1. First off, who are you and what genre of music do you make?
We are Gracie and Rachel and we make orchestral-minimalist-hopefully-intellectual-indie pop music and we recognize that’s a ridiculous answer.
2. If you had to describe your music with a color, what would it be?
Black and white. So… Gray.
3. What’s the biggest struggle you have when it comes to creating?
G: It’s hard when I feel inspired in my mind but not in my fingertips. Sometimes there’s something I deeply want to express but that sentiment gets lost in translation between my thoughts and the sounds I make. I think that can be one of the most frustrating parts of creating: knowing what you want to hear and not always knowing how to bring those feelings to life.
R: The biggest struggle I have when it comes to creating is sometimes I come up with ideas that I want to manifest but get so excited that I don’t always settle on those ideas or give them the nourishment they deserve. I can be quick to throw away material due to moving onto the next thing, and that can be hindering in my ability to slow down and nurture a thought.
G: That’s where the balancing act becomes key for us. There’s a push and pull that feels necessary to the process of creation.
4. If you could play any show in the world, what would it be?
G: Royal Albert Hall in London.
R: Anywhere in Japan!
5. What do you consider your biggest musical success?
G: When Rachel likes something I write. Also, when someone told me one of our songs made them choose not to get divorced. I had no idea we were a couples counseling band. For the record, we’re not.
R: When Gracie likes something I write. Also, when we opened for one of my musical heroes, Colin Stetson.
6. What inspired you to start making music?
G: When I was about 14 a family friend of mine committed suicide, a completely jarring experience not to mention one that was full of questions, unknown answers and deep confusion. As a piano player who had never written a song or even sung over playing the piano, I felt compelled to tell the story of this friend through lyric and sound in order to answer my own questions as best I could. I think that’s what music-making has always been for me: a way to give a number of answers through asking questions.
R: I think I became interested in making my own music through my study of classical music in school. In orchestra I would find myself taking a musical thought that was on the page and expanding on it or isolating just a few notes from it and turning it into new thematic material. I think this was the initial starting point that helped me gain some confidence in writing, and I just started to hear things without the crutch of the music on the page “guiding” me.
7. If you could hear any person living or dead sing to you, who would it be?
G: My grandmama. She sang with such equal sense of humor and seriousness that you didn’t know what was going on but you knew you liked it. Also, Nina Simone.
R: Anohni. Also, Anne Sofi von Otter.
8. Who, aside from any band or musician, is your biggest influence?
G: As corny as it sounds, my biggest influencers are really my mom and dad. The duality they possess as a unit is so artful to me, and I strive to bring as much of that to Gracie and Rachel as possible.
R: Anyone who gets out there and has the courage to make something they can call their own, that’s inspiring to me. It’s tough out there, but the more we support one another’s voices the faster we can grow together.
9. What’s your favorite book?
G: Carlos Castañeda’s Journey To Ixtlan.
R: David Sedaris’ When You Are Engulfed In Flames.
10. What do you like to do other than music?
G: I like doing physical stuff with my hands like writing. I also like to do the worm in party atmospheres.
R: Cooking is my jam. Making potions in general.
11. Who is your favorite musical artist?
G: Agnes Obel is my current favorite, but I have to say The Spice Girls really inspired me at my core.
R: Too hard! I suppose if I were to have to choose one living artist that I am currently under the influence of it would be Jenny Hval – but that’s just today. Maybe tomorrow it would be Max Richter… and the next day Tom Waits… and the next, who knows!?
12. What’s one piece of advice you have for young musicians?
G: Don’t overthink. But also, do.
R: Work hard on your craft — find what aspect of music (listening, playing, watching, reading) makes you tick and run away with it.
13. Lastly, what’s your lucky number?
We’re gonna have to go with a collective number of 2 here to honor our duality.
You can follow Gracie and Rachel on Instagram at @gracieandrachel, and be sure to check them out on iTunes and Spotify!