Say Lou Lou: Dream-Pop Beats & 70s Flair

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Say Lou Lou
Say Lou LouPhotography by Socrates Mitsios

Ahead of their London gig tonight, Swedish-Australian pop duo Say Lou Lou talk dreams and decadence

Perfectly fulfilling the stereotype of Scandinavian beauty, musical twin duo Miranda and Elektra Kilbey have come a long way since their moody electro sounds originally caught our attention back in 2013. Growing up between two continents, the half-Swedish, half-Australian pair's bi-cultural heritage is reflected in their global style – breathy vocals, flowing acoustics and synth-pop beats blend together in dreamy Lykke Li-meet-Chromatics rhythms. But while they drift through the commercial dream-pop genre, Say Lou Lou are crafting a sound all their own.

Their long-awaited debut album Lucid Dreaming, featuring Lindstrøm collaboration Games For Girls, dropped earlier this month via their label À Deux, and the band’s latest video – set to their single Nothing But A Heartbeatencapsulates the duo’s distinctively noir dynamics. Sporting high waisted denim flares, off the shoulder tops and knee-high lace-up boots, the Kilbey twins look like they just stepped off the set of Charlie’s Angels. Ahead of Say Lou Lou’s return to London for a headline show at Heaven tonight, we catch up with the girls to discuss twin power, musical influences and Seventies aesthetics.

On the inspiration behind Lucid Dreaming…
Elektra: The inspiration behind Lucid Dreaming came from the life events that have led up to now, like relationships, all the hardships and teenage experiences as well as all the different kinds of music we listened to growing up.
Miranda: Also the name of the record we felt was a reflection of that – I guess through dreams humans somehow digest their memories and experiences and we felt like that was a suitable name for the record because that’s what we were doing whilst writing the songs, we were digesting our experiences. So the album is like a diary, a sort of therapy session, and that’s why we felt like creating a record that would awake your dreams.

On working with your sister…
Most times it’s a blessing. We are very in sync creatively and we know each other inside out and that makes the working process very easy. There’s a good symbiosis between us in terms of work, but then I think spending lots of time together, especially on tour, travelling, being in each other faces constantly, of course you want to kill each other sometimes. But we finish off each other’s sentences, we interrupt each other and become one person when we tell a story, we become quite messy and confusing for whoever is listening but I think it’s a strength more than a weakness.

On musical and personal identity…
In my heart I feel Australian just as much as I feel Swedish. In terms of music sound and production, the Scandinavian side prevails, but from a song-writing point of view, our vocabulary and use of language is more Australian. The electronic, polished, perfected side of our music is quite Scandinavian, but when I play live on stage I feel more Australian. Personality wise, the sense of humour, the openness, the silliness are definitely the Australian part of us. Growing up in Sweden sometimes it was difficult to be a show kid because you get told off for being too loud, stealing the attention. There’s an old Scandinavian law, the Jante law, that says ‘don’t think you are anyone, don’t believe yourself to be better than anyone else’. Although that didn’t ultimately affect us, it did lead to some sort of identity crisis growing up – should I be myself or should I just be like everyone else?

On their band name…
 Lou Lou was our dad’s aunt who was a family legend. There are so many stories about her, but basically she was this angry, old English lady, who was mean to all the kids. But we always loved the name Lou Lou and we thought it was strange that a bitter, old woman had such a sweet name. And then Lou Lou was also the title of our favourite childhood book, it’s the story of a wolf who tries to desperately befriend all the rabbits but accidently eats them and walks around feeling guilty. So it was kind of about having a beautiful name but being horrible, we thought it was a sexy contradiction.

On the inspiration behind their fashion…
We’ve liked the same kind of clothes since we were kids. We’ve always looked up to our parents’ style in their heyday and that, together with the music we listened to growing up, was what sparked an interest in the 70s. David Bowie, Kate Bush and the Stones were our idols, in terms of both style and music, and we’ve always associated that period with the idea of beautiful men and women, walking in their velvet suits and scarves.
M: There was a controlled sexiness and an ideal of female liberation about the 70s that was reflected in the clothes, a sort of a delightfully tacky glamorous decadence.

On what they do when they’re not making music…
 We love watching movies and diving into a subject to the pint of getting obsessed with it. Like we would watch a movie and then all the movies by that director, or say we like an artist, we’d listen to all their albums for the next two weeks. It can be anything from the Russian Revolution to PJ Harvey – we like to get really obsessed with something and focus our energy on that. Like lately we’ve been quite obsessed with cold cases, crimes and murder cases, like the podcast Serial – oh my God you have to listen to it. 

On ‘what if you were born in the Seventies’…
 I’d be a dancer at Studio 54… [Laughs] No, I won’t. I’d probably be living in the countryside, walking around in big hats, riding horses, painting and be married to a crazy French sculptor.

Tickets for Say Lou Lou at Heaven available here.