News Sisters

We have a chat with Matt and Aaron of Brooklyn band Sisters.

Walking around Williamsburg at twilight is the best way to have a chat with Matt and Aaron of Brooklyn band Sisters. Matt bounces a ball, which leads us on our journey as we talk about music, net neutrality, and epilepsy…

So, how did you guys meet, what made you form a band?
Aaron: Well, college. We went to school at The New School and Matt asked me if I knew a drummer and I did, but I don’t think it worked out for him…
Matt: No, it didn’t at all. No, it’s kind of like a theme in our life, not having drummers.
Aaron: We eventually moved in with each other and started playing music together, and then we started playing in bands and it always kind of revolved around a drummer. We never had a good drummer. Finally in between stints of waiting for a drummer to show up, Matt started playing drums and he got better and better and that’s kind of how this started, just the two of us. We had to figure out how to make it sound like it wasn’t just a guitar and drums.

You could do worse than a guitar and drums…
Aaron: Yeah totally, but make it weirder and more interesting.

So basically this whole thing stemmed from lack of a drummer?

How do the live shows work?
I play the drums and the keyboards on some songs, and Aaron has this pedal that can play loops of guitars so he will record, or I will record those and it’ll play back on that.
Aaron: Yeah, live it’s just me doing that stuff and then where there are keyboards, we will have some kind of drum beat going, and then Matt will play the keyboards and loop it and switch off on to the drums, ya know, swirl around on the seats…

What kind of influences do you have?
Aaron: I’ve always been a huge Nirvana fan, and The Pixies, a lot of 90’s music like Dinosaur Jr., but I love My Bloody Valentine and most recently REM. But Matt’s probably a little different…
Matt: I like REM… are you asking what bands I like?

It doesn’t have to stick only to bands…
We both like that New Order sound a lot.
Matt: We definitely like New Order a lot. Um, we are most recently inspired by Ariel Pink, um I don’t know, there are so many bands that I love. Are we just talking about things that are inspiring?

Yeah, what else do you find inspiring?
I think for me, good friends are inspiring. Honestly I live in the city, but for me, getting away from here, going into the woods and places, nature is really inspiring. It allows me to think, take a break, and that allows me to write songs.

Why are you calling yourselves Sisters?
I think it was just the best possible name that the two of us could come up with and agree on that wasn’t taken.
Aaron: At the time we were making a conscious choice to just be a two-piece. Like we are going to make music with you and you and we are just gonna go. What was going to be kind of ironic or funny, but also will sum up a familial feeling. I think I was also listening to Sonic Youth ‘Sister’ constantly at that point.
Matt: And I think I had read ‘Middlesex’ by Jeffrey Eugenides and it’s kinda of all about gender and stuff and I was all excited about…
Aaron: Hermaphrodites.
Matt: Yeah.

You guys are…

Are you?

You’re in the middle of this hugely epic scene. Being in New York and trying to make a name for yourself must be really overwhelming?
We were just talking about that! Like, we don’t know if we fit aesthetically with many of the other bands which is not a bad or good thing, it’s just a little weird, because it seems that there is a little bit of a hegemony going on with all the local bands. It is kind of strange to see that and be a part of that, but not at all at the same time, I dunno. It’s kind of weird.
Aaron: What is really exciting is that there are so many bands that are somewhat accessible, there is a lot of stuff going on and that is cool. It does seem like this is ’90’s Seattle.
Matt: Yeah but in a dumbass way. I guess that was pretty stupid too but… I mean in some ways it’s interesting because it’s so democratic, ’cause like the internet and modern technology anyone in the fucking world can have a band or be a musician and because of that, you end up with 10-20,000 people making music in one city. It’s kind of a lot.
Aaron: Yeah, you have 20,000 people making music with diverse interests and people who are doing interesting things, like Dirty Projectors or Grizzly Bear type bands who are really doing their own thing and I think that’s the most important thing to do.

If you could create your all time festival line up, whether you were playing with them or not, who would it be?
I think a lot of that would be stuff that I never got to see, like Nirvana, Weezer in the early ’90’s, I don’t know, I think you are supposed to say shit like Jimi Hendrix, but honestly I’m just ok on that.
Aaron: I’d be down to see The Doors. I’d like to see Joy Division followed by The Doors.
Matt: Yeah, Joy Division would be good.

Who would you like to play with?
None of those bands.
Aaron: I want to play with like Transmissions from The Satellite Heart, Flaming Lips and like My Bloody Valentine, Loveless, Reckoning, REM, and Insecticide, Nirvana, even though that was never really…
Matt: That wasn’t exactly an era.
Aaron: I’d like to play with Public Image Ltd, Wire, Husker Du, like You’re Living All Over Dinosaur Jr. Those would be sweet.

So you have an album coming out in September, tell me about that.
Yeah, it’s called ‘Ghosts Fits’ and it’s uh, we have been working on it for a long time, at least writing the songs for the last couple of years. I’m really happy with it, it’s kinda like a long time coming but it’s gonna feel really good once it’s finally out.
Aaron: We started recording it last Fall, it was finished in the Winter. It’s good, it took a section of us as a band and I think that’s what an album should do. The songs that we are writing now are really different and that is really great. When we finished the album we were like this is what we want to sound like and then we went through a growing pain after it was done and were like I don’t know if we want to do that again.

Why ‘Ghost Fits’?
Aaron: I was thinking of possession by a spirit or someone with epilepsy and being in that state and I thought ‘Ghost Fits’ accurately described that state and that was a cool state to be in. At least like being in a possessed kind of state.
Matt: And I had epilepsy as a kid and I totally saw and heard things that were not there.

Did you really have epilepsy as a kid?
Yeah. It’s not uncommon to grow out of it in puberty, or get it then either.
Aaron: It’s also like that uncontrolled state that you can become involved in something without prejudice, you are just there and present.

That’s pretty much it…
Matt: Can we have a moment about something not related to the band? Can we talk about Net Neutrality? It’s probably the most important thing in the world now. I feel like most people don’t get it, but we are on the verge of everyone understanding it.
Aaron: Yeah, it’s like Fascist Capitalism.
Matt: I was kind of hoping that Milton Freeman would die and take all those assholes with him.
Aaron: Yeah, we should Jimmy Hoffa them.
Matt: I guess they have a good point when they are talking about the development that needs to go in to infrastructures that need to be built, I just don’t believe that privatizing the single most powerful force for human connectivity in the history of the planet is a good thing.

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