Maxim Meyer-Horn

8 May
Music

BETWEEN FRIENDS: “We’re Like Twins That Aren’t Born on the Same Day”

Just between us friends, BETWEEN FRIENDS is the duo that will get you excited about the future of pop music. During lockdown, the siblings worked on their ambitious mixtape series, where they tried to reflect their emotions into their songs. With the last part of the trilogy having been released yesterday, we had a chat with Savannah and Brandon about being siblings, their last big project made in their home studio, and coincidently wearing the same clothes.

Tape 002 recently came out. How did you experience the release? Was it different from what you’re used to?

Brandon: During this pandemic, this project was our outlet and our way to feel sane. We made as much music as possible at the time.

Savannah: To be able to release it is such a strange feeling in general because it’s something we held so close to us and never played it for anybody. We had two or three friends that we played it for because of the pandemic obviously. Normally, we just play it when we’re together with all our friends, so for me, it was very sacred and like a little baby. Seeing it come out and seeing what people think of it has been so much more special than I could’ve imagined.

Brandon: The thing is that it wasn’t just our listeners that listen to BETWEEN FRIENDS who heard it for the first time when it came out, but also our personal friends. We’re used to playing our music in the car or when we’re hanging out. The release was a different feeling for sure.

We noticed that every song of the EP is not much longer than two minutes. Is that a specific choice or a coincidence?

Brandon: These two EPs, and there’s another one coming, they all lead up to a bigger thing. When we were creating this project, we made it as one fluent thing and later split it up into packs of five. We just did what felt good to us and decided to put it back. We wanted to do whatever we want without any rules and create a mixtape we wanted to hear that we couldn’t find.

Savannah: There was no purpose for a certain length or the sound. The joy came to us while making this mixtape because there were no restrictions, and we can all make it match this big playlist that you can listen to on different occasions.

Brandon: We made this as one body of work, but when we decided with our team to release it in packs of five songs every month, we were kind of stressed out. We made it all together—to be one thing—so it was difficult to curate the tracklist so that it still feels cohesive. That took us two weeks to figure out. It was the most fun I had in our studio and on a project.

What made you realize that the mixtape should be released in three installments?

Savannah: The idea of putting out something terrified and terrifies us to this day. We always joked that we’re never doing a big album, but then this opportunity came upon us in quarantine. We obviously decided to do it, but we’re still holding on to that feeling of overwhelming people with so much content. We’re looking for a way to make them enjoy the time we spend on this music and not just skip through the songs their friends told them they liked. By putting five out every month, some are more dance, some are more slow, electronic, or hip hop.

Brandon: It’s like an appetizer. We decided for when the whole mixtape is out, that we want to keep the little EPs up because some people may fall in love with the order of how it floats. We want to keep that available for the people.

Savannah: Our manager was a big help for us and just helped us decide that we split it up because it’s just so much music. Everybody can do whatever they want with the content we make every month, and when they like it, they’ll get more the next month.

Is that what makes BETWEEN FRIENDS different from other projects?

Brandon: With BETWEEN FRIENDS, we also tend to go the other way when people are doing one thing. That’s how we’ve always been. Everybody is into releasing a single every month, while Sav and I decided to do the complete opposite by releasing an EP every month. That’s just how we function as creatives, and we’ve always liked to pave our own path. The past two months have been incredible: seeing all these people like what we make and do.

Savannah: Sometimes, when you grow, others don’t necessarily grow with you. We have an amazing fanbase, and they’re quite new, just like us. It’s been amazing to put this body of work out and see the reactions on, for example, the visuals that Brandon and I made.

Brandon: It’s like our job turned into an idea factory, and we keep moving things. We make stuff all the time, and we have a lot of fun.

Would you say that you approach making music in another way compared to when you first started out?

Savannah: Definitely because it’s a growing thing. I’m twenty-one, he’s twenty-three, so we’re still kids. Our first EP was like our entry to finally make music and things by ourselves. We wanted to do it together without the influence of anyone else and really make it for us, which ended up into something that’s much more. The baseline rule for BETWEEN FRIENDS is that there are no borders or boxes, we want to keep growing as artists and people we want to be. The best part is that our fans are doing the same and are discovering themselves. They’re so accepting because they see we’re doing that too.

