Youth, beauty, no money fun and hippy vibes; meet Summer Twins, the dream rock ‘n roll sister duo. Born and raised in Riverside, Ca, they formed a band in 2008, gaining Michael Rey Villavicencio on bass and Andy Moran on guitar. Their latest album ‘Limbo’ features a mix of surf and garage rock anthems entwined with ’50s and ’60s inspired pop harmonies and was recently