Road to SXSW – Let’s Eat Grandma

leg band

Seventeen-year-old best mates Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth are the sonic sorceresses behind Let’s Eat Grandma.

They released their debut album I, Gemini last year, offering up minimal electronics and foreboding ambience in abundance.

The eerie soundtrack provided a perfect foil to their disjointed chanting, while incantations about starfish, shiitake mushrooms and cats only piled on the mystic eccentricity.

Now working on new material, they’re gearing up for a slew of festival appearances this summer, kicking off with SXSW next week, then Live At Leeds on 29 April.

With that in mind, we grabbed a few minutes with Rosa and Jenny to dip our toe into their wonky world…

You’ve had an amazing year, how was it?
It’s been pretty exciting. Having the opportunity to be creative all the time makes us feel really lucky. Travelling to different countries was great and it was really fun playing on Jools Holland.

What that like?
It was surreal. You leave the building and realise it’s not actually a parallel universe. When you watch TV you think it’s a separate world that doesn’t really exist.

Were you surprised by how well your first record did?
Yeh, totally! When we were writing it we weren’t ever expecting to get the chance to release it – we were just writing music. We’re so happy with the response we’ve got.

Are you working on music fulltime now?
Pretty much. We’re at college but we’re only in three days a week so we’re balancing everything with our course. We don’t usually make it to all those three days!

How has your approach to music changed?
We do all the production and everything so we just have to make the effort to find time. There are so many other things you have to do in life.

How do your songs normally start life?
Often we write a loop and start putting stuff over the top. Or sometimes it’s just a chord sequence. Technology has a big influence on the way we make music so if we use certain gear then it gives us different capabilities. We’re also restricted by what we can physically play, because there’s only two of us. We only have a limited amount of hands – which has actually been really helpful! It’s meant we have a lot of space in the songs, which has become characteristic of our sound.

Have you got a favourite bit of kit?
Our loop pedal. It’s a Boss RC-30. It’s not very hi-tech but it’s our third band member.

Have you started work on your next album yet?
We’ve been writing when we can, because we enjoy it. We write constantly, just like we always have. We don’t hire out a rehearsal room and write an album, that’s not how we work. We find it’s more inspired if we write when we’re living normally and have a context within our lives, rather than just being in a rehearsal room.

Your lyrics and song titles on the last album were often very surreal – where did that come from?
When we wrote it we were quite a bit younger – 13 or 14. I think we were very interested then, and continue to be, in how the different senses interlock and how they affect the way we experience things. A lot of the lyrics are very visual. We’d write the music first and we’d think about what we saw visually for the song and based lyrics around that.

You’re off to SXSW in a few days – is it your first time?
Yes it is and we’re pretty hyped!

What are you most looking forward to?
We’re staying with some hosts and we’re quite looking forward to that! And playing, obviously!! The Transgressive showcase is going to be pretty good.

Is it a family you’re staying with?
We think so, it’s going to be quite fun!

Is there anything in particular you’d like to get out of it?
A good time! We don’t really approach playing gigs as a business opportunity, more a life experience. As soon as you worry about trying to win over loads of fans, you’re not really thinking about the important stuff of being in a band.

You successfully applied for funding from the PRS Foundation to attend – what was that process like?
Our manager told us we could apply. PRS Foundation are just great, generally! They look after musicians and we’re really grateful we got that help. It would been a big struggle without it. We’ve received funding before for previous projects and it’s definitely been make-or-break for us.

What does the rest of the year have in store?
A lot of festivals, which we’re hyped for. SXSW, Primavera, End of the Road, and loads of others too.

Let’s Eat Grandma were supported by PRS Foundation’s International Showcase Fund to attend SXSW, and have already received help through the charity’s Women Make Music fund. Find out more about PRS Foundation’s work at http://www.prsformusicfoundation.com/