While we’re used to artists making a leap between their first two albums, but Heathers have jumped with more success and style than most. With the McNamara sisters and band about to head off on an Irish tour (win tickets to Saturday’s Dublin show below), we spoke to them and suggested that Kingdom is all that a second record should be…
Louise: “On one hand it’s a progression from the last album but it was definitely something we wanted to do, bring in more instruments and go for a fuller sound. We listen to so many types of music ourselves that it felt right. When we wrote that first record we were seventeen and now we’re twenty-two so we’ve matured a bit and I’d like to think our music has matured with us. We wanted to take ourselves out of our comfort zone and try something we’d never done before and write for musicians beyond just the two of us.”
Even though you released your debut four years ago, your career has been very stop start so far…
Ellie: “This is the first year that we’ve actually done Heathers full time but it got to four years since we’d released Here, Not There so we knew we had to start writing and recording, so the majority of this album was written in a rush last summer.”
One of the things we like most about Kingdom is that, despite the bigger sound, it still sounds like the two of you. Was that hard to achieve?
Louise: “This was the first time we’d ever worked with a producer but we wanted to find a way to find a new sound but keep Heathers, keep the harmonies, not just add instruments to sound like this or that band. We still wanted to be Heathers and I think that happened.”
Did you write it any differently to the first record?
Louise: “I wrote a lot of it on keyboards rather than guitar and Ellie focused on the lyrics. We were both doing our own things and bringing them together. I guess it was the same in the sense that we wrote it in our bedrooms and not with other people.”
You came out of a very clearly defined DIY scene. This must all be quite different…
Louise: “It’s just happened that way, things have changed an awful lot. The whole DIY thing is still very important to us, we like to be in control, but I guess we’ve moved to a different thing. We never even used microphones for the first year and now we’re playing with drums, keyboards and backing tracks so it’s hard to get the sound right so we’re comfortable.”
Ellie: “Once you start doing all the band stuff with that energy, it’s difficult to drop back to the acoustic stuff. Most, if not all, of those songs can be performed by just me and Louise though.”
At its heart, Kingdom is a great pop record isn’t it?
Ellie: “We don’t write hundreds of songs and pick a few. We had thirteen for this album and eleven were used and it’s all about hooks, catchy parts to a song. Melodies are the main thing to us, then it’s the lyrics. It’s turned out to be quite poppy.”
Kingdom is out now. Heathers play the following shows: Wed Sept 26th: Dolan’s Warehouse / Limerick; Thurs Sept 27th: Roisin Dubh / Galway; Fri Sept 28th: McHugh’s / Belfast; Sat Sept 29th: The Academy / Dublin; Thurs Oct 4th: The Pavilion / Cork
To win one of three pairs of tickets to the Dublin show, just tell us the name of the band that Heathers collaborated with on the track ‘Comets’ and send your answer to email@example.com by midday on Friday.