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SXSW interview: Heathers

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SXSW interview: Heathers story image
By Valerie Tapia

Friday I had the chance to chat with twin sisters and bandmates Ellie and Louise Macnamara of the Dublin, Ireland based pop music duo Heathers.

Ellie and Louise, now 24 years old, started Heathers at 17 years old after they found themselves surrounded by family and friends in bands and decided they should start a band of their own.

Following the positive reaction to their first acoustic album recorded in 2008, “Here, Not There”. Ellie and Louise embarked on two tours at 18 and 19 years of age.

Their second album in Ireland, "Kingdom," dropped in 2012. The sisters set out to make poppier and fuller-sounding record, foregoing the acoustic sound that dominated their first album.

Obviously fans of the film world, Ellie and Louise say that, yes, they actually named their band after the 1988 movie, “Heathers" after spotting the DVD of the movie lying on the bed.

Speaking of their success, Ellie describes this moment of realization: “Last February, we played a pre-Oscars party at JJ Abrams house, and Steven Spielberg was there as well and they were watching us play and that was probably one of the best moments of my entire life.”

Ellie also says that the moment when she realized that the band was much more serious than they had originally thought was when the doors began to open up for them after their song “Remember When” was placed on a tourism advertisement in Dublin, Ireland and the music got bigger and bigger.

Talking about who does what in the band, Louise lays is out. “Ellie writes the lyrics, so I would write a lot of the music and we both would kind of collaborate in harmonies and vocals.”

As with any band trying to hit it big, touring is part of the game for Heathers, but on a much grander scale. “It's been amazing," Ellie says. "We just came from Malaysia. It was crazy because I think we had 40 hours of traveling so I think we're still jet lagged and we love it...it's what we love to do and it's amazing getting to see different places and we've never been to Austin before."

About how the music scene in Dublin compares to the music scene in Austin, Louise notes there is “loads of energy” for music in both scenes. Though this is the sisters' first time at SXSW and in Austin, despite the hectic nature of the festival, they are very excited to be here and are pleased with the massive amounts of music lovers here.

I was fortunate to catch their show at Maggie Mae's this past Wednesday evening at the Music From Ireland 2014 SXSW showcase and the crowd was amazing. As mentioned by Louise, there are many amazing bands coming out of Ireland and that showcase definitely proved it.

I think we can expect to see even more great things from these two and I'm positive that we will see more and more of them in the states.

Their album “Kingdom” will be released in the US on April 12.

On the web: heathersmusic.netSXSW interview: Heathers
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