Photography by Nick Wesson, Hair by David Copewell (@lilmehair), Make-up by Sarah Stonehouse
Sibling rivalry can often mark the end of a band before it even begins: the warring Gallaghers might be the most infamous example, but the road to musical success is littered with plenty of acts whose dysfunctional family relationships proved a ticking time-bomb. All of which is to say that Talk Like Tigers are very much the opposite: to work with Charlotte and Stephanie, the twin sisters behind Talk Like Tigers, is to get to know two fiercely determined but entirely in tune people, both in and outside their music.
Although they’ve previously released several singles of their neon-hued synth pop, they’ve now finally released their first full EP, a four-track self-titled effort that marks their most confident and rounded statement yet. Speaking to them, they’re understandably proud of their latest work. Asked about the EP’s lead single It Isn’t Over, Charlotte notes: “We wrote It Isn’t Over quite a while ago, so it feels great to finally share it! We each sing a line of the verses, like a conversation. It’s a narrative of a night that you never want to end. You’re so carefree that you feel that you’re in another dimension and you’re hanging on to every second of the weekend – a feeling most people can relate to. On another level, the song also means that you will overcome anything negative that is happening in your life. It’s is one of our favourite tracks to perform and we feel that it’s one of our strongest tracks so it naturally became the focus of our EP.”
Prior to coming together to form Talk Like Tigers, both Stephanie and Charlotte have put in the hours in other bands and projects, and in honing their own production skills so they could make their own project in a truly self-dependent way. “We’ve been in bands with different people and it was a great way of learning through collaboration and discovering what we wanted to do. We taught ourselves how to use music software so that we had the freedom to record demos at home. In the midst of our musical discovery and home demos, we had the opportunity to tour many countries as backing singers. This made us even more thirsty to create and release our own music.”
The twin connection definitely exists and we think that this comes across in our live performances.
Although Talk Like Tigers have gone through previous line-up changes and live set-ups, at this point both sisters are clear that they want to make the most of their own skills and knowledge and to maintain control over the work they put out. “Talk Like Tigers began with the two of us, so we’ve now gone back to the band’s roots and it feels empowering! We can concentrate on what’s truly important, our music. We have the same vision and work really well together to achieve this. The twin connection definitely exists and we think that this comes across in our live performances.”
As we spoke, the sisters were busy preparing for a headline show at Think Tank? Underground (aka The Head of Steam) on Saturday 3rd March to celebrate the EP’s launch, alongside a host of handpicked support acts. Charlotte tells me: “We will be performing our EP in full, plus some brand new songs as well. We’re really excited to be headlining our own gig and we can’t wait to share our new music with everyone there. It will be a really special night and we might include a stripped back song. Expect lots of vocal harmonies, synths and even a cowbell – it’s going to be intimate!”
This headline performance also gave the band a chance to showcase some of their favourite female and female-led acts from the region, something the band is very passionate about. “We don’t think there has been a music night in Newcastle that celebrates and focuses on female artists and female fronted bands, so we think it’s a really positive thing do in order to shine a light on female talent. Our launch party also coincides with International Women’s Day, which is a few days later on Wednesday 8th March.
“Supporting us on the night are Amy Ridley, Paige Temperley and Twist Helix. Amy Ridley writes her own music and also performs covers of classic songs and really puts her own stamp on them. Paige Temperley has a unique voice and writes beautifully crafted songs. Finally, Twist Helix, whom we gigged with whilst supporting Samaris last year will be playing just before us. They’ve just been on a Spanish tour and will no doubt give an awesome performance.”
Our band name represents the fire within us. This inspires us to follow our gut and to record music that we believe in.
Although the band are notably (and nobly) determined to help give a spotlight to other female musicians trying to break through what remains a stubbornly male-dominated industry, they remain truly focused on ensuring that they can provide an example to others by breaking through any barriers in their way. As Charlotte puts it, “the music industry is really tough and it’s important to speak your mind, never give up and to make sure that you’re heard. Our band name represents the fire within us. This inspires us to follow our gut and to record music that we believe in.”
The band have much more activity planned for the rest of 2017 – “our music hasn’t been released in the order we have written and recorded it, so well as performing we have plans to release another EP and to write, write, write!” – as well as some special, yet to be revealed collaborations. Before all that though, the twins behind Talk Like Tigers can look on their new EP and launch gig as another milestone in their aim to break through the glass ceiling and to bring their twin creativity to as many people as possible.