Brandon: We also knew that this would throw people off. Isn’t that the point that artists do stuff and evoke emotions that make people want to listen to your music to get it better? We want to trigger people that think, “Wow, what is this? I don’t understand it but I want to listen to it again.” We’re into the idea of putting something out, see that people like it, and think what we can do next to keep us and our fans excited. With that being said, we have another “affection” on the way. That’s in the bag, it’s ready. Before we put that out, we want to push things first, and then we’ll give the people what they want.

Was it more difficult to write songs because there was so much less happening during quarantine?

Savannah: For the majority of it, it was… Well, let me explain it with a metaphor: When you like a specific type of food that only exists far away, you really crave the food, and even the idea of craving the idea of that food is amazing. That’s a little bit of how I felt when we were writing this mixtape. All these feelings were so on the surface because they were so far away. The feelings of being with friends, the feelings of going to parties or traveling. The stories that we’ve had have been sitting there because we haven’t had them in a minute. This project was a lot of reflection and growth. Even when we stayed in the same place while making it, we grew a lot through this and discovered who we are.

How important are the lyrics for a BETWEEN FRIENDS song?

Brandon: The thing is, I don’t think that the kids will jump on the lyrics at first, and that’s also part of the music we make. Our goal is to make sonically appealing music that you enjoy listening to. But I can’t wait for people to dive into the lyrics of the whole project. It’s very reflective, and we’ve spent a lot of time just talking about ourselves and how we see ourselves now in our twenties. When we start working on a bigger body of work, we can use this as a diary, and we want people to get to know us.

Savannah: At the end of the day, if you’re a listener of the project, we want you to get into the lyrics because they’re the most honest things. We’re laying everything down, and they’re all true things that happened or true feelings that we have.

As you’re working together and seem to have a great sense of fashion, do you coordinate your outfits or is it more coincidence?

Savannah: This so funny, you’re not going to believe it. We’re siblings—brother and sister—and we grew up together. Ever since we were younger, it was as if we had the same brain. When we both went separately to our rooms to get dressed, we’d come down with the same clothes on. As a kid, I was more like a tomboy, and I loved skateboards, baggy jeans, etc., and my mom was just like, “Just brush your hair, please.” (laughs) I would wear his clothes all the time.

Brandon: I’ll go upstairs to throw on some pair of shoes that she also has, and I’ll come downstairs, and she’s wearing them. Everyone is always like, “Oh, you’re matching!” And we think, “We just have very similar likes.” But I think that goes across the scale of music, films, etc. We’ve always been on the same page, and that’s why we work well together.

Savannah: As far as fashion goes, we encourage each other to break any boundary. We give each other the confidence to wear whatever we want.

Do a lot of people have prejudices about you because you’re siblings?

Savannah: A lot of people actually think that we’re twins, which is not the case. It’s a very interesting spectrum of people that recognize that we’re siblings and work together. Sometimes, it’s like: “Wow, that’s so cool. I could never work with my brother,” or “I don’t get it, how do you work together?” There are so many different kinds of relationships between siblings …

Brandon: Also, people love to compare when you’re a sibling working together in music. That’s something we get a lot, ever since we were kids. We’ve been through that cycle and just say that we make music together. People love to pinpoint it.

Savannah: That’s probably why people find comfort by comparing with something they’re familiar with. It’s a funny experience because we did an interview the other day where they asked if we were dating. Like, how? We’re literally like twins that aren’t born on the same day.

The final question will probably be a question you’ve been asked a lot … Is the next project an album or a mixtape?

Brandon: We consider this whole tape series and everything we’ve been putting out, in addition to this stuff coming out soon, as part of our mixtape. I guess the word “album” has felt like a very scary word to us. It’s been an intimidating word, and we don’t want to use that yet. We will use that word, but right now, our mixtape is a project we’ve made with a lot of love.

We wanted it to feel like you tapped in a BETWEEN FRIENDS radio station or you just found an old mixtape in a digital age and for 45 minutes, you hear something from every side of the spectrum of us.

Pictures by Lauren Leekly.

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