.

Six months later – it’s all change! A passing-off action from an act with a prior claim to a similar name saw them defending a Cease and Desist and has resulted in the Scandipodean twins (yes, we’re still trying to make ‘Scandipodean’ happen – get involved!) having to go back to the drawing board.

Choosing not to stir too far from the original, the Kilbeys recently resurfaced as Say Lou Lou and accompanied their name-change news with the announcement of a new single, the nothing-short-of-tremendous, ‘Julian’.

The new single and the girls’ forthcoming show for Best Fit at London’s Madame JoJo’s is a good excuse to have another chat with them, so we caught up with the duo for a Skype-rendezvous during their recent visit to Japan. “It’s a good thing we’re not doing video chat”, Elektra says with a giggle. “We’re here in kimonos that we got from our hotel and we’re lying on the bed”. Having arrived in Tokyo only a couple of hours earlier, they are trying to stay up for as long as possible in an attempt to get their body clocks in order. “We’re half-sleeping”, says Miranda. “We’re jet-lagged. We don’t want to fall asleep!”

Although the sisters are used to sharing their time between Sweden and Australia, the burgeoning amount of travel they’re having to take on as their music career takes off poses a bigger challenge to healthy slumber habits. Are they coping ok? “It’s become more normalised so I haven’t reflected on it, really”, says Elektra. Miranda adds: “I think sleep, to us, has become a thing you do whenever you can”. So they seize the moment as and when they can. “If you see that you can have half an hour here and there, you go and do it”. “Go! Go! Go!”, Elektra pipes up. “We try and catch up on it all the time. But it’s also so much fun that I think –“ “It’s never boring – we’re always going somewhere and doing things that we think are so much fun”. “And we’re still so young, Doron!”, Elektra interjects. The use of my name here, coupled with her tone of voice, ensures that if, per chance, I erroneously thought that I was chatting to a pair of old pensioners, I should think again. “We’re so young”, she repeats, “we’re only twenty-one!”

Well, in any event, all this extensive travel must surely be good for their air-miles. “Yeah”, Elektra says with a hint of realisation in her voice. “We hope someone is keeping a tab on our Frequent Flyers”. That should be the primary function of a manager, I suggest. Miranda agrees. “I’m going to ask him, actually, when he gets back”.

So what about this name change, then? “Well, another artist had a similar name and didn’t allow us to keep ours”, Elektra says. I ask whether this came as a big blow to them. They consider this for a moment. “It was the first big difficult thing for us to go through because of all the legal trouble –“ – “we felt that our identity was much more about the music than the name or anything else, I mean obviously we were connected to the name but the blow was more to the time and money and our energy, just because it took so much out of us fighting the lawsuit”. After a small pause Miranda continues: “It was the first big obstacle for us in our career. Yes, it was really hard and really upsetting but changing the name wasn’t as hard as we initially thought. People were, like, “Ok!”. As long as you don’t make it into a big deal it’s not going to be a big deal”.

They kept the ‘Lou Lou’ part of the name out of deference to a formidable great aunt. In interviews, the twins often portray her as a bit of a scary character. “Poor Lou Lou”, Elektra says in mock-pity. “She’s got a bad rep because of us. I was scared our Nana was going to be like, “you’ve crossed the line, girls!”. But, instead, she was like, “yeah, she deserves it”.

Debut single ‘Maybe You’ came out via Parisian label Kitsuné in 2012, but the twins have since set up their own record label, appropriately named à Deux. “When you’re making music, the scariest bit is to give it away to someone”, says Miranda. “It’s like you give birth to a baby and then you have to give it away to someone else to raise it. And you’re sitting by and watching someone else with it and we were scared of giving it away”. Creating their own label gives them the chance to do things their own way. “It allows you to call the shots”, Elektra explains. “It’s going to be really exciting to be creative director of your own career”.

At the time of our first interview last year, it was too early in the recording process for the girls to be able to give us a real indication of its sound. A few weeks ago they released their Sounds of Spring mixtape which brought together haunting mid-tempo cinematic soundscapes and dramatic grooves, featuring the likes of Rhye, Tame Impala, the Cardigans and Kate Bush. I ask them whether the mixtape is reflective of the album’s mood. Elektra is first to reply: “Yeah, I think it is. I don’t think our music is necessarily similar, but I think that’s our inspiration”. Miranda adds: “Our inspiration for the record will be a combination of Swedish harder-pop like The Cardigans – so, Swedish vibes, combined with more quirky, airy Kate Bush sounds. There are definitely vibes in the mixtape that are common to our sound but I can’t say that our record will end up being anything like it”.


Say Lou Lou

I want to know more about the songs the duo have worked on recently. I imagine they’re probably excited about all of them but is there a particular track they have a soft spot for? “Oh, yes, there are a couple”, Miranda says. “This sounds really cheesy but I read an article about Taylor Swift today”, Elektra offers, “and I don’t know much about her and I haven’t listened much to her music… but she said something about when you write a really good e-mail and you read the e-mail again and you just keep going back and re-reading it and you wish everyone else could have read that e-mail, you know, whether it’s a goodbye e-mail or a breakup e-mail, you know – when you’ve really aced it. And she said, when she writes her songs, it’s like the e-mail that everyone can hear. It’s a 2013 teenage analogy but sometimes you go, like, yeah I really aced that song and you go back and you listen to it over and over again and you have favourites out of your own songs. When you’re listening back to a song and you can’t remember how you wrote it… that’s when you know it’s a special song”.

“There’s one that we really, really love. It’s called ‘Beloved’”, Miranda obliges. “It’s a depressing power-ballad”, Elektra adds. “Well, It’s a ballad and it’s got power in it but it’s not a power-ballad”, Miranda corrects her. “It’s about never being good enough for someone. And they try to change you, to fit you into a certain expectation and you feel like however much you change you’ll never be good enough for that person.

