twin sisters say lou lou make music and magical worlds
The Swedish/Australian band make dreamy pop to soundtrack their own fantasies.
There is something magnetic about twins. It's got to do with their innate ability to finish one another's sentences and communicate without words. This is immediately apparent meeting Say Lou Lou, the Australian/Swedish musical duo comprised of twin sisters Miranda and Elektra Kilbey. The sisters are Geminis — the sign of the twins — but Miranda and Elektra fit the astrological description in more ways than one. Natural communicators, the Chanel favourites sometimes speak breathlessly over one another or in perfect unison.
Daughters of The Church musician Steve Kilbey, Miranda and Elektra were destined for a musical path, but their sound has evolved a great deal since they first burst onto the scene in 2012. A string of singles anchored their music in dreamy pop territory, but it wasn't until recently that the girls have felt truly at home in their sound. Currently working on their second studio album (due out later this year), the Kilbeys aren't afraid of switching directions. "We've been in LA recently with two producers that we met in Nicaragua," Elektra explains. "At the time we almost had a full album, but then we met these two guys and decided to scrap most of it and start over. Not because our other stuff wasn't good, but because we finally found our true selves with them."
Say Lou Lou has changed representation a few times and speaking to them about their path it becomes clear how important creative integrity is to them. "With too many chefs in the kitchen, you don't cook a very good soup," Miranda says of the songwriting process. "For a lot of people [studio representation] works, but for us it just doesn't, because there are already ten chefs in my head and ten chefs in Elektra's. So now that it's just us and our manager, we can choose the other independent people we work with and make sure that everyone working on the project actually loves it."
It's understandable the sisters are weary of being weighed down. After all, they're not simply out to write songs: they're world-building, creating a whole new vision that extends beyond music. Visual are central to Say Lou Lou's greater plans — not just in terms of the girls' sense of style, but also in the way they can translate their sound to film. "I didn't feel like I could see a clear aesthetic vision with the other material," Miranda says of their second album's early incarnation. "And with the stuff we're making now, I see it exactly in front of me and I know exactly how I want the film to play out."
When the twins were first invited to attend a Chanel show and take a tour of Coco's apartment in Paris, it all felt pretty surreal. "It's all preserved beautifully and everything in the house has a meaning and a symbol," Miranda says of the experience. "But I didn't feel very elegant to be honest — we were wearing jeans." Of course, the maverick designer probably would have adored the twins' effortless mix of boyish femininity. Not to mention the matching moon tattoos inked on their wrists; a nod to the Swedish tradition of moon sisters Elektra explains.
"Our new music is very cinematic," Elektra promises, while Miranda adds that "the songs look like YSL Rive Gauche or a 90s Polanski movie." Growing up their idols were artists who were conceptual, in the sense they didn't come out only with music, "but with a world," Elektra explains. "With what they looked like, how they danced, how they presented themselves in the music videos, on stage and through their artwork."
As to what we can expect of the sound itself, they promise it will conjure feelings of "sensuality and luscious musicality". On this point, Miranda and Elektra Kilbey speak in unison — although they're still in two minds about the album's title. "We don't really ask for permission and I don't feel scared of stepping on her toes," Miranda says. Elektra adds that they'll "scrap each other's ideas without asking and it's okay, you know?" In other words, they won't always agree on the journey taken, but the outcome will undoubtedly be a product of them both. And in this sense alone, they are quite unlike the metaphorical twins — because Say Lou Lou really will always have one another's back.
Text Rosie Dalton
Photography Charlie Dennington
Creative direction Charlotte Agnew
Assistant Lilah Merz
Hair Richie Grisillo
Make up Corinna Wilmshurst