Check Aly & AJ‘s beautiful photoshoot for Elle USA and interview they gave.
Alyson and Amanda Michalka have undergone many evolutions: They were young actors, they broke through as music duo Aly & AJ in the mid-2000s, they briefly rebranded as 78Violet, and they returned as Aly & AJ while pursuing separate acting careers as adults—but through it all, there’s been one integral constant: sisterhood.
“It’s everything to us; it’s the foundation of our band,” AJ, the younger of the two, tells ELLE.com. “For us, the goal is to really make sure that our friendship as sisters is preserved for years. Beyond the music being an important part of our lives, it’s our friendship.”
It’s safe to say that was and is part of the band’s lasting appeal. That rich, complex relationship between sisters has had a special place in art and pop culture throughout history, from the literary families in Pride & Prejudice and Little Women to today’s music groups like Chloe x Halle and Haim. In the mid-aughts, Disney-watching millennials got it in the form of guitar-toting and beach-waved Aly & AJ, who expressed their bond through songwriting, harmonies, and pop-rock chords. Seeing not only one girl but two shine together as equals—not to mention they just looked really fucking cool on stage—it’s no wonder they’ve stuck with us all these years, even if we didn’t realize it then.
That partnership is key, Aly, who is two years older, says. “It would be really weird to do this alone. I’m not gonna lie,” she says. “I have mad respect for the artists that are solo because it seems like it would be a really, really hard job.”
In May, the Michalkas, now in their early 30s, released their first album in 14 years, a touch of the beat gets you up on your feet gets you out and then into the sun (a lyric in the track “Don’t Need Nothing”)—which boasts themes of sisterhood, healing, and joy, while wrapped in a sun-kissed, retro California vibe. It follows their recent EPs Sanctuary (2019) and Ten Years (2017), and their 2007 album Insomniatic (the one with “Potential Breakup Song”). Despite the timely optimism on the album, most of the songs came before the pandemic and took about six months to write. Although, once quarantine started, they did adjust some lyrics to reflect the current moment. (“Stomach” was even written entirely on Zoom.) But for the most part, the tracks were recorded at Sunset Sound, the iconic recording studio in Hollywood.
The sisters recently announced that a deluxe edition with four new songs is due in early 2022. “I think deluxe is tricky, because a lot of people end up over-writing for a record and then they have some throwaway tunes that aren’t necessarily great; they can end up being skips. And I think this deluxe is really, really strong. I’m excited for people to hear the rest,” AJ says. The first of the additions, a seductive single called “Get Over Here,” just dropped last Friday. (That was originally written in 2019, too.) The duo plan on dropping the rest of the new tracks over the next five months, Aly says. Then they head out on tour from the end of February through May with stops scheduled internationally and across the U.S.
Read the full interview