Twins are back on track
FOUR years of living in each other’s pockets can be a test for the closest of bonds – even for twins.
Although it’s been five years since chart- topping Aussie duo The Veronicas last put out a studio album, Jess and Lisa Origliasso have been anything but idle.
Their second release, Hook Me Up, which went to No. 2 on the ARIA charts here, turned out to be the album that just kept on giving, with a US release in 2008 and a UK release in 2009.
By the time the twins had finished touring the album in 2010, they were heartily sick of it and each other.
‘‘ We had had our fill with the record,’’ older- by- a- minute twin Jess says as she sits in a West Hollywood cafe near their LA base.
‘‘ It had its dramas and its successes and we were ready to move on.’’
Lisa interjects, a little more bluntly: ‘‘ We were ready to kill each other.’’
The two went their separate ways, wanting to discover whether they could create separately as well as individually.
Lisa threw herself into music history, listening to a lot of blues, soul and rock, and travelling to music mecca Nashville to write.
Jess found herself more drawn to electronic dance music and trip- hop, and was being introduced to a broad spectrum of music from classical to world through her then- partner, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan.
‘‘ You do feel a sense of losing your own identity because you are just known as a band,’’ Lisa says.
‘‘ We are so close to each other that when we did take that time off we went into songwriting separately for a while and it was a case of rediscovering ourselves.’’
When they reconvened to start working on their third album, they not only brought their individual new influences, but also a newfound respect for each other, new boundaries and a determination that they would not be dictated to.
Bursting with creative ideas, the pair made contact with left- field musicians they admired rather than the usual roll- call of hitmaker pop producers.
Collaborations were duly set up with Nirvana producer and Garbage drummer Butch Vig, trip- hop guru Nellee Hooper, who masterminded the early Massive Attack albums, and Silverchair’s resident genius Daniel Johns.
‘‘ We wanted to start somewhere we could be challenged,’’ Jess says.
‘‘ That’s why we were working with Butch Vig and Nellee Hooper, people that pop people don’t necessarily reach out to or even have a chance to experience.
‘‘ Luckily for us, people really respect what we have done on our creative journey so far, so those guys were more than happy to make time for us.’’
Not all the collaborations made the cut for the album Life On Mars, which will be released later this year, but for their comeback single they returned to the scene of one of their biggest successes.
Producer Toby Gad ( Beyonce, Fergie) helped their single Untouched break into the top 20 in the US, where it was downloaded more than a million times, and the UK top 10 – and he has now also cowritten and produced Lolita, which has just been released.
Taking its name from the controversial 1955 Vladimir Nabokov novel ( and its movie adaptations) about a 12- year- old girl who becomes involved with an older man, the subject matter of Lolita seems to have raised a few eyebrows.
The twins say it’s their intention to surprise rather than shock with the dark, dancey, club- ready anthem, which is drawn from their experiences as young women in an industry dominated by older men. ‘‘ They were questioning a few things of the video content of Lolita,’’ Jess recalls of a recent phone- hook- up with their record label.
‘‘ And someone piped up saying ‘ girls, what’s your demographic? Do you think you might upset a few people?’
‘‘ I said, ‘ We are not making this s--up; we are writing about things that are close to home and you might want to rethink the single if you are rethinking the video’.’’
For Jess in particular, the song contains an added meaning.
She recently ended her relationship with Corgan, who was 18 years her senior.
‘‘ It’s no secret that we have had relationships in the past three years that are somewhat relevant to the theme,’’ she admits. ‘‘ Because we write from experience it touches on all these things we have dealt with. But people will read in whatever they want to read in, so to be completely honest when we wrote that song it was a very unconscious creation.’’