Interview: Two People on the Power of Visuals

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Following the release of their impeccable single ‘Something To Talk About’ and their stellar performances at this year's BIGSOUND, I caught up with Melbourne band Two People and we talked imagery, inspiration and the importance of saying no.

Performing the first night of BIGSOUND. How do you feel the Brisbane crowds embraced the project?

Phoebe: I was really happy with the turnout last night. A little bit surprised by how many people were there. I didn't know what to expect.

Joey: When you know it's an industry showcase, it's in the back of our minds that the room is full of industry which is a weird thing to do.

Phoebe: Also, people are racing around to see one song of 50 different acts so you don't expect a solid crowd.

How important is it for Two People to give people an experience over a show that crowds just stand around and watch?

Joey: It's one of the core things we try and do basically. Just in how we construct the songs in a live setting. They're not the same as the recordings and songs would flow into other songs and also the visuals of the show are really important to us.

Phoebe: We try to make it sort of one world and it's a world that we can then take anywhere.

Speaking of visuals, Two People have really well thought out the imagery to accompany the tracks. How important is the pairing of them and how do you both approach thinking about the visuals for the project? 

Phoebe: We focus on the visual side nearly as much as the music. Because they've got to work together and compliment each other. That dynamic is ingrained in what we do.

Joey: I think we are just as into visuals and art as we are into music.

Phoebe: Joey did the design for our artwork and record. We do it all because that's kinda the best way we can create a really consistent look, and feel, and mood. It's hard when you hire someone to do a job. They do their best and you describe it your best but it just doesn't come from somewhere raw.

Joey: They often can just miss the mark a little.

Phoebe: It being a little different and gritty or handmade is part of what that world is.

Are the visuals ever finished before a track is started?

Joey: Maybe in our minds, we might see something. We might see a world or a landscape and a song would come from that.

Phoebe: Even if it's an experience or memory that has a very vivid picture that would often start a theme of a song.

It's that ability of artists to take inspiration from anything. What would be the top three things that Two People would choose to go-to for inspiration? 

Phoebe: For me, it's sort of unavoidable life stuff. Day to day moments and feelings. A couple of phrases or interactions. At the moment, I feel like I'm not looking for inspiration, it's just there happening in life. Our album that we made that's coming out this year is very much about real life. We're not telling made up stories, it's stuff that feels real to us even if it feels otherworldly or even it feels abstract. We're trying to tell stories that we don't know how to say.

You mentioned it was a very personal album. How important is it to have your personal personas in your releases?

Phoebe: It's actually part our very initial manifesto. It is important for us to be ourselves. Because, often in this industry and in this environment, there's an image that is created that isn't necessarily that person. For us, that's not sustainable because we want to keep doing this and open ourselves. We don't want to act. It’s scarier that way because we put ourselves out there.

Joey: But it’s also the reason we do it, because we have feelings and we’re like, 'oh what am I going to do with them' so we write a song. It comes from us as who we are, and doesn’t come from a manifestation of saying 'let’s be art or let’s be musicians'. Maybe that sounds all a bit pretentious but it’s important that we are ourselves.

This isn't like your first foray into the music industry both of you were in Snakadaktal. How do you feel all of your experiences from other other projects have trickled into Two People?

Phoebe: In many ways. In every way.

Joey: The big thing is the experience in the industry. Just learning all the little things like playing shows. Being on stage and learning what that takes and what you have to prepare for.

Phoebe: And what the lifestyle means, because, it's not an easy lifestyle.

Joey: Going back to what we were saying before Snakadaktal was our band but it wasn't as personal for us whereas this band is really personal.

Phoebe: And I think it was appropriate we had that experience because we needed it for the sort of project we're going into now. Also, that experience was when we were very young and forming our ideas and forming as artists. That's also why we probably weren't as personal. We were personally invested but we didn't have a clear vision yet.

Joey: I guess we learned how to be confident in our own ideas. We trust our own ideas now.

You both started in Snakadaktal at the really young age of 15. If you could go back in time, would there be a piece of advice you would tell those 15-year-olds? 

Phoebe: I would want to tell a 15-year-old to know that their allowed to say no and have their own voice. When I was 15, I didn't know I could and you don't know you can until you go through traumatic experiences.

Joey: I don't really know. I have a lot of things I would think to say, but also there’s something good about not knowing what you're doing and copping it all so you learn and grow.

Phoebe: It's different for everyone.

Thank you for chatting with me today. That was really fun and insightful! 

Written by Roy Gordon (@yorgordon)

You can watch the video for 'Something To Talk About below:

You can catch Two People playing a co-headling tour with Lucianblomkamp at the below shows:
27th October - Howler, Melbourne
17th November - Oxford Art Gallery, Sydney 
30th November - Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
More information is available here

(Photo by Tim Hardy)