Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Interview with the Scarlet Ending's Kayleigh and Kaleena Goldsworthy

Am I by any means qualified to conduct an interview? Meh. Would that ever stop me? You better believe it won't ;)

It was my esteemed pleasure to talk with these two ladies whose talent, drive, ambition, depth, and music are just astounding. Kayleigh and Kaleena Goldsworthy are two artists by every definition of the word. They have fought hard to bring themselves as far as they have and they're far from through.

Knowing and loving these two ladies, I thought it would be incredible to let you, boys and grrls, into their world and let you know them just a little bit better.

1.) How did you first get introduced to music?

KAYLEIGH - Our parents. We were very fortunate to grow up in a house constantly full of music from even before we were born (what up headphones on my mom's belly!). It's always been a huge part of our lives, and even though it was never forced on us I think we both always knew it was what we wanted to do for the rest of our lives.

KALEENA - Definitely out parents. I don't recall a time that music wasn't in our daily lives because of them.

2.) When did you realize that music was what you wanted to spend the rest of your lives doing?

KAYLEIGH - Um... I'm not sure. I think deep down I've always known. Our music career started in very small steps, learning to play guitar, playing that first show, getting the first real band together and grew from there. When I actually realized that we had a shot at doing this professionally, it stopped being a hobby, and it started being a job. Now it's even more than that, it's my life... everything I have done for the past 11 years of my existence has been to help that cause.

KALEENA - I think for me, it was in middle school that I actually vocalized that realization. I had an incredible music teacher that truly inspired me. I just remember that after 6th grade, I knew what I wanted to be when I "grew up.". Then, it was a music teacher, but really, I began doing all sorts of musical things around that age. Our first "band" started around 8th grade. And from then on, everything in my life revolved around music.

3.) Who inspires you? Where do you find your inspiration?

KAYLEIGH - I find inspiration in absolutely everything.. it could be from a book, or a picture, or some whacky premise that comes to my mind. I love when I go out and listen to music by truly inspiring musicians, or talk to very creative people who have a real desire to pursue their craft. Not only the talent inspires me, but the tangible ambition and passion, feeling that energy of someone else who wants [whatever it is they're trying to do] really bad.

KALEENA - I find my inspiration from people, relationships, and really just life in general. Writing keeps me sane - I write make sense of things; I need it. As far as influences that have led me to where I am today, definitely my parents and all of our friends who have stood by us through all of this.

4.) Can you describe what the writing process is like for you?

KAYLEIGH - When I write a song, it usually feels like everything falls into my lap at once. Sometimes, I need to run and get a notebook otherwise I'm afraid I'll forget it, or I need to hit record on my cell phone and sing wherever I may be at the moment. I do a lot of writing in vehicles, long drives especially. I also tend to write everything - melody, vocals, guitar, lyrics, harmonies - all at the same time. It's like I can hear the complete song in my head before it's on paper. Then I take it to the band and we hash it out that way.

KALEENA - I typically just sit down at the piano or with the uke and whatever happens, happens. I write words all of the time, but until the right song comes along, they just stay in one of my millions of notebooks. Similar to Kay, I carry a notebook and a voice recorder on me at all times. If I don't have something on me, I like to think "if it's meant to be, I'll remember it later.". This, is the lazy musician's approach to songwriting. Hahaha.

5.) Being identical twins can be somewhat of a double edged sword. What has been the best twin question you've ever gotten? What has been by far the worst? And do you possess the proverbial "twin powers"?

KAYLEIGH - Amen. Best question? If we have "twin powers" haha ;) Worst question? I honestly don't know, we've gotten quite a few interesting ones. Probably if we used to switch places in class as kids or play tricks on old boyfriends, and maybe it's just the worst to me because I don't think we were very interesting children because we didn't do any of that stuff. But twin powers, yes... as children we would wake up (in separate rooms) at the same time with the same nightmare, finish each others sentences (to this day, a conversation with the two of us reads like a conversation with one person), etc.

