An Interview With The Duo KTJ & CARLY On Their Latest Music, Biggest Inspirations, Working Together and More!
“Almost True” is the newest single from the duo, KTJ & CARLY. On this track, the musicians reflect on the unique way we present our perfect life to the world. When we never really know what’s happening beneath the surface of a smile, it’s easy to take everyone at face value. The atmospheric synths meld into a booming rhythm that provides the perfect vehicle for their dynamic, soulful vocals. Each verse contains a story of its own, building on the idea that we’re all hiding a little pain inside. The duo, who consistently mixes urban pop influences with introspective lyrics, hit yet another single out of the park on “Almost True.”
Check it out here-
Singer, Songwriter, Producers, KTJ & CARLY have returned with another darkly introspective single on “Almost True.” Named Artists to Watch in 2020, the sisters achieved a massively successful 2019 with their first singles, “On Your Mind” and “MOONLIGHT,” which garnered a slew of write-ups in publications. They were hand-selected to play NAMM Dynaudio Unheard 2020 and recently partnered with Roland. They have performed to packed audiences at LA’s Hotel Cafe, and have signed on to score their first feature film, “God Save The Queens.”
Connect With KTJ & Carly Online Here-
Instagram: @ktjcarly https://www.instagram.com/ktjcarly
Twitter: @ktjcarlymusic https://twitter.com/ktjcarlymusic
Facebook: @ktjcarly https://www.facebook.com/ktjcarly
Learn more about KTJ & Carly in the following All Access interview-
Tell me how 2020 is going for you two? What are some of your musical goals and plans for this year?
2020 so far has been full of surprises everywhere; good and bad. We always try to keep our glasses half-full (learning to think optimistically has truly changed our lives for the better) we feel many good things are ahead. This year has already taught us so much, and we’re constantly reaching for a positive mindset and looking forward to what the future holds for us individually and as a duo. This is just the beginning of our journey and we are working so hard to make some dope music. With everything happening in the world, Coronavirus has essentially put a lot of our live shows at halt, but we plan to come through this strong and keep working hard. We will be releasing lots of music this year. We have a few collaborations, lots of singles, and by the end of the year we will be releasing our debut EP. We are so excited for it because we have already put so much work into it. We are booked to have a May 2nd show and a possible New York trip in the summer with live shows and a musician filled itinerary. Like everyone else in the world, we hope and pray the coronavirus issues are resolved soon, but the health and safety of our family, fans, venue owners, collaborators and fellow musicians will always be our top priority and we look forward to the day to get back to work under whatever it will look like in our “new normal”.-KTJ & CARLY
What does a typical day look like lately for this duo?
Eat, sleep, music and/or film auditions, online school working towards undergraduate degrees from Berklee Boston Conservatory, press, staying active. We definitely spend the majority of each day writing new music, recording and producing new music. We can’t wait to share it with the world. -KTJ & CARLY
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this band together? Has anything surprised you about this musical journey so far?
During the Spring of 2019, we met our manager, Sera Roadnight, at a seminar in Dallas at the studio where we took acting lessons back home in Texas. We found our missions and values were so similar to Sera’s and all three of us immediately hit off. Shortly thereafter, Sera became our manager, and with her guidance, we realized how much better we are as a team rather than going solo in our journey. We’re not only sisters but we are best friends; we aren’t afraid to be brutally honest with each other, which might be a blessing or a curse in the long run. The verdict is still out on that. We give so much thanks to God for giving us a platform where we can try to relate to others and make them feel like they aren’t alone, in whatever they may be going through. -KTJ & CARLY
How do you think your hometown has influenced the sound and how you both carry yourselves in this band?
We were fortunate to learn piano starting at a young age from several different teachers from many different places and backgrounds (US, Russia, China), which was an amazing opportunity given we were raised in a very small Texas town. This is something that really laid the foundation of our craft. Our friends and family from Argyle all love music and share it, so we have been on a never-ending quest for a new fresh sound, something we’ve never heard before. It was a support that would never die. Not only did they love music, but they loved their own people. We are proud to be from Argyle, because they were the first ones that listened to us and always supported us since we were little girls. I think it says a lot about how we carry ourselves today because we see our listeners as family. Argyle is known for bluegrass, and that inspired us to dabble in R&B, which is the basis for our music today. -KTJ & CARLY
Why would you say that you two work so well together? Where is one of you weak, where the other is strong and vice-versa? Why does this duo work?
Not gonna lie….It’s not always easy. We are sisters so there are those normal sibling battles occasionally. But at the end of the day, we always strive for balance and harmony, and we try to apply that in our everyday lives as well. We also are intuitive with each other and that makes our work and creative flow much faster. We can almost read each other’s minds. And overall, at the end of the day, we are family and we love each other. We have the same values and mission statement when it comes to our duo, and we both strive to accomplish it everyday. -KTJ & CARLY
What was the inspiration for your latest single, “Almost True”? How does it compare to anything else that you have released in the past?
