Senior Content Editor@hkdaglish PopWrapped recently landed an interview with alternative indie duo Shoot The Cricket. Originally from Texas, the sister duo, made up of 19 & 22 year old Jeje and Liesel Bognar, now live in Virginia, where they have begun to cause quite a stir with their piano-focused music. Both sisters are highly skilled in several musical instruments, and have both been classically trained vocally, something which is made crystal clear when you hear the beautifully crisp notes in their songs. They have already performed alongside American Idol semi-finalist Jason Castro, and hip-hop's original pretty boy, Aaron Carter, but, through social media, they are becoming more and more of a presence on the music scene. Their YouTube cover videos are characterized by their quirky introductions, often involving anecdotes and even the odd accent or two, and their fun personalities shine through. Their music, both in terms of their own songs and their cover work, is filled with excellent instrumental skills and wonderful harmonies. Far from the predictable songs about love, broken hearts, and partying that seem to be blasted non stop on radios these days, Shoot The Cricket aim for something else with their music: "I guess you could say our songs are like miniature novels or storybooks, each with a lesson to be learned." It certainly makes a nice change to hear something other than woeful tales of the broken heart, and their song "S-O-D-A" is typical of the kind of fun-loving, relaxed spirit that embodies Shoot The Cricket's music. Having released their first EP "Life Has Taught Me" in late 2013, Shoot The Cricket are now working on their debut album. We caught up with the sisters to find out a little bit more about the up-and-coming duo:
Where did the name Shoot The Cricket come from?STC: Well, it’s a funny story. Our dad was in the army and we moved around a lot. We were stationed in Texas, and in Texas, at night, all the crickets come out, and it’s really, really loud. We used to share a room. When you’re lying in bed, you can’t really hear yourself talk, or think, and we were like “Oh my gosh, those crickets are so loud! I wanna shoot them.” At the time, we were still looking for our band name, and we were like “Oh my gosh, it’s perfect, Shoot The Cricket. It kinda rolls off the tongue.”
Has music always been really important for both of you?Jeje: We’ve both been super interested in music ever since we were little. Our grandfather actually studied at the Hungarian Conservatory of Music, and our dad, he always tends to be playing stuff in the house, so we’ve always loved it. When Liesel was about 8, so I was about 5, we started piano. I wasn’t very good, but she was really good, and it just went from there.
When did you decide that music was something that you really wanted to pursue?Liesel: I was 13, so JeJe was like 11, and we were like “Hey, we should start writing our own songs and performing for people.” We’d already done it in church and for small groups of friends, but never like writing our own songs. We started there and we saw
The Click Fivein concert, which was like our favourite band, and we were like yeah, this is what we wanna do. The show was just amazing, we were like yeah, this is what we wanna do for the rest of our lives, so that was a turning point.
How does being sisters affect how you work together?STC: We’re definitely more honest with each other. Everyone thinks that we’re twins already, but we kinda have this connection where we know what each other is thinking. Liesel: If something’s bothering us, for instance, I once wrote this song, and I showed it to Jeje and she was like “No, that’s terrible.” I was like “Oh I love this song!” and she was like “No, we need to fix that.” STC: It’s cool that we can bounce off each other, but there’s also moments where you get really frustrated because you are sisters and you live together, and you’re just like “I need a break from you.”
Having been involved in musical theatre, is it something you’d be interested in doing more of?STC: Definitely. We have been doing classical training for almost nine years now. If either of us could go on Broadway right now, we would do it. We’d happily live our lives just singing everything. I’m obsessed with all the Disney and all the Broadway stuff. We’re classically trained for opera and stuff, so Disney is different. It kinda gives you that medium in-between. Musical theatre, I know it sounds cliché, but it’s just magical. It’s more than a song, it’s a song and a story.
Who are your musical influences?STC: We just love
The Beatles. Growing up, our dad was always playing records. I think we know how to play pretty much all of their songs. They’re just one of those things like “oh, we wanna be like
The Beatles”. Also Regina Spektor and The Black Keys, and Annie Lennox is really cool.
What is your favourite song to perform, and why?Liesel: Oh that’s a tricky one, you’re asking me to choose my children! I would say my favourite song to perform is one of our original songs, “I Want You.” I can go crazy on the drums, I never have to hold back. A lot [of stuff] is more like ballads, so it’s more contained, but with “I Want You”, I can just go crazy, and it’s really fun for just a moment. Jeje: I wanna echo that, I’m gonna say “I Want You” also, just for the fact that I have this kind of fun game I play with “I Want You” . I’ll find the youngest boy in the audience, I’ll pull them up on stage, and I’ll sing to them. One show, I got kinda carried away, and after we were done, I kissed him on the cheek. He was just so pumped about it, he was like “thank you so much, I videotaped it and none of my friends are gonna believe me but I’ll show them!” Listen to "I Want You": [embed]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uM3JtWXfQJM[/embed]
If you could collaborate with anyone for a song, who would it be?Liesel: I’m gonna have to say, probably, at the moment, Kyle Patrick, lead singer of
The Click Five. I just love his music. He came out with two solo projects, I just love all of it. If I had a chance to like sing or write a song with someone, it would probably be with him. Jeje: I’d say Paul McCartney, or Ringo Star. I need to meet them.
What makes Shoot The Cricket different from other bands or artists at the moment?STC: One of the greatest differences is that we don’t really write songs about love. We have a couple of those, but they’re not about boys. They’re about love in the sense of loving your sister or an experience, and not about romance. We like to tell stories through the songs. It’s not about a song that will make you want to hit the clubs and dance, it’s more about thinking, and about where you are in the world. It’s a story and a song together, kind of like musical theatre but in a more alternative way. STC: Our music is different because we like our songs to be very raw. When we play our live shows, we want the audience to be like “they sound exactly like their album”. Whenever we record, if our producer is like “let’s add this”, we’re like “no”, because we want to make sure that our sound is us, that we’re able to play everything. If we can’t play it live, then we don’t record it.
What do you hope 2014 has in store for you?Jeje: In an ideal world, I would be dating Niall Horan (laughs). STC: Our goal this year is to come out with our full length album, hopefully in August-September. We’re hoping to have about thirteen tracks on that. We want to do more interviews, and have more people request videos from us, because we really do love making them for people. Just spreading the word about our music.
PopWrapped wishes them all the best for what looks like a very bright future!You can keep up with Shoot The Cricket on various platforms:
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