KALEENA - I think the best twin question I've ever been asked is, "How old is your little sister? She is really good at violin for her age.". That, or the oh so obvious, "Are you two related?" / "How long have you guys known each other.". The twin questions that kind of get on our nerves (I think that's safe to say) are the ones "Stand next to each other so I can tell the difference?". No one likes having to be picked apart like that. We are awkward musicians. And lastly, twin powers? I don't really think so... We're pretty awesome in the respect that we are like night and day when it comes to personalities. We have just done everything together for the past 25 years (up until now). I get feelings like I know she is all right (when she was in a snowmobile accident), etc. Things like that I enjoy knowing.

6.) What is it like to collaborate with one another?

KAYLEIGH - It's both a blessing and a curse. As sisters, you're always going to be each others best and worst critic. She knows when you can do better, she knows what you're capable of, and well, she's pretty damn talented too. Writing together is something we don't do very much of for that reason... We're two very strong women with viewpoints we want to get across in songs, and sometimes like mixing fire with fire. But on the other hand, she also provides a fresh look at my work after I've slaved over it for days/weeks/months, and it definitely helps.

KALEENA - Pretty much what Kay said. We know if we're going to be working together on things to get ready for it. It's always just been better for us to write separately and bring it to one another. A friend told me that in order to be in a band and successfully write with others, you can't be married to any idea - you need to be open minded. It is hard when you work with family, especially a twin, because someone always wants to have the final say. It's a hard thing to get over, but I think all of our music is really exceptional because of each others' input.

7.) What was it like performing for the troops? Would you do it again?

KAYLEIGH - It was incredible. Having the opportunity to go out and actually do something - no matter how you feel about the situation, is an amazing feeling. We made so many phenomenal people, went to some incredible places, and did some pretty incredible things. I think I speak for all of us in the band and anyone who accompanied us that we would do it again in a heartbeat.

KALEENA - YES YES YES. Those tours gave changed my life in so many ways. Not only has it blown my mind that I can bring something to them and make their day a little better, but I've learned so much about myself. These tours have helped me to see all that I have and to not take things for granted.

8.) What has it been like being an independent artist trying to get their work out there?

KAYLEIGH - It's definitely a challenge, but I feel like the work is that much more rewarding when something actually comes together and you know that you did it. I think with everything in the industry there are pros and cons to being an independent artist, so currently we're just trying to focus on the positives and the great opportunities that are available to us that we can capitalize on.

KALEENA - it's been a very interesting road. Similar to the question of "what's it like to be a twin," I would answer this by saying, we don't know it any other way. We have worked hard for everything we have achieved, and we have definitely been very, very lucky and privileged. We like working for ourselves - it nice to have control over your music. Is it challenging? Of course, but that is the life we know, and we wouldn't change where we've come from one bit.

9.) What challenges have you faced being an independent artist trying to get their work out there?

KAYLEIGH - haha, the biggest challenge is probably getting your work out there ;) We've become a pretty self-sufficient bunch, and in many cases don't just wear the 'musician' hats, but the 'manager,' 'publicist,' 'booking agent,' and all other 'business' positions. Yes, there are many opportunities uniquely available to indie artists, but there are millions of other bands trying to get at them too. You really need to make your own way.

KALEENA - Touring has been our biggest challenge, I think. We have been given many wonderful opportunities to open for nationally touring artists, and being very warmly received. When we play shows on our own, it is difficult to get people out to areas we have not played before, as well as it being difficult to even secure a show at a venue we haven't performed at before. With times as they are, tours can run a band financially into the ground. We have done our fair share of these tours, but can't help but think if we could just find someone to believe in us the way we do, we would be touring so differently, and successfully. It is the best way for us to get our work out there -- our live show is something we take a lot of pride in and believe people should see.

10.) If you could only pick one, what would be your favorite song and why?

KAYLEIGH - Stars "Your Ex Lover Is Dead": That is really tricky because this song isn't on any of my favorite albums, but it's just so f*$king good. I feel like this band did an incredible job tackling the exact moment and situation not a lot of other songs do, and they did it with such ease of lyricism and emotion that it really grabs you. The instrumentation and blend of Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan, and the first line before the music cues... to me, the song is perfect.

KALEENA - Oh, mannnn... Favorite songs are hard. For me, it kind if changes all of the time. I have songs I would call my favorite because they have inspired me, and songs I would call my favorite because they remind me of certain things. I think for today, I will go with a momentary favorite - "Blue Sky Blues," by Ryan Adams. I am a sucker for a good piano ballad, and this one will crush you. It's a mix tape MVP of mine. It's just perfectly written and emoted. It's incredible to me when someone truly catches the essence and emotions of the song in the recording, and you just can't not sing this song that way. The lyrics are incredible and the melody is just so beautiful.

