Posted On 20 Apr 2017
Duality and individuality are overriding themes in the music of MACEDO, the surname of twin sisters Michelle and Melissa, who have taken a lifetime of creative energy and talent to produce their emotionally compelling, richly textured music. Creating electrifying Alternative Pop tunes with empowering messages, MACEDO is gearing up for the release of their new, emotionally driven album, “Ghost Town.”
Growing up in Pasadena, CA in a very musical household, family gatherings for MACEDO always consisted of everyone getting together, singing and playing instruments. “Our dad is a pianist and guitarist and exposed us to all the great records and music spanning from all areas of classical to big band jazz to Bossa Nova to today’s music. There was truly no music he didn’t love. He starting teaching us how to play the piano when we were about 3 years old. Almost everyone in our family plays a musical instrument. Our grandmother was a trained classical pianist in LA. Being an artist wasn’t ever considered an option as a career path but more as a hobby. Melissa and I were determined to make it happen. We grew up hitting up the local music scene and starting to play live around L.A. when we were 16.”
Songwriting as twins offers an extremely unique connection that often involves one twin getting ideas based on a situation the other twin is in. The girls are opposites in nature and temperament, yet are connected by the inexplicable, emotional bond only shared by twins. Never knowing when inspiration will strike, one sister can start a song and the other can finish it. Their upcoming album “Ghost Town” came from a difficult time Michelle faced when struggling with depression and anxiety.
“I had just ended a very long relationship & was experiencing health issues. I felt so terrified and alone. I cut myself off from the world for about 6 months just writing constantly. That utter isolation (besides from Melissa) brought about Ghost Town. It is a reflection and exploration of the ghosts that we all have and the ways in which we are haunted by our pasts. “ The album shows incredible creative growth since the release of last EP “Paper Doll.”
The album’s theme of a mystical creative utopia reflects the musical chemistry the girls are lucky enough to experience. All twelve songs (written by Michelle & Melissa) were engineered and produced by MJ Denton. Wurlitzer parts were recorded and played by Khris Kellow (Christina Aguilera).
Learn more about Macedo in the following All Access interview:
What are some words you would use to describe 2016 for you and your music? What were some of the highlights? What are you most excited about for 2017?
2016 was a time of learning important lessons and growing in times of challenge. I think 2016 forced us and others to engage in a deeper way which has been exciting. Some highlights of 2016 were really getting into the work and recording our album, making sure everything was exactly what we wanted and preparing to share it with the world. We also shot a movie called Blood Heist, as lead characters alongside James Franco, which was an incredible experience. We also shot GIRLBOSS which was such so much fun, everyone involved was unbelievably kind. We play a band in the show and it was so much fun to combine our two passions. We’re very excited about 2017 because all of the work we did last year will be coming out into the world. We’ll finally be able to see our hard work come to fruition.
Growing up, did all of you both always want to be musicians? It sounds like it was very musical household! Can you recall your earliest musical memory? Could you see yourself doing anything else today?
Growing up we were both always singing and writing songs together. Being singers and musicians was just something that happened naturally. Our earliest musical memory is sitting at the piano with our dad. It was this amazing antique piano that my mom inherited. We still write on that piano sometimes! One thing about having a career in the arts is that usually you have to truly want to do it with all of your heart and soul, so music and acting is what we truly want to do. It was never a question.
What is the best and most challenging part about being in a band with your twin sister?
The best part is that it’s very easy to communicate.We’ve had our own way of communicating for as long as we can remember. It’s like speaking our own language. We’re constantly bouncing ideas off of each other. We’re each very different but we’re very much in sync. The most challenging part is that we can be too quick to dismiss one another’s ideas. We try not to, but sometimes it just happens from being so close.
Let’s talk about your soon to be released album, “Ghost Town.” What was it like putting this collection together? When do you hope to finally release it? How do you think your music has grown since you’re your EP “Paper Doll” was put out?
