I’m fixated on the evolution of The Veronicas‘ logo, which has undergone many transformations before returning – upon their first live performance of their new single Biting My Tongue – to the neon pink sign that adorned the Hook Me Up album.
In their fifteenth year together as The Veronicas, there’s few things that are full circle for the duo. A lifetime of growth, self-discovery and a constantly evolving sisterhood has created one of Australia’s longest lasting pop exports.
To chat about the fifteen years together, the upcoming record Human and because it’s practically music writing law now – ‘lockdown’ – Nic Kelly’s in Bold, Jessica is denoted by a ‘J’, and Lisa is denoted by a ‘L’. OBVIOUSLY.
Well done on The Voice, that was quite fire, love the chore. My first very important question is, very good work on keeping the logo the same from Hook Me Up. I noticed the logo up there in big writing last night. Did you guys drop the logo for a couple of years and bring it back?
J: Every album we’ve had a different logo, but we realised that everybody really loves the second logo. So we decided to bring it back to this
L: Well, we didn’t just bring it back for this, I think it’s probably here to stay forever now. Yeah, it’s the logo.
How did it feel to perform? Was it weird with the social distancing?
J: It was our first live performance of the song. But social distancing had to been instilled. So us and all the dancers had to be a metre and a half apart, Lisa and I quarantine together so we’re allowed to be next to each other, hence the back-to-back moves. But yeah, it felt really empowering. It was such a great moment for us to have a choreography moment for the first time on television. We had a little choreo moment for In My Blood, but this is the first time that we had a full on Beyonce moment.
L: A lot of people used to see us rock out with our band. That’s really our comfortable space. So in true sort of ‘us’ style, we were like, “oh, we’ve got a performance, let’s do something completely different that we’ve really not done before, and make it a big choreographed moment.” I think when we’re writing a song, we we don’t just write the song, we see the whole world that we can create with the music. So we visualise the music video, we visualise every aspect of a live performance and how it feels. The colour schemes, the looks, all of it. It’s really fun what we do. We were saying that creatively, The Veronicas gives us this limitless world to play in. Really, we can go as far as our imagination goes, and our imaginations are pretty untamed!
Have your imaginations and your creative brains been the last few months being a bit more stationary and locked down? Do you feel like it’s helped or hindered the process?
J: I found that my anxiety has been less? There was a study that they’ve been doing and they’re calling it a phenomenon that people who generally suffer a little bit of social anxiety are doing better, because there’s less expectation with all the boundaries that you have to sort of perform daily. We’re just really grateful to be healthy and spending time with our family, our Mumma and each other and working to finish this album. We love getting stuff done. It’s just allowed for a different way of thinking and a different way of creating, but we’ve known that from the beginning of this, it’s really important to keep growing and to keep building a community to inspire one another to keep growing in whatever way that is. For us, we’ve done that physically – we’ve been planting things and growing things – but also metaphorically and spiritually and intellectually, it’s just about continuing to inspire and grow as a person.
What have you physically been growing?
J: Tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers…
L: Kale, potatoes… pretty much like all of our favourite foods.
Are you guys conscious of being able to potentially one day live off your own growths?
J: Oh yeah. That is the plan, to be completely self-sustainable. Solar power, water tanks, even hydroelectricity is kind of fun. I mean, we’re down to literally go off grid. I think that’s the thing about being a musician. We live such a contrasting life. When you’re in creation mode and you’re making a record, you essentially go into a cave and you hide away from the world to create these… like… our babies, right? It’s like all the shadowy, darkest parts and corners of our mind get to kind of come to life in these songs and all of a sudden all the thoughts and feelings we have, have a place to live and breathe and when you have the opportunity to put them out to the world, that’s when the light shines on them. We’ve always said it’s like therapy. It’s a therapeutic process for us. Music has saved my life time and time again. I think I would be even more insane if I didn’t have that outlet. So it is a really wonderful outlet for us. It’s true freedom having the ability to create. So even in those times of lockdown, essentially, we go through that period of hibernation.
L: Creation is quite an introverted experience. And then the presentation of it – the performance of it – it’s a very extroverted experience.
J: So when someone says, “are you an introvert or an extrovert,” I’m like, “well, for six months of the year, I’m an introvert and then for the other six months, I’m a rockstar.” You definitely take on this other persona to be able to stand up there and give every part of yourself to this.
L: It’s interesting. In a way, it’s like when we’re songwriters and when we’re making an album, it’s Lisa & Jessica. Then when we’re performing the album, it’s The Veronicas. They’re different. We take on different alter-egos, different characters within that. So the space that we might write Biting My Tongue could be a completely different vulnerable state to us standing on stage in thigh-high boots, suspenders, dancing,like we’re Beyonce, you know what I mean? Like, they’re very different mindsets from performance to creation.
J: It takes pure vulnerability to be able to create a song from a really honest space in you. So it’s not like “oh, what am I going to write about? I’m going to think of something to make up” it’s like “no, let me reach within myself for a minute and feel what I actually need to get out.” In order to do that, especially in a room with other people… I mean, Jess and I are lucky, we’re twins and we’re so used to sharing with each other anyway. But you have to be so vulnerable to be able to speak about those things in a room with other people and throw out idea. It’s not always intense. I mean, the majority of the time it is intense, but sometimes it’s just as fun. Sometimes it’s just like “I just want an electro beat to write something sick over.”
L: We’re celebrating fifteen years of The Veronicas this year and the process is always so unique. How we get a song written, how we create it, it’s always never been the same. Depending on the energies, the other writers in the room, if it’s just me and Jess, it’s like truly an experience and something that I need to get off my chest, or whether it’s something where we’re just having fun.
I’d never really thought about it as being almost like Jess and Lisa are the songwriters for The Veronicas. You two as humans are the BTS situation, then when you you’re on stage and glammed up and choreographed within an inch of your lives, it becomes this whole other beast, doesn’t it?
L: And I think that’s the reason sometimes it’s a long time between drinks. Because essentially, we’re writing about life. And in order to write about life, you have to be able to be in it and experience life! We very much have to go and be Lisa and Jess and be in that mode, in order to then be the artist to take those experiences and be able to put them out there in a whole new way.
The album’s called Human. Are you guys the most human at the moment that you’ve ever felt in your lives, or not?
J: Absolutely. I think every year we become more and more. It’s like you’re a spirit that is having a human experience. The world only gets more unreal as you get older, I think every year that you’re alive, you become wiser to realise that you know nothing, if that makes sense. When you’re young, you think you know everything. When you’re eighteen you think you know everything. By twenty-five, you think you know even more and then you start to realise that there are things that exist outside of you and your mind gets blown open again and you go through these new rebirths every year and the world becomes more unreal, and you become more real.
Jess, I saw some hesitation in your face about that question, talk to me.
L: I’m just this constant work in progress of trying to figure myself out! It’s interesting, I really wouldn’t know how to describe myself. Sometimes I feel very human and very grounded in reality. Other times, I feel like a complete alien here on earth. I think that’s the beauty for me having the outlet of music, because my voice in song is the most authentic, honest representation of who I am. And I actually find it quite difficult to explain in everyday life or even understand myself. So when I’m listening to these songs back, I have a much clearer understanding of who I am in reflecting on by songs than I do in the present moment, because I think I’m constantly evolving and changing.
Biting My Tongue is out now.