We got a few photos from the new photoshoot of Aly & AJ Michalka for the magazine Schön Magazine. Amanda and Alyson look just incredible. We have added 8 HQ original photos and 10 LQ photos, on which I cut white areas, to the gallery. And you can also check out the interview of Amanda for Schön Magazine by clicking here.
SM: What can you tell us about your EP, Sanctuary? You’ve been working on it for quite some time now, how’s the process been?
Both: Honestly, it’s been equal parts stressful and rewarding. We really stretched ourselves emotionally and financially on this one but the songs have proved worth it to fight for. It was incredibly challenging trying to balance our television schedules, with one of us having to fly in from Canada for sessions — and the other filming five days a week on another show — while writing and recording this EP. We mixed our last song for the record on April 22, so every day has been a deadline of one sort or another. We’ve had our hands and ideas behind every single part of the release from the songwriting, recording, and mixing/mastering to the art direction, music videos, merch, tour design, set/lighting design. There’s no part of the release we didn’t work on. We’re ready for it to be out in the world and for us to perform these songs in a live setting because we have such pride in how hard we’ve worked to provide something worthy of the incredible fans we have listening to our music.
SM: It’s no secret you are sitting on a bunch of unreleased songs — like “Ten Years” — do you ever see yourselves putting those out?
Both: I know fans want all the unreleased songs but I promise you there’s a reason those songs sometimes never see the light of day. We have quite a few and their DNA is inside of the songs that are in the world. There will definitely be songs we one day end up releasing but we need to fit it with the right collection of songs. Sometimes it’s appropriate for that body of work and sometimes it’s not. We also try to be cognizant of the financial investment that taking a song across the finish line involves. We like to feel certain it’s the right time.
SM: This new music signals an even more seasoned, and somehow sombre, era for you guys — sonically and lyrically. How did you come to hone this new sound?
Both: We obviously hoped to challenge ourselves to grow beyond Ten Years but there’s truly no formula to accomplishing that so we just went with our gut instincts. We tend to write sombre but hopeful songs. Or songs with a dark side lurking around the corner. We asked ourselves what themes we wanted to touch on along with imaging and video concepts that would bring a whole new level of artistry to our work. We always want and hope for new fans to discover our music, and if “Church” can be that introduction for them then we’re thrilled.
SM: You mentioned in the past you wanted to release a full album. Is that still the plan? Or are you playing it by ear and releasing stuff when it feels right?
AJ: Aly and I have the ambition to put out full records. It requires time and a significant financial investment. We develop a timeline and release strategy well in advance of release and those timelines inevitably shift because we’re juggling two careers. It would be illuminating for many of our fans to see how hard we work just to put out one song and perhaps there’s a way to tell that story someday. It’s that way for every band. We have a lot of respect for anyone who puts out music independently and tries to build an audience for it. We considered putting out ten songs but couldn’t find the time to complete everything before going on tour due to our shooting schedules. We just managed to record and produce the five songs on Sanctuary, especially given that Aly was shooting in Vancouver and would fly back to L.A. on days off to write or work in the studio and I rarely had days off.
SM: Do you see yourselves as fitting into a particular genre?
Both: Not necessarily. We’ve always had a hard time trying to describe our sound to people. We’d almost rather have someone else describe it to us. I think our music is very much in the synth-pop world, but it’s not straight up pop and never was. We write by our instincts and this is how that sounds.