When we write a song, the process always changes. Sometimes we go into it with a topic in mind, sometimes we produce and write at the same time, other times we will produce and then write to it later, and at most times we write it on the piano and then produce it later. We wrote and produced this song simultaneously, so the tempo and vibe kinda fell together. We knew we wanted a story telling vibe for this song; similar to Ashe and Cage the Elephant songs, in the sense that there is a storyline throughout the verses, bridge, and final chorus. We had been wanting to write the topic of Almost True ever since we moved to Los Angeles. The inspiration behind it started the first time we flew here. We couldn’t help but notice how many strangers we were seeing throughout the airport. They were all in their own little worlds and we had absolutely no clue what was going on in their own personal lives and their heads. We kept talking about this idea and concept as a song for a while. It’s crazy to think of all the stories and all the hardships strangers will hide from you because people naturally want you to think that their lives are sublime. It’s human nature. Especially with social media now, people are faking their lives all the time and making their lives seem so much better than are. Everyone is guilty of it. We want people to think our lives are better than they might be in real life. This song challenges that idea and brings awareness to it. The lines “we are taught to fake it till it’s almost true” references how this kind of behavior is taught to us at a young age. That was the inspiration behind the song, but it could mean so many things to people. It’s open for interpretation!! -KTJ & CARLY
Can you talk about scoring your first feature film, “God Save The Queens”? Have you already started this project? If so, how is it going so far? Has anything surprised you about this process?
We don’t want to give anything away yet, but we cannot wait for the day it releases!! IT is going great. We have started working on this project and it has been such a fun experience. Not only are we scoring the film, but we are writing one song for queens.
For me, I really had to get out of my comfort zone to write a song for drag. The lyrics are very different from a traditional song and it was very different writing the lyrics for one of them. The experience has been so rewarding though because it reminds me that there is so much to learn and grow from when it comes to music. -C
As musicians, we notice the background sounds and songs that play in the film, and how it impacts the story. It’s been a fun and fascinating project and we are so grateful to be able to work with such talented people, and that we get to add our own KTJ & Carly twist to the project. – K
Where do you think you are both happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
They all bring a lot of happiness, each of them in their own and unique ways. The whole thing is a process, a journey; without one or the other, it wouldn’t make sense. Studio sessions are magical; we try out certain melodies, lyrics, we see what works, play around with ideas, and we stick with what clicks. It’s crazy listening to a demo a little while after a session with fresh ears. We hear it in a whole new way than before, so from there we can make adjustments. Then when you perform, you get to see the songs from those sessions come to life. You see how people react to them, and only hope that they are moved by it or relate to it in some way. There is just no better motivation than to see a crowd out there vibing with you and jamming out. We would both say that performing on stage is the best. Nothing can beat being in the same room with a bunch of people who are there to support us. We love our fans! -KTJ & CARLY
What has been your favorite show of yours to date? What do you think makes an ideal performance for this band? Do you have any upcoming tour dates?
Every show is amazing in its own way. Our favorite so far was probably our first one in LA at Hotel Cafe because it’s crazy to look back and think that only about 9 months has gone by. Sometimes it seems like so long ago and at other times it seems like yesterday. One thing is certain, much has changed and improved in our lives and music and momentum since that first show a few short months ago. We are continuing to grow and shape our craft, and trying to make our shows better each time. Our music essentials are: piano, mics, guitar. However, if I won the lottery I would drive to Roland headquarters and purchase all the light and sound gear I could get my hands on. -K
One of my favorite shows was at Genghis Cohen this past January, there wasn’t a huge crowd or anything, but it was the first show that I really experimented playing several instruments at once. We have a show on the books for May 2nd at Hotel Cafe, hopefully all the madness with coronavirus will deescalate by then and we can rock on that night. -C
How do you think being musicians and in this band gives you all the most joy in life today?
We are able to make music and tell a story, something that has made a huge difference in society for centuries. It is all history; the stories we will tell through music. We are so thankful for that and we wouldn’t have it any other way, no matter where we end up on our journey. -KTJ & CARLY
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how your own music is reflecting this time period? If you don’t think it is, why is that?
I think it relates to everything that’s going on in today’s world. We see violence, negligence, and hate all the time. Most of the time, people are so caught up in their own heads or politics that they forget that they aren’t alone in this scary big world. And right now it feels that everyone is coming together again despite all differences and we are finding a way to fight through this scary time together. Everyone is trying to do their best in life, and everyone experiences obstacles and heartache. it’s about staying true to yourself, trying to live life with a glass half while still acknowledging that any feelings one may have are valid, and to always own it. Being aware of what is happening around us often inspires our own music. While a lot of our songs aren’t about personal experiences, songs that are tend to be much stronger. It’s also been eye opening, because when everyone has been in quarantine, music has been there to give them something to live for. (At least that is how we feel.) -KTJ & CARLY
Who would you love to work with in the future? Who are some of your favorite artists right now? What do you think would be a dream collaboration for this duo?
We would love to work with Louis the Child or Labrinth. All of these musicians are able to express themselves in amazing ways, and their music has always brought us good vibes. Some of our favorite artists at the moment are Tove Lo, Banks, Seinabo Sey, The Weeknd, Quinn XCII, and Petit Biscuit. -KTJ & CARLY
Where would you love to hear your music being played? A TV show, a movie, in your favorite store, etc…?
Really all of the above would be phenomenal! We would like to eventually hear our music playing on the radio often! At the moment, we are working to write music that does well for sync placement. -KTJ & CARLY
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
That people are not alone, even if they feel solitary. No matter what people are going through, we are all human and we all have brains and we feel and act certain ways. We as a humanity just have to deal, adapt, and grow. -KTJ & CARLY
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about your music?
Music brings people together. We are always trying new things with our music, and we are constantly listening to new music. Follow and DM us your favorite song right now, we’ll send one back! – K
Being a young female producer in this industry can be challenging. It can be intimidating. People won’t take us as seriously as they would an older man. That can change, however. There aren’t many female producers out there. No woman in history has ever won producer of the year and non-classical, it is crazy. Girls, come out of hiding, and show everyone what we are made of. Let’s change the route of music history together. -C