The siblings wrote ‘Beloved’ just before Christmas with pop-writer extraordinaire, Hannah Robinson, and Sneaker Pimp, Liam Howe, at Howe’s home in Islington. But what about the song they told us about last time? You know, the one they recorded with Robinson and Richard X? “It’s very poppy”, Elektra says. “Really poppy. As it would be, with Richard X”. Miranda adds: “I would say it’s also a power ballad. It feels like the album will be full of power ballads . We’ve got two power-ballads – the one we wrote with Liam Howe and the one we wrote with Richard X. We created our own name for the genre, what was it?” “It was something like ‘saucy power-ballads’”. This saucy power-ballad is called ‘Wilder Than The Wind’ and is, according to the girls, “quite cinematic and it’s inspired a bit by David Bowie”. I ask them whether ‘Wilder Than The Wind’ could be the next single after ‘Julian’. Elektra sighs. “Don’t ask me because then I start asking, questioning myself”, she laughs. “We have a pretty good idea of what our next single is going to be”, says Miranda, “but I think we’ll keep it to ourselves for the moment. We do have some candidates”.

Other tracks that may or may not be among the contenders for the third Say Lou Lou single are ‘Skylights’, ‘Everything We Touch’ and ‘Love Is The Loneliest Place’, which have been an integral part of the sisters’ live set in the past few months. “Those songs have been around for quite a long time”, Miranda explains. “They’ve followed us for about a year and I don’t know what their place will be, whether they’ll be singles, but they’re part of the Say Lou Lou groundwork. We wrote them last year after we had a little breakthrough with ‘Maybe You’ so we got in the studio with Janne Kask and we wrote ‘Love Is The Loneliest Place’ first and it was a very natural song that came quite easily. It’s a really good song to perform live”. Elektra agrees: “Yes, it resonates with a lot of people when we do it live. It has a sense of urgency and desperation but also some rock’n’roll tendencies. It’s a bit 90s in a sense”. “It’s a personal little gem”, Miranda concludes.

A lot of the work on the Say Lou Lou debut album has been done with the help of producers, Addedboy vs. Cliff. “They’re a big part of our sound”, Miranda says. “They’ve helped us so much and they used to be a part of our live band as well when we were first touring. They’ve been there with us since day one”. Addedboy vs. Cliff also produced ‘Julian’, which the girls say they recorded at the same time as ‘Maybe You’. “When we were recording those two songs we didn’t think they were singles”, Elektra tells me. “We thought, yeah, they’re good, they’re cute little tunes. But now we’ve come round and we do see them as singles. I think they’re really, really strong songs”. Miranda adds: “What sets ‘Julian’ apart from ‘Maybe You’ is that ‘Julian’ has more of a backbone. ‘Maybe You’ is just bass, really. When you do it live it can be really beautiful but if it’s late at night and you’re in the middle of an energetic set, it feels different when you do ‘Maybe You’ to when you do ‘Julian’ because is elevating and fun to sing live”. Elektra agrees: “I’ve grown to love that song a lot. Especially live. They fit together so well because ‘Julian’ wouldn’t be what it is without ‘Maybe You’. I think that ‘Maybe You’ laid down the ground, the vibe and the style and ‘Julian’ fits perfectly as the second step. If we had released it as the first single, I don’t think people would have understood it as well. They’re all building blocks on the way to creating the musical world that we want to exist in because now when people hear something new from us the groundwork we were talking about earlier is already there”.

We venture outside of the Say Lou Lou music world and I ask the twins what they’re listening to these days, other than the artists showcased on their mixtape. Miranda giggles. “Our manager has actually been pumping the new Daft Punk and Pharrell song about three or four times an hour”, she says. Elektra is also laughing. “We’ve heard it so many times. It’s amazing!” . “Our manager is walking around doing dance moves to the song”, says Miranda. “So the last few days have been dedicated to Daft Punk”.

“We’ve also been very excited about the David Bowie comeback”, Elektra says. “I was so scared of listening to it because… well, you don’t want to ruin it. Sometimes when an artist you love releases something new you are almost hesitant when it comes to listening to it but… but it’s so good”. “I cried the first time I heard the single”, Miranda confesses and Elektra immediately concurs: “Yes, me too and then the second one, the one with the Tilda Swinton video is also great”.

The girls recently completed a support slot on an extensive tour with Hurts. I ask them whether they find that audiences pay sufficient attention to support acts. “We haven’t actually done many shows where we weren’t the headline act”, says Elektra, “but fans love them so much that they embrace whatever Hurts give to them, you know? If Hurts say that they think we’re good then they’ll give us the time of day and listen. Their fans were amazing!”

And what can we expect from their London headliner for Best Fit? “We are adding two or three new tracks to the repertoire and we have a couple of little surprises in store as well”, Elektra reveals.

In terms of post-’Julian’ next steps, having already collaborated with Goldroom as well as Australian singer, Chet Faker (on a b-side track recorded especially for the ‘Julian’ vinyl), the girls are looking forward to the soon-ish release of a new Lindstrøm track which they co-wrote with the Norwegian producer and with Noonie Bao. They’re also excited about the continuing work on their album and being able to release physical records. Elektra says: “Our grandmother’s been, like : ‘where are the CDs? How can I listen to your songs?’. So it’s going to be great to be able to finally touch our music”.

‘Julian’ is released on 6 May on à Deux. Say Lou Lou play White Heat at Madame JoJo’s on 30 April. Tickets are available here and here.

Share article

Get the Best Fit take on the week in music direct to your inbox every Friday

Read next