We’ve been keeping a close eye on Iceland’s Pascal Pinon for a while now. From the get go, we were completely enchanted by the twin sisters’ elegant melodies and seamless harmonies, and when they invited Best Fit to film a session in their Reykjavik home during Iceland Airwaves a few months back, they had us hooked.
The pair began making music together at the tender age of 14, and since then have gone on to create two albums, the latest being the sublime Twosomeness, released back in January. They’re now set to take to the stage of The Lexington on Thursday 28 March as part of Ja Ja Ja’s Nordic music showcase and to bring their latest creations to an avid London audience, so we decided the time was nigh to get to know this inspiring pair a little bit better.
First of all, can you tell us a little bit about yourselves – who you are, and where you’re from?
We are Ásthildur and Jófríður, 18 year old twin sisters from Reykjavík, Iceland. We play and sing music together as Pascal Pinon, but we go to school and play classical music in the meantime.
What were your main and shared interests when you were growing up, and have you always made music together?
When we were little we used to write songs and poems and books, all of which were written down by our parents. We used to draw a lot and Ásthildur is still making art work, she just started her own independent art gallery in her bedroom the other day. I wrote lots of songs when I was a kid, lots of really bad songs, some really good too. Pascal Pinon started evolving when I got an electric guitar as a Christmas present from my parents when I was 11. ásthildur got a keyboard, but we never use it though.
We used to read a lot of books, Ásthildur more than I did. I wrote poetry, and still do. But these days I only share it in the form of lyrics. It’s poetry nontheless.
Being twins, do you feel that you have an extra special connection when it comes to creating music together? (And – out of curiosity – have you ever had interesting or spooky twin moments that you’d like to share with us?!)
I can’t say we have had any of those spooky moments. We are much more like sisters rather than twins. We have an interesting combination of music tastes. We feel free to criticise each other, sometimes more than we should, but that’s a good thing when you are working in creative projects with other people. We are best at making arrangements together, because then we can sit down and think – how can we deliver this song and make it as cool as possible.
Can you remember the first song that you wrote together? What was it about?
I can’t remember the first one, but when we were 12 years old we had this thing we called a radio station, it was us performing a radio program, we did this in cars and when we were camping with our family, where we pretended to be all the bands, the show hosts and the advertisements as well. It was improvisation from beginning to end, but sometimes we made songs that we tried to remember and write down. We recorded two albums on our mum’s computer and we gave them to our dad for his birthday. One was called ’16 krónur’ (16 ISK), one was called ‘þorsti er eins go þorskur’ (þorsti is like a cod) and one was called ‘hugleiðslulagið’ (the meditation song).
Do you have similar tastes in music, and do you consider yourselves to have the same influences?
Some music we both like and listen to, but still it’s quite different. I feel like we listen to the same songs but we hear different things. I can’t really explain it, but it’s a good thing. It makes it fun to create music together, because we have different ideas about what it should be like.
What do you consider to be your main inspirations when writing music?
I like to spend time on good song writing, structure and lyrics. Ásthildur is very good at arrangements and making killer backing vocals. She is also much better at playing her instrument than I am. But I’m better at writing lyrics.
How much has your home country of Iceland affected your approach to making music, holding such a rich musical history itself?
It’s good to have role models in music. You see local bands growing from playing in the tiniest venues all to performing on huge stadiums… or something like that. That’s really inspiring. It shows you that nothing is impossible, even if you come from a tiny tiny country.