“Ghost Town” emerged from a really difficult time. I (Michelle) had just ended a very long relationship & was experiencing health issues. I felt so terrified and alone. I cut myself off from the world for about 6 months just writing constantly. That utter isolation (besides from Melissa) brought about Ghost Town. It is a reflection and exploration of the ghosts that we all have and the ways in which we are haunted by our past. I think the music since “Paper Doll” has grown because the themes of this album go much deeper. This album is a lot about the past and our relationships. We’ve grown and developed more as artists since the last EP. “Ghost Town” is a reflection of memories in the past that became a part of our identity. In essence, how we’re each being haunted, in good and bad ways. It was a very raw experience to write this album, there was no holding back.
Can you explain how you two work together to write a song? Does one of you focus on the songwriting and the other the music or do you both equally share these jobs?
We are so deeply connected that sometimes we get ideas about a situation that the other one is in. So, Melissa will see me experiencing a relationship and she will get an idea about a song for it and because I am actually experiencing it, then we can finish it together. Michelle is really strong with lyrics and Melissa will add a melody to it, but it can be switched as well. We sort of go with the flow depending on the song. Every song is so different. Michelle does a lot of the writing in general. We wrote the song “Sea of You” together based on a melody idea that Melissa had, then Michelle flushed out the lyrics added some melody onto the edits of it. You never know when inspiration is gonna strike. As sisters and as musicians, one of us will supply what the other one needs. When I (Michelle) was going through health problems, Melissa was my protector and comforter. When I (Michelle) go to Melissa with new lyrics or a melody, Melissa is a great harmonizer. Some other twin bands don’t like to focus on the fact that they are twins. That is just a part of who we are, our relationship is integral to our art.
Do you have plans to tour this year? Where can people see you perform next?
As of now, we’re planning to tour but don’t have dates to share yet! Check our website for updates!
I understand that you both be appearing in the new Netflix show, GIRLBOSS. How did that all come together? Will you be acting or playing yourselves as musicians on the show? Is acting something that you both have thought of for awhile?
We are both actors so we auditioned for the show and when I (Melissa) read the script I just knew we were perfect for it. We play a fictional band on the show which was a lot of fun! Acting is something that we’ve both just always known we wanted to do. We are both trained actors and have been pursuing it along with music our entire lives. We are equally actors and musicians. It’s another way to express ourselves and to really share our art with the world. We feel passionately about empowering young women so we love to have that thread in our songs and it was serendipitous that GIRLBOSS is such an empowering and powerful show for women.
Who are some of your favorite musicians? What musicians would you love to work with in the future?
The songwriting of Joni Mitchell, Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, Regina Spektor, Claude Debussy, Otis Redding, Billie Holiday and Radiohead were huge influences. We really appreciate amazing songwriting and we feel like all of those artists tell a story in the most impactful way. They are real and honest and can structure a song to make it so effective. The first time we heard Tidal by Fiona Apple we were completely blown away. It was like she was singing our lives and feelings especially “Never is A Promise”. We knew that’s what we wanted to do, to be so honest with ourselves that we had no choice but to feel connected. In terms of musicians we’d love to work with, we love Haim, Lianne La Havas & Lorde. They are all strong women with unique voices.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people take away from your songs?
We really hope our music connects with people and helps people to empower themselves. We hope it helps people if they are feeling isolated or disconnected. Emotional sensitivity is such a gift but unfortunately it is not always treated as such. Our entire lives, our sensitivity to the world was treated as a negative thing but it is what makes the human experience worth it. I think the message of the music is to accept imperfections and that humans are incredibly resilient and beautiful as they are. If the song speaks to one person or helps one person connect to themselves in a way they haven’t before, I think it’s worth it.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourselves or your music?
We feel very strongly about women’s issues. We have always supported RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) and Melissa used to be a Rape Crisis Counselor for them. We interviewed hundreds of women and men and co-created a theatrical show called “Dirty Talk” with our theatre company (World Kin Ensemble) about the spectrum of violence against women, ranging from catcalling to rape. We acted in and toured college campuses around the country with that show. We also performed it as part of USC’s Visions and Voices. We feel strongly about any organization that supports and empowers women. It’s exactly what we try to create in our art. We think as artists it’s important to help the world empower the otherwise marginalized and silenced.