lastlings harness youth and beauty in music made beside a rainforest
The siblings are proof that working hard doing what you love pays off.
Photography Tasha Tylee
Lastlings are the young brother sister duo making chilled out, soulful dance music from the edges of a Queensland rainforest. In the year since we spoke to Amy and Joshua Dowdle, premiering their first EP on i-D.co, the siblings have been focused on developing their sound, production and live show. And while the band continues to be identified by their dreamy wall-of-vocals, it's evident they have honed their performance via a string of live shows and the addition of a drummer.
Off the back of a series of successful new year festival appearances, and with a new EP in the works, we caught up to shoot the photogenic pair and discuss the balancing act that is their lives.
How was your 2016?
Joshua: It went so quickly. We haven't really looked back, it's kept us so busy. And in the moments we're not working on Lastlings, I still work in fashion and Amy is in high school.
It's nice that you have this shared experience. Being siblings, is there truth to the idea that you have an intuitive bond in terms of your music?
Amy: Yeah I think so. We can be super honest with each other. And because we live in the same house we are always communicating. We say exactly what we think and can let the other know immediately if we don't like something. It means we can move forward more quickly.
Do you think working with family influences the subject of your songs?
Joshua: Yeah it does. I mean, Amy is young, she's my little sister. It wouldn't seem right if there was swearing in our lyrics. All our lyrics are respectful and appropriate.
That's perfect. Your new music is sounding really great. You've added a drummer right? What else have you been working on?
Joshua: Yeah, we have a drummer now, a guy called Dave Jenkins. He's just the dude, he's crazy nice. He's drummed for Vera Blue in the past. The great thing about our music is that we can put anything into it and it'll work to a certain extant. We can record and sample something falling on the ground and it can go in there somewhere and add to the overall sound. I record a lot of samples around our house. One of our recent tracks has a rain storm I recorded. It's fun adding sounds that aren't in other songs.
What do your mum and dad think about your band?
Amy: They're really supportive. Dad plays our music in the car all the time and mum encourages us to really go for it. They're into it.
Were they musical? What did you grow up listening to?
Amy: Dad's karaoke. Ha.
Joshua: Dad would always have a guitar in the house — he began teaching me before I took over and taught myself. There was always singing in the house. Mum would also play the piano. She learnt with us.
Does the band take you away from home a lot though?
Joshua: We are playing more and more festivals. We have a bunch of rehearsals in Sydney tomorrow.
Amy: What, tomorrow?
Joshua: I pretty much manage Amy's life. She's a log-head, she wakes up so late.
I think everyone in high school wakes up late. What's your favourite subject?
Amy: Probably Media and I love filming stuff but I need money to buy a camera. I like writing short stories and playing the piano too.
Joshua, what do you do beyond the music?
Joshua: I just surf all the time and read books.
Where did the band name come from?
Joshua: I wrote a short story in high school called The Lastlings about the Last Things on earth. It was a post apocalyptic tale and it came to mind when we were trying to come up with our name.
It works so well with your music. What do you have coming up?
Joshua: We are finishing our EP and touring with a few bands we love. We are so excited to be sharing the stage with such great bands and hearing our music on the radio, it's so cool to see it out in the world.
Text Briony Wright
Photography Tasha Tylee