Although they seem too nice to ever admit it, the Harp Twins are more metal than you.
Their arrangements of songs by popular artists – including Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, and Nightwish – have not only proven that the pair have the audacity to take harp music into unfamiliar territory but their chosen repertoire, comprehensive DIY approach, and compelling showmanship has garnered them hundreds of thousands of fans as well as national media attention. Currently preparing for a Portland-area appearance this weekend at Faerieworlds 2015, the twins jointly answered several questions via email.
“When we first started uploading videos to YouTube, we just wanted a place to send potential clients so they could visualize our performance material.” A pragmatic solution to a straightforward problem, the statement reflects the assertive, hands-on approach that the twins bring to any challenge, beginning with the after-school jobs they took in middle school to be able to afford their first harps and extending to the independent 2013 release of two covers albums, which they recorded themselves without overdubs (a professionally mastered third album of cover songs was issued earlier this year.) “Once we have our equipment set up, we just like to record the way we play live. We love keeping our music and recordings real and authentic.”
“Some of our favorite bands who we haven’t covered yet are Eluveitie, Angra, Within Temptation, Dragonforce, Kamelot, and Black Sabbath,” they say. One hopes that the word “yet” alludes to what could eventually become an entire album of metal covers (or, for that matter, an album of original material that would showcase some of their darker influences.) With a full calendar of scheduled performances and video production in between (the twins also shoot and edit their own music videos), they say songwriting is an ongoing process and “We were planning to release an EP of original music, but it’s possible that we’ll wait until we have enough music to release a full album.”
As self-professed type-A personalities, the pair universally hold themselves to a high standard in both performance and personal conduct. Keeping in mind music journalist Jessica Hopper’s public discourse on Twitter last week regarding the treatment of women in the music industry, we asked the twins for their feedback. “We haven’t seen that particular discussion, but we have definitely had experiences with sexism – especially since we’re females playing mostly rock and metal music on harps. That is a very male dominated genre and some people are uncomfortable or distrustful of women who want to rock.”
They aver that critical remarks are often superficial and reactionary, directed at a woman’s appearance, gender, or sexuality. “It’s disheartening that we still live in a world where people (especially men, but also some women) try to ‘shame’ women for their appearance or clothing.”
Worse perhaps is having one’s musical knowledge or proficiency challenged on the basis of gender: “(W)e have had guys throw random rock/metal related questions at us, apparently in an attempt to prove that we’re not really fans of those genres. When we answer [knowledgably] they act shocked, amused or disappointed.” [Gender is apparently not the only determining factor for this particular discriminatory behaviour – Slayer’s Paul Bostaph recently recounted a similar experience with inappropriate fan approbation when he first joined the band.]
Similar to their upcoming Faerieworlds appearance, the duo have performed at several fan conventions and are well-received by geek culture in general having covered numerous genre theme songs, including Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings, and The Walking Dead. Their song selection process is not a matter of simply playing to the crowd however, as their choices reflect the twins’ own interests, too. “When we were growing up, we were music geeks and math geeks! We love that today’s culture really seems to accept all types of geek interests.” They admit only casual interest in horror, but say that The Walking Dead remains their favourite TV program: “(I)t’s a wonderful mix of horror, drama and surprisingly ‘believable’ scenarios considering it’s a fictional zombie apocalypse.”
A combination of genuine enthusiasm and passion for music is evident from their work ethic: “Our workday is from when we wake up until we go to bed. We are happiest when we make each day as productive as possible.” A similarly dynamic, independent pair of creatives who happen to be identical twins with a passion for their work is Hollywood filmmakers Jen and Sylvia Soska (American Mary, Vendetta). We asked the Harp Twins if their own relationship as twins affects creative output:
“We realize that every set of twins is different: some get along well, some don’t; some want to do the same things, some would rather go their separate ways. However, for us, life is more gratifying when we’re together…We always have an equal and trusted partner to bounce ideas off of and we feel that we push the other to continually be the best we can be. It’s wonderful to have someone to work with who shares your vision.”
Check out The Harp Twins this weekend at Faerieworlds 2015 and visit them online via the links below: