Danni and Kris Talk Avril Lavigne & Pre-Show Rituals (+ Gallery)

Suburban Rose: What [were] your first music[-related] memories?

Kris: My first music memory is lying next to my mom on her bed and singing the Beatles together. I was really young. We were singing the song “I Saw Her Standing There”. That was like the first song I ever fell in love with. It’s kind of my first real memory, like lasting impressionable memory.

Danni: I have this old eight track tape recorder and I recorded myself singing Jackie Velasquez on it for no reason. I just wanted to hear what my voice sounded like (laughs). That was the first time that I realized I really liked singing. That’s kind of my first real, like [Kris] said, impressionable music memory.

SR: What was it like the very first time you performed in front of an audience?

Kris: The first time it was an actual show and I was playing my music, I think I was 19. I was a little nervous. There were a couple of songs where I forgot the words. It was very different from the confidence that I have [on stage] today. It was nerve-racking but I’m glad that I did it and got through it.

Danni: Me too! (Both laugh.) My first memory playing on a stage for the first time is not is cute. My mom always tried to put me in plays when I was younger. I would just stand there and cry because I was so embarrassed and when it was my turn to sing, I’d be like, “I can’t!” and I would start crying. After that, I decided it was going to be fun to try it to do more. Eventually, I warmed up and didn’t cry on stage. (Laughs.)

Kris: That’s good.

Danni: It is good! (Both laugh.)

SR: Who’s had the biggest influence on your careers?

Kris: We both kind of grew up listening to certain bands and music that influenced us. It was... music that our parents exposed us to. The Beatles was one of [those bands], and a lot of Electric Light Orchestra, and Fleetwood Mac. So, the classic rock stuff was very prevalent in my upbringing.

Danni: I’d say for me what started my musical career and wanting to write and stuff was probably like Avril Lavigne. (Laughs.)

Kris: Oh yes!

Danni: Like her and I both have already been over this. We were obsessed with her. She was the reason we wanted to play guitar. So, after that, I think there was Evanescence in there somewhere. Later on, it got a little more advanced, just better music. (Laughs.)

Kris: Basically, bands with really cool strong female leads.

Danni: Yeah! Oh yeah! Absolutely! That was a huge influence for us because it tells you like, “Oh yeah, you can do it. You’re a girl and you want to play guitar? You want to play piano? You don’t? You want to just sing? Like you can do that.” It was really cool.

SR: What inspires you to make new music?

Kris: A lot of life experience obviously. I feel like heartbreak is one of the biggest inspirations for any artist. I don’t know what it is, it just brings out the emotion.

Danni: It stirs something.

Kris: So, there is definitely a lot of that in my early- to mid-20s, figuring life out. So, writing a lot about heartbreak or the pains of trying to figure out who you are what you want to be, and feeling good enough and [feeling] okay in your own skin. Things like that definitely inspire me a lot.

Danni: I feel like now, especially now, when we write new music, we have this drive and hunger to push out music that we feel there really isn’t enough of, you know? We love the classic sounds so much that we want to integrate that with our sound and add some of those elements. We really want to write a song that’s kind of a 90s vibe with, like, some rock influences. As you write more music, you want to produce stuff that you really don’t get to hear as much because it’s more fun. It’s really fun and then people can hang out and get a little nostalgic with you. I love that. It’s awesome.

SR: What’s the last thing you do before going on stage?

Kris: Either take a shot of whiskey—

Danni: Yeah, that’s one.

Kris: That’s not very original or anything.

Danni: It’s good for the vocals. [We also] go pee. (Laughs.)

Kris: Yeah, go to the bathroom. Tell each other we got this.

Danni: That’s a big one. We always do that. Like, “You got this. We got this.”

Kris: Absolutely.

Danni: Yeah. Or something has gone wrong which, you know, nine out of 10 times things go wrong, our favorite phrase is—

Kris: "We’ll make it work" [...] Things go wrong a lot.

Danni: They do.

Kris: Murphy’s Law.

Danni: But we always make it work. We always make it work.

SR: What’s your favorite song to play live?

Kris: My favorite song to play live of ours is called “Into You”. We just put it out on Spotify and iTunes in June. It’s just a fun song. I have a good time playing it.

Danni: Yes, it’s so fun. I love it.

Kris: It’s groovy. I like the harmonies in it. So that’s like my favorite song to do of hers. When we’re covering a song, I think my favorite one to play right now is "Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac.

