Los Angeles sister-sister duo KTJ & Carly return with their new single ‘Moonlight’. The electro-pop track, which marries emotive vocals with sweeping synths, is all about the stages of a breakup.
‘Moonlight’ follows the release of the pairs debut single ‘On Your Mind‘ and series of covers posted to their YouTube channel.
After what has been an exciting year for the duo, KTJ & Carly spoke with IndustryMe about ‘Moonlight’, the plans for their upcoming project and more.
First things first, congratulations on selling out the Hotel Cafe! Walk me through what that performance was like
Carly: It’s was really rewarding. To work hard on something and see people in the audience who love and support you makes it all worth it! We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to share our music and stories with people who truly care.
How has studying music impacted your creative process if at all?
KTJ: Studying classical piano and singing growing up allowed me to fully understand the basic language of music. Once we knew the language, we were able to create our own “words” so to speak, and how to take inspiration from the right people. Now we can be creative in the right way.
You’ve previously mentioned stories being the mandatory starting point of all your songwriting. Why is it so important for you both to begin with the story?
Carly: I think the story is the most important aspect of the song because it’s what listeners relate to. Of course, it’s so important that the melodies are catchy, the color and tone is there, but at the end of the day, the lyrics are important. When I’m listening to music, that’s what I listen for.
As two equally passionate and creative people, how do you navigate instances where you each have different opinions on the direction a song should go in?
Carly: This actually happened way more than you would think (laughs).
We are sisters and we fight ALL the time. Then we get over it in five seconds.
Since we are so close we are able, to tell the truth when we think something sounds bad. But the thing is, when it comes to music, we try to hear each other out. We listen and take each other’s advice. We always find a way to work it out.
A lot of people would have likely discovered you from the covers you post on social media. How do you transition from singing somebody else’s songs to creating your own music?
Carly: We have always created our own music, we just have never released it before. It’s kinda scary to let your own music and vulnerability out into the world. So transitioning into releasing our music was different, but good. It felt Nerve racking yet rewarding to let people hear our thoughts and emotions.
What do you each think the other member of the duo brings to the table?
KTJ: We both have two very different personalities, Carly, being very type A, and me, being type B. We look out for each other, we each bring balance to the table, and push each other to be the best versions of ourselves. Being a pianist for a decade and a half, I play during our live shows, and I’ve figured out some pretty efficient and quick methods of producing because of piano, while Carly has her own methods to producing as well. Carly loves to use old samples and create stories around different sounds and samples. Carly bring a lot of the business side to the table as well, she is really great with that stuff. She is very organized and always make sure that we are always meeting deadlines, arriving to appointments, and staying consistent on social media.
Carly: KT and I have different approaches when it comes to writing and producing. KT’s form of songwriting is more wordy, almost rap-ish and her melodies and chords consist of more add ons (Ex. C#7, Gm7) and more complex writing. This makes for a very pretty, mysterious, and almost magical kind of music. It is different, but it sounds great. My style is a little different, I tend to write with more minor chords, but I also try to keep the chords as similar as possible throughout the songs. I also tend to use less words. KT creates melodies straight from MIDI with digital sounds, and likes to change up little details in production like frequencies and midi CC’s. KT knows her way around DAW and taught me a lot of what she knows. Together, our styles and personalities make for a great team. -Carly
To me ‘Moonlight’ describes the conflicting thoughts you have in the aftermath of a breakup, was there a particular situation that inspired the song?
KTJ: My older siblings, my friends, my breakup, school; everything in my life that was happening at that moment all inspired me to make this song.
When you were working on the production of the song, was there anything specific you did to try and convey those emotions?
KTJ: I typically like to create a happy melody/chord progression if the lyrics are sad, and vise versa. I just wanted it to feel big so I put sub drops and 808 kicks all throughout.
Would you say writing this song helped you to heal from that experience?
KTJ: 100%. It was really weird actually how much it helped me move on. It was in that moment I knew that songwriting was what I am going to do for the rest of my life.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you have ever received?
Carly: One of the most valuable pieces of advice I’ve ever received was to stay true to ourselves. To not try to mimic other artists and to make art and music from what comes deep within us. The best work comes when it is for your own satisfaction and because something inside you said to manifest it into music, not when trying to please others.
You’ve previously hinted at there being an LP in the works, what can we expect from that?
Carly: We don’t know yet if it will be an LP or EP. We have several songs up for the project, but nothing is set in stone yet. We know for sure that listeners should expect songs that will connect to listeners and will let them interpret it in their own ways. We hope, as we always do with music we release, that it will speak to people in their own ways, making them feel better, connected, or understood.
Finally, what is the one thing you want to achieve before the end of the year?
KTJ: Before the end of 2019, we hope to finalize a lot of our productions, increase a following and get some awesome stuff going behind the scenes before the crazy year of 2020.
Listen to ‘Moonlight‘ Here:
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