Check Aly & AJ‘s beautiful photoshoot for Interview Magazine and interview they gave.
Reinvention is a tough look to pull off—especially in a revolving door industry— but the Michalka sisters make it look easy. You know them as Aly & AJ, the synth-pop sister act that filled your iPod Mini with chart toppers like “Potential Breakup Song.” After a ten-year hiatus triggered by the trauma and overstimulation of early fame, the duo made a seamless return with Ten Years, an album of hard-hitting pop and dance floor tracks that triggered a phoenix-like revival. In the three years since, they’ve released two further albums—last year’s We Don’t Stop, and this summer’s a touch of the beat gets you up on your feet gets you out and then into the sun— a prolific outpouring of more meditative music rooted in growth. This month, Aly & AJ released “Get Over Here,” a synth-heavy funk track that the pair describes as “a nostalgic ballad about potent love.” At 32 and 30 respectively Aly and AJ are throwing open a new door in their musical evolution. To mark the release, the pair took a moment to chat—with each other, for us—between the many Fashion Week events they were hurrying to attend. Below, the pair discusses everything from how to turn trauma into music, to their joint crush on St. Vincent.
AJ: This is the first interview we’ve conducted where we actually each other, which I love.
ALY: It is.
AJ: Aly, let’s start out with something basic. Is there a song that you’re most excited about in the deluxe release?
ALY: I’d say “Way Way Back.” I’m excited about that song because it had such a long rewriting process. We wrote that maybe four years ago, remember? It was a completely different song at first. Now, it’s really about wanting to revisit love that you’ve experienced with someone in the past, whether it’s young love or a heartbreak. We know who it’s kind of about, I think— especially for you.
AJ: It’s our version of a nostalgic heartbreak song.
ALY: Obviously we love The National, we go to all their shows. I have a good question for you… I don’t know, it’ll be interesting to see how you react to this. So I was thinking about how “Dead on the Beach” came about.
AJ: That’s one of the deluxe songs.
ALY: I want to word this the right way. You had a near-death experience during the pandemic that was not COVID-related, and “Dead on the Beach” came from that. Why do you think that song happened the way it did? I wasn’t actually a part of that song at all, which is very rare that we would not both be a part of song creation.
AJ: Yes, I had a very intense experience in May of 2020. It happened near the beach. It’s something that I really had to work through in terms of trauma. Between therapy and songwriting, I’ve been able to exorcise some of that pain. I wrote it at my dad’s beach house in Laguna while my boyfriend and I were smoking a joint, and Ray LaMontagne was playing in the background. We were listening to his record and I had my acoustic guitar and I just started playing this song. The songwriting happened in one night. Sometimes songwriting ends up like that— magical. It’s something that you’ve created out of thin air.
ALY: And it’s only partially tied to you.
AJ: This was my first experience of writing trauma into a song. It was a healing moment.
Read the full interview