Several years ago while visiting friends at Seattle University, I was introduced to the then-infant music of Lemolo. At the time, SU student Meagan Grandall and Kendra Cox had just begun their musical endeavor for the school’s annual “Battle of the Bands”. Since then, the duo has played dozens upon dozens of shows in the greater Seattle area and Western Washington. Additionally, they’ve shared the stage with some of Seattle’s best young artists including Sub Pop’s new signee Head & the Heart. Amidst a new video debut, an upcoming KEXP studio appearance and many more shows booked, the girls took some time to answer questions about one of Apes on Tapes’ favorite home-state bands in recent memory.
Apes On Tape: Style-wise I think a lot of people, myself included, have compared you to Beach House. But how would you personally describe your tunes for anyone that hasn’t heard them?
Meagan Grandall: Our genre is indie-pop, although we have heard labels such as dream-pop, electro-folk and sad/sexy pop. Whether the song is dark and moody or lighthearted and dancy, what we are shooting for is to create beautiful music that moves us as we play it. We hope that this comes across to our audience.
AOT: You guys have been playing together since high school right? Did you ever originally plan to keep things going this long, or have you just been enjoying the ride as it develops?
Kendra Cox: Actually I only started (seriously) playing music when Lemolo was formed; however, Meagan has been playing music as a singer/songwriter since high school and is classically trained on the piano. Lemolo was formed about two years ago for a Battle of the Bands at Seattle University where Meagan was going to school, and we never really talked about long term when it began. I can say for myself that as we played that first show I was in it for the long haul, and I’m pretty sure Meagan felt the same way. We feel really lucky and blessed to be in the place we are now.
AOT: You have a date with KEXP coming up on March 26th! Did they approach you about that? And are you guys a wee bit nervous or just elated for the shot to work with them?
MG: Regarding our in-studio performance on KEXP, we are elated and nervous at the same time. We were approached by Sharlese, the Producer of KEXP’s local show Audioasis, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. This time last year we played our first live radio performance on the University of Washington’s Rainy Dawg Radio, and we were half-jokingly talking about how it was our practice for KEXP. We were dreaming that the day would come at some point in our careers, but we just didn’t think it would come so soon!
AOT: The Jooniors videos you did a while back have caught a lot of attention. I actually read your videos were the most viewed of any they’ve recorded. How’d you arrange that opportunity and did you expect it to yield those kinds of results going in?
KC: That whole experience has been a really pleasant surprise. Chris Matthews, the originator of the Jooniers live video sessions, contacted us via email and asked us if we would like to come to his home studio to record a few tracks, it was that simple. We really had no idea what to expect and we are so happy with how wonderfully received the videos have been.
AOT: You guys have played literally dozens of shows in Seattle and the greater Sound area. But I didn’t see any out of state shows. Was that an intentional effort to keep things close while you honed your skills, or has it just been impractical to set up a more distant tour up to this point?
MG: We have yet to plan an out of state tour, but it is a dream of ours that will hopefully soon be realized. Since we are a young band, I think the last year has been mostly about figuring out our sound as a duo and establishing ourselves as musicians in our hometown and in our own heads. The next step for us will be recording our new songs later this spring, and then hopefully planning some more distant shows. There is a lot to look forward to right now.
AOT: On that note about the Seattle shows, you’ve gotten to play at many of the best venues Seattle has to offer with some of the finest younger artists in the region. Does any particular venue or band stand out from the rest?
KC: I think that my favorite venue thus far would have to be Neumos (Crystal Ball Reading Room). We’ve played there twice in the last year, the sound there is just remarkable. I have seen a lot of amazing bands play there and I think I can speak for both of us and say that along with the venue itself being amazing, there is something really special about playing on the same stage as another band that you have a lot of respect for.
AOT:. I know you were recently working on the music video for “Open Air”. How’s that coming?
MG: We are happy to announce that our first music video, directed by James Bailey, is online for your viewing pleasure. You can check it out on our website (www.lemolomusic.com) under the “Watch” tab.
AOT: In that news vein, any info on a new record or when it might be available? Any particular record labels you’ve been drawn towards? Or do we just have to stay tuned…?
KC: We are really, really excited to start recording our new songs and are in the first stages of planning out how to make that happen. Were aiming at getting in the studio this spring but until then, you’ll just have to stay tuned, haha.
AOT:. I heard “Lemolo” comes from the language of Chinook Jargon. Have you guys heard the band by the name Chinook Jargon from your alma matter Seattle U?
MG: Lemolo does come from Chinook Jargon, and it means “wild and untamed”. We actually chose our band name because Lemolo Shore Drive is the name of our favorite road in the town we both grew up in. We learned later that Lemolo comes from Chinook Jargon, and the translation was just an added bonus. I haven’t heard of the Seattle University band, Chinook Jargon, but I just found them online and I will have to check out their music! I see they just changed their name to Kithkin. Magic the Gathering anyone?