Interview: Let’s Eat Grandma

Releasing a debut album before they’re old enough to legally buy a pint, the two musicians that make up Let’s Eat Grandma are well ahead of the game, and it’s one they’re playing to nobody’s rules but their own. Switching from haunting vocal harmonies to gritty rap breakdowns, incorporating recorder solos and pop hooks played on glockenspiel, their approach is at once characteristically unconventional and completely enthralling.

17 year old Jenny Hollingworth and 16 year old Rosa Walton have been best friends since they were 4 years old. Growing up together, the pair have developed a kinship as strong as any fraternal bond. In fact, the two seem to exist on a wavelength of their own. Dipping in and out of each others sentences, drifting off on tangents that only they understand, and referring to each other in the third person rather than make direct comments about themselves, it’s as if they’re on a plane of existence that no one else can quite reach.

“I think quite a lot of the songs have references to food,” Jenny exclaims, matter of factly. “I think that’s because we were both really into cooking at the time. We used to make up recipes,” Rosa adds, with a smirk. “We’d do things like we’d put them in the microwave then we’d put them in the oven and then we’d put them in the freezer,” Jenny laughs. “Obviously it didn’t work.”

Establishing that a stint on The Great British Bake Off wasn’t likely to be in their future, Jenny and Rosa turned to music. Much like their affinity for cooking, they describe their band as “just one of those projects” they created for themselves to pass the time. Sure, their approach to song writing might be just as off the wall as their approach to baking, but the results are entirely more gratifying. With debut album ‘I, Gemini’, the pair are quick to celebrate how this project “kind of expanded.”

Announcing they’d signed to Transgressive in February, Let’s Eat Grandma recorded their debut in the former nuclear bunker that now homes Old School Studios. “It was absolutely surreal,” the duo squeal, scrambling to describe the eerie encounters that happened there. “I felt this cold thing rushing through me, and then I felt myself floating above my own body, and I could look down onto myself…” they trail off, muttering to each other. “I was so freaked out.”

Now, with their debut album in tow, Let’s Eat Grandma are ready for whatever may happen next. Sat next to the markets in their hometown of Norwich, the two young women are abuzz with excitement – which comes as no surprise considering the hype that’s surrounding them at the moment. Not that either of them are phased by the sudden attention. They barely seem to notice it, happy to continue indulging in their favourite project together.

Though the recognition may be sudden, the two friends have been making music together for years. “We wrote the album when we were thirteen or fourteen,” Jenny conveys, “so it’s almost like our lives as kids back then. It’s like a time capsule!” Making music that’s showered with references to fairy tales and fantasy, featuring child-like chants alongside raucously juvenile outbursts, and demonstrating the often erratic trains of thought that adolescent minds race with, the duo are quick to attribute a lot of their sound to what they felt like when they were kids.

“When you’re that age you have really vivid imaginations,” Jenny illustrates. And “vivid” is exactly what their music is. Emanating from the space between consciousness and dreams, ‘I, Gemini’ is an innate nature given form. Dark in places, euphoric in others, and at all times playful, the record carries itself with all the energy and intensity of barely teenage minds gone wild.

“It gets a bit boring when you listen to an album and every track is the same genre,” Jenny shrugs. Their solution? Play every genre at once. “We’re a bit into everything,” the pair chuckle. Switching from harmonica melodies to saxophone solos in anyone else’s hands could be a complete train wreck, but Let’s Eat Grandma manage to craft their mayhem into magic.

 “We’re the sort of people who when we listen to music we both see things,” the pair assert. “We associate all music with images. It’s kind of a bit of a synaesthesia thing. We hear music and we associate it with this imagery.” Beginning to label each day of the week with a different colour (“Monday is red!”), the two are once again in their own world.

It’s a world they’re very much at home in. Though everyone else can only glimpse it through their music, the two-piece are eager to speculate what it would be like to really live there. “Well, there wouldn’t be any men in it,” they laugh. “It would be a feminist world. Everybody would be treated equally.” Giggling between themselves as they list what they’d furnish a world of their own with (“apple trees!”), Jenny and Rosa are back on their own plane of existence.

It’s an unbreakable bond the pair share. Hidden behind identical hair styles, loosing themselves in the shadowy music they make, there’s a mystery and a peculiarity in everything Let’s Eat Grandma do – and that’s part of the fun. “We quite like to create the preconceptions ourselves,” the pair earnestly agree. “By the way you behave, the things you say and the things you do, you can manipulate how people perceive you,” Jenny cautiously explains. “For example, if we said something in this interview, that would get out. Then other journalists might read the interview and write about it…”

Pausing to let their words sink in, the duo experience a certain amount of glee in keeping the rest of the world questioning. Is anything they say real? Who knows! From the songs written in childhood through to their identical image, this whole band could be one huge inside joke. With a debut as compelling as ‘I, Gemini,’ long may the laughs keep on coming.

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