11.) Do you have a favorite horror movie?

KAYLEIGH - You know, I had to stop watching horror movies after I moved into an old house back in college. All my other roommates wouldn't stay there overnight and I was the lone girl who did and not watching horror movies was the only thing to keep me sane haha. But we grew up watching horror movies, my dad especially has a thing for all the older ones and monster movies. We loved "Jeepers Creepers" growing up, and "Wrong Turn." I also enjoyed "Drag Me To Hell," (this was recent... I'm getting braver!) But you know how everyone has that one move that scares the shit out of them, no matter if it's truly frightening or not? "The Ring" is that for me. Holy hell... I can't handle it. I had nightmares when a roommate had whatever 'Scary Movie' parodied it; it's the creepy crawl. I can't handle movies with the creepy crawl.

KALEENA- I love psychological thrillers the best. I should say "Dead Hooker in a Trunk" is an all time high scorer ;). You girls are too ballsy. I think you should put us twins in something, let us kill some zombies or something, then we'll be less afraid of slasher films. Hahaha. But yeah... I love the ridiculousness of the "Final Destination," films... I love me some "What Lies Beneath" plot line. I can't stand the ones that let your imagination decide what I happening... "The Grudge," terrifies me to this day for that very reason.

12.) What is coming up for you ladies? What projects are you working on and what can people look forward to in the future?

KAYLEIGH - We're busy!! TSE is working on a new ep, focusing on finishing up the writing and starting some demoing. And I personally moved to NYC this past month, and will be releasing my own solo ep of an alt folk/popish/countryish nature. Elective, my electronic/pop project with fortyfps filmmaker CJ Wallis, is still definitely alive, and I'm starting to pursue some songwriting out here. I think I as well as the band are at a point where we're very blessed to have endless possibilities at the moment, and we're going to try to do all that we can.

KALEENA - We are hard at work on some new TSE material. I'm really excited about it -- every album is a completely new element for us to explore. The new songs are very different from anything else we have previously released, but in a fantastic way. Aside from TSE, I am working on a solo album as well that features my ukulele.

13.) Where can people see your work?

KAYLEIGH - The Scarlet Ending is all over the place; you can check out our stuff on itunes, amazon, or cd baby (and the obligatory myspace, facebook, and twitter), and our official site is www.thescarletending.com. My personal site is www.kayleighgoldsworthy.com, and Elective's is www.electivemusic.com

KALEENA - Same as what my sister said -- :) . My website isn't up quite yet, but it is / will be www.kaleenagoldsworthy.com

14.) And, lastly, what words of advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
KAYLEIGH - I don't know that I could give any real advice, but just a little insight on things that we've learned that are very dear to us: Just go for it, and make sure that everything you do allows you to continue creating your craft the way you feel it should be done. There are ways of making it without sacrificing your artistic integrity, and frankly, it's the only way to stay true to who you are. That, and never write ANYONE off, no matter how rude or terrible they may have treated you before you really fell into your stride. They will come back to you, and when they do it will be because they want to support you or book you or interview you (finally), and it's much easier (not to mention you look real good compared to them) when you take the high road and keep your head up... there isn't much that is more rewarding than making something out of a nonbeliever and doing it in a respectable manner can never harm you or your career.

KALEENA - I think that Kay offers some great advice. I think that you need to always stay grounded and keep yourself aware of all of the incredible people that help you out along the way. Always pay attention to the people that come to your shows, buy your merch, thank you for your music. They are the reason you can do what you do. Never lose sight of them, without them, you are lost. The moment you lose sight of that, you lose sight of the hard work you and other people have put into your craft; you lose sight of the reason you do what you do. Also, give it everything in you. Realize and believe that you are your own boss, and your success depends on how much time and energy you put into believing in yourself. If you're truly doing what you love, you can't go wrong. People come into and out of your life for different reasons, but I believe that if you're being true to yourself, you will have everything you need - the right people, an intense desire to pursue your passion, and happiness and support all along the way.

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