Somewhere in between bites two and three of a highly delicious fish taco from Monon Food Company I realized I've never actually seen harmony-singing sisters Lily and Madeleine apart. Not onstage, not when I've bumped into them around town, not in taco-filled interviews. They're a unit, a united front, onstage, on record and in interviews. They've kept it together.
Now that's not to say that they're the same person, or twins, or anything like that. Just that, artistically, I've encountered them as a pair — which is a gift, because the Jurkiewiczes voices go so sweetly together.
But on Keep It Together, their third album and first on New West Records, the pair separated, writing and conceptualizing music more independently.
"We began writing this album a year ago, probably. It's been a while. We wrote it differently than in the past. Usually we would have writing sessions, where we would get together and be like, what are we going to write about? And figure it out on the spot," Madeleine says. "This time around, Lily and I wrote separately. Lily would write a full song, or I would write a full song, and we would bring them to each other. Then we would meet up with Kenny [Childers, songwriter and writing partner] again and [say], 'I have this entire thing. What do you think?"
"You can tell on the record which songs are more Lily songs, and which songs are Madeleine songs," she says.
" 'Westfield,' I would say, is the most mine," says Lily. "I think we only took one word out that I wrote, and the rest is mine. 'Nothing,' Madeleine wrote all of."
The pair both retain co-writing credits on all songs. "We edited them all together," Lily says. "And we arranged them all together," Madeleine jumps in.
"Before we went into the studio [with Paul Mahern], we arranged everything with Shannon and Kate." Madeleine says. That's drummer Kate Siefker and cellist Shannon Hayden, both Hoosier musicians. "We had the songs done, and some of them we had written on guitar, some on piano. We got together with the ladies, and said, 'Here are the songs. How can we add percussion, cello, mandolin? What are we going to add to them?'"
For the next two weeks they worked in a space above the Jurkiewicz family garage and figured out the arrangements. The recording process was simpler after that — "We still got stuck on stuff," Madeleine says. " And there were some songs that we scrapped that I was disappointed about, but it was no big deal because the process [of arranging in advance] was super helpful."
They'll head to South By Southwest next month for showcases with Noisetrade, their new label New West, and undoubtably a few others. (Time gets filled quickly at SXSW.) After, Lily, Madeleine, Kate and Shannon will make their way south for that, and all other shows. "All of our tours are going to be just the four of us," Madeleine says. A West Coast tour trip and Europe are hopefully on the horizon. Shannon will open many shows on their tour as a solo cellist — she's recently released her new full-length album, and the addition of a in-band opener will make full show setup quick and easy. "It's so easy. We know her set so well," Madeleine says. But before SXSW and those far-flung shows, they'll play three times in the area: tonight at LUNA Music, tomorrow at Deluxe at Old National Centre and Sunday at Landlocked Records in Bloomington, then set off for the East Coast.
Outside of Lily and Madeleine (the band) stuff, Lily and Madeleine (the women) have expanded creative endeavors in mind.
"I'm hoping to start acting a little bit this year," Madeleine says. "I'm interested in working on production, collaborating with other artists and people," Lily says. And a big move lurks in the future, too. Maybe to Nashville, maybe to California, maybe to New York, Chicago.
And they'll probably do it together.
"Right now, I think it makes sense to live together," Madeleine says. "We're just taking it week by week."