Together, Toronto based sisters Lex Valentine and Nadia Valerie King make up the one and only LOLAA. (FYI – We can confirm they’re the one and only according to Twitter and there’s no one like them at the moment.) As former members of the band Magneta Lane, the two took a break to recollect themselves and create something that’s true to both of them which you can clearly here in their debut EP that dropped back in May. We had the chance to chat with the two to ask them about their new music, who’d they love to collaborate with, and where they hope to see LOLAA five years from now.
The Young Folks: You two have been writing and making music long before LOLAA, how did you two get into making music in the first place?
Lex Valentine: In the early 2000’s, there were so many bands coming out at the time that were putting out amazing records that were very raw and simple. We remember going to hundreds of shows, and listening to records like “Fever To Tell” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs for the first time, and remember thinking that we wanted to do that. There was so much substance there. There was nothing contrived about it. We told ourselves that if bought a couple of instruments, we could teach ourselves to create our own thing. A seed had been planted and that was it. I remember Nads buying drumsticks before she even had a kit, and just trying to learn to drum to songs by hitting the couch as if they were drum pads. In the end, we never planned on being good musicians but we wanted to be good songwriters and be part of a culture/something meaningful, and I think that has always been the vision. To be part of something honest that was ours.
Before diving into LOLAA, you were in Magneta Lane. What was it that motivated you to take a break from being in a band? What did you do in-between the transition from Magneta Lane to LOLAA?
Valentine: I think it was just a timing thing. We had been in [Magneta Lane] for 10 years, and like many things in life, you simply outgrow things and want to grow in new directions. I think that for that time in our life, that experience was a great stepping stone, and it really opened up a world of things for the both of us. In the end, the band was a version of our 16 year old selves. I’m proud of what we did, but if we would have continued, it would have eventually become inauthentic because our hearts weren’t in it anymore.
Now that your debut EP is out for everyone to enjoy, how does it feel to have the secret out of the bag and being able to hear everyone’s feedback?
Valentine: At first it was bit scary, because we knew we were about to try something that felt really different from our previous work. I think in the end we just had to trust that we put our hearts into it, and in the end it wasn’t going to matter what people would think. Knowing that people have actually been supporting it is a really amazing feeling. We didn’t have an intention for it to really be anything but an honest expression of who we are.
For this EP and for LOLAA in general, you often mentioned about being very lyrically involved and being very open about yourselves. Why did you decide this is the time to basically put everything out there? Was there ever a time while writing where you had to stop yourself writing about a certain topic?
Valentine: Yeah, I think I’ve always found it really hard to really open up to people. It’s easy to be really surface with people, but those parts that are hidden away will eventually start to gnaw at you if you don’t share them with those closest to you, at the very least. That time in our lives in particular, there were a lot of endings happenings for the both of us – a friend of ours had passed away, and we had left our band of 10 years – which was scary because we didn’t really know any other way of life, we just knew that it was something we had to do. I had always admired musicians that just put everything on the line in their writing/performance. Our friend who passed away always did that when he performed, and I just remember thinking that one day I hope that I could come close to that level of rawness and honesty in my performances.
At our age now, we would never stop ourselves from writing anything that felt like an honest expression. It can be difficult sometimes because we consider ourselves to be really private people, so I try not to be too literal in my writing sometimes. I love leaving lyrics open to interpretation so that people can make their own connections to the songs. We’ve never included lyrics in our liner notes, because I want people hear the words the way they want to.
Out of all the songs on your new EP, which track stands out for you the most and why?
Valentine: “Always Been and Spirits.” The stories behind them, I feel closest to.
Who is number one on your wishlist to collaborate with and what would you want to do with them? (A feature in a song? Collab on lyrics? Collab with production? Etc.)
Valentine: Lex: Buscabulla from Brooklyn because they are amazing. I wish I could have sang backups on “Tartaro,” I adore that song. I would kill to sing on any of their tracks + anything with Patti Smith, or Celia Cruz. Celia was the Queen.
Nadia: Sin Color from LA – they are awesome. Tegan and Sara – because sister power pop collab.
What is the feeling you experience while on stage performing to either new fans or fans who were with you since Magneta Lane and now hearing your new music?
Valentine: It feels really cathartic and personal. We can recognize every single face that has been there from the beginning and we feel very lucky for that support. We usually can’t help ourselves from smiling when we see a familiar face in the crowd. No beer bottles in the face yet, so I think we are doing okay? [laughs]
What goals do you now have on your list that you want to accomplish by the end of the year?
Valentine: Play more shows, and finish recording the Spanish version of our EP so we can put it out in the fall.
Where do you hope to see LOLAA five years from now?
Valentine: Touring in Latin America and Europe hopefully, and just writing and collaborating as much as we can.