Danni: Same, on both accounts. Yeah, it’s the same.

SR: What’s been the craziest thing that’s happened to you at a concert?

Kris: Gosh, I know there’s something. Oh yeah! There was a group of people who didn’t want us to quit playing and so they started to riot in the venue. The cops ended up coming. People were, like, throwing drinks.

Danni: It was crazy. [People were] smashing glass.

Kris: And I was like, “We’re just an indie pop band.” We’re not like playing metal or anything. (Laughs.) It was really funny. I guess it was a compliment. We’ve had people come up to us while we are on stage, in the middle of singing, and they start talking to us. As if we can sing, play guitar and talk at the same time.

Danni: Yes, it happens a lot... there’s a lot of weird things that happen. We’ve had people try to walk on stage while they’re singing the song. We’ve had people booty dance to songs that aren’t even booty dancing type of songs. You know what I mean? (Laughs.) These people are just out to have a good time, apparently.

Kris: Absolutely.

SR: What’s been the most memorable moment of your careers thus far?

Danni: I feel like the Eli Young show was really, really cool.

Kris: Yeah, we opened up for the Eli Young band at the Fort Worth Convention Center and there were like 4000 people there. So that was really fun. Yeah, playing on TV as well. The first time we played live on TV.

Danni: Especially Fox Four was so fun.

Kris: I would say for me those are probably the most memorable.

Danni: They’re really special. I love the ones when there’s a really lively crowd that’s not afraid to really show that they’re enjoying the music. We had the opportunity to close out the Florence and the Machine show at the Toyota Music Factory a couple of months ago.

Kris: It was the best crowd ever.

Danni: Everyone was so great. That one and my favorite show of all time, we played Three Links down here. (Looks at Kris.) Was it opening for Aaron Gillespie?

Kris: Yeah. The drummer for—

Danni: Underoath—

Kris: —and Paramore.

Danni: Honestly, it was just so cool because people really showed that they were interested in what was happening. When they are like vibing with you and feeling the music that you’re playing—

Kris: You feel like what you do is important. You don’t always get that playing live music. You can be playing to nobody or nobody listening, so the moments when you’re playing and the whole room is listening is just the best feeling.

Danni: Oh yeah. It’s amazing. It like what makes it all worth it. As soon as you get a show like that, you’re like, “All right I want to do this forever.”

SR: If you could write the soundtrack for any movie, what movie would you pick?

Kris: I really love the movie 500 Days of Summer and I already like the soundtrack for that movie, anyway. I feel that movie really resonated with me a lot. It still does. I’ve seen it so many times. I think it’s such an awesome film. So, I feel like I would really be able to provide some really cool songs for that movie. I think I could. That would be one I feel I could nail. I love that movie.

Danni: Yeah that’s actually a really good one. I would say another similar quirky one like that is Elizabeth Town with Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst. I felt the same way, like I kind of resonated with that movie when I saw it. I love the soundtrack. It was really quirky and different. I feel like I could definitely pump out some tunes for that movie. It would be really cute and fun.

SR: What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?

Kris: Keep doing things that scare the hell out of you. Just do it. Just do it. Don’t let any of that fear hold you back. It does feel really cool when you keep doing things daily or weekly that really scare you and overcome them and actually have fun doing them. It can be scary. There can be a lot of fear in it, just at any venture in someone’s life. To not let that hold you back at all.

Danni: I would second that, coming from someone who loved singing and loved music but was so terrified all the time to ever sing for people and be on stage. She actually said something to me one time that kind of changed me forever. We were at her house hanging out and this roofing guy was there and her mom was bragging to him about our songs. We had just woken up. (Whispers:) We looked rough. We were just jamming. She told this guy that we played music and I was like, “No! I don’t want to! I don’t want to play for him!”

Kris: He wanted to hear us play, the roofer.

Danni: She was like, “Danni, if we’re real musicians, we’ve got to be able to just play music whenever.” I was like, “Yeah, we do!” So we ended up playing a few songs for him and it was actually not scary at all. It’s all in your head. So I would say the same, just push past the fear. People really aren’t judging you as much as you think they are. And you know what, if they are, then who cares? Because you’re doing your thing and people love that. If you do care about what people think, know they aspire to live their dreams out, too. It’s scary for everyone. So, whatever you feel you’re calling is just do it and be it all the time. Even if you just woke up and you don’t look the part. (Both laugh.)


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