Promising not to be prejudiced against any music era, The Lemon Twigs pull influences from any genre in any decade. Comparing themselves to Kanye in terms of compiling various influences and praising his open-minded approach to creating music—but not at all sounding the same—Mike and Brian D’Addario describe their songs as progressive pop. Glamcult reached out to the West Coast duo, speaking to Brian to find out what fuels The Lemon Twigs.
When exactly did you start to show an interest in music?
We were really, really young. As early as you can show an interest in anything, we showed an interest in music.
We hear that your dad, being a musician himself, has been a big influence on both of you. Do you think his music taste prompted your style of music?
Yeah definitely, he and our mother have been very supportive from the beginning because my dad is a very knowledgeable musician, and very generous with this knowledge, it was a great environment to be in if you wanted to be a musician. I think he was a little apprehensive, more so than my mum. Not in showing us whatever we wanted to learn from him, but he’s faced his own disappointments in this field, so I think he was a little worried we could face the same troubles. He was a great songwriter but it was hard for him to get anything going, he knew he deserved it so that was frustrating for him. We are trying to get people to be aware of his music as well because he has 40 years of great stuff—he’s never lost his ability as a songwriter.
What themes do you touch on with your music?
Just our day-to-day life pretty much, so with our record it was kind of involving relationships and spirituality and things—stuff that we’re interested in. Then there are a couple of stories that are just Michael’s, where he took himself out of them and made these things based on little stories. This album was created separately; there is five of my songs and five of Michael’s. The stuff we’ve been working on afterwards has been a lot more collaborative.
You’re clearly influenced by a lot of music from previous generations. Are there any contemporary artists that you enjoy listening to as well? What is it you like so much about music from the past?
The one person I have really gotten into, as much as I have with all the old music, is Kanye West. I listen to all his records and I really love him. Some other people are Foxygen and Ariel Pink—more of a rock thing. I’ve heard a lot of new music that I really love but it’s not usually rock. What I love about Kanye is what he does in the production of things, it’s kind of similar to what we do because we don’t exclude any era of music when we are writing. For the beginning of Frank, for example, we tried to make it have a hip-hop beat and even though it is a classical sounding song, it’s influenced by lots of different genres. So we never exclude any era and neither does he, he uses a lot of old samples and he uses them pretty heavy-handedly; he’ll use an entire 70s soul song, so I don’t consider it that different to ours.
Speaking of the past, have either of you ever gone through a phase that you look back on now and wish you could take back?
I went through a screamo phase; I loved this band called I Set My Friends on Fire. It’s just really depressing, when I listen to it now I just feel sad. [Laughs] But at one point in time it made me feel so happy. The band I used to be obsessed with, but am less influenced by today—and I’m not ashamed of it—is My Chemical Romance. I was really into them for at least two or three years, Michael wasn’t. If My Chemical Romance influences me at all now, it would just be in a conceptual sense, wanting to do big things and wanting to do something theatrical in the future.
We love your looks. Would you say your style and image are important to you?
It’s important that we dress up in some sort of way for the stage, because I just feel like putting effort into every area is important. We like the people that we’re kind of obsessed with at the time. Michael is the more fashion conscious; he likes the way Alex Chilton of Big Star dresses. But you know, he likes flared pants and tight t-shirts and clothes that feel good on the body. So it ends up looking pretty 70s, which we are fine with. It’s a specific era and it will probably make people [wrongly] think that our music is just influenced by the 70s and what not…
Do you think the fact you are brothers is partially responsible for why you make good music, or does working together sometimes cause tension?
It definitely contributes to us being able to do what we do a lot easier, because it’s easy to complement the other person when you know him so well. It sometimes creates tension too, but that would be the same if you worked with anybody else.
You recently tweeted that you are ‘NOT GLAM’. If you had to describe yourselves in three words, what would they be?
Ah man, I guess I like the label progressive pop, I think that’s funny. I also like to put “songwriting” in there as that is our focus, but that’s such a vague, general term. I guess: progressive pop, kinda—that’s three words if you include the “kinda”.