Friday, June 4, 2010

Interview with Ellie Macnamara from Heathers

PRECOCIOUS twin sisters Ellie and Louise Macnamara, better known as Heathers, are finding that the inclusion of their upbeat brand of acoustic pop on a national ad campaign is reaping dividends for the duo.
The guitar-toting double act have had their single ‘Remember When’ included on the current Discover Ireland ad campaign, with considerable impact, as their music is introduced to a new audience.
You know the ad - long, lingering shots of Ireland, accompanied by the Macnamara’s twins singing “I need to find a way to get away from everything”.

“It has definitely given us a massive boost, it is incredible and we are so proud to be a part of it,” says Ellie, speaking to On the Beat from the twins’ Dublin home.
“I think so many people who wouldn't have listened or heard our music before, have now heard it, which gives us a different audience. It is a bit overwhelming and hilarious, especially when you are in the cinema and the ad comes on,” she laughs.

Just twenty years of age, the twins burst onto the scene in the summer of 2008 with the release of their debut album 'Here, Not There', which they recorded while preparing for their Leaving Cert exams. Some weighty acclaim followed for the duo, who only started writing music together the previous year, despite growing up alongside each other.

“We hadn't really played music together, we had sang together once or twice,” says Ellie. “We started writing music together around April 2007. We didn't ever really plan on starting a band, it was just a bit of fun and then gradually it kind of formed into a band when people started listening to our music and hearing it and really liked it, which shocked us,” she explains.

The duo progressed from playing friend’s parties to gigs, and on their third ever live performance, played with an American band called Ghost Mice, who liked what they heard and asked them to tour in America with them.
A band member also asked them to record their album on his record label, despite the fact that they hadn’t written it at that point.
“It was mental,” says Ellie. “We didn't even plan on writing an album immediately anyway, so it kind of gave us a bit of a push, which was incredible. We have been very lucky.”

Luck is one thing, but Heathers have raw talent to burn. Their album is filled with hook-laden, harmony-driven pop tunes, and any success attained is a measure of their ability.
Since the release of their album the band have played several acclaimed gigs in the States, and last year, at the IMRO New Sounds Stage at Oxegen - all of this while balancing full-time college courses.

This summer they will embark on a short national tour and then take some time to write a follow-up album. The experience gained over the last few years will stand to them, Ellie believes. “In a way, the fact that we have had a couple of years, our taste in music has matured and we have had a lot more time to think about what we like,” she says.
“Also playing gigs and touring with bands and seeing how they play, travelling to different places - we have learnt a lot, I guess, so maybe that will have an impact on the next album.”

Heathers play Upstairs in Dolan’s this Saturday night, before which they will play as part of the first ever ‘Cruises St Live Festival’ on Saturday from 11am-3pm.
They will also play at the Special Olympics opening ceremony in Thomond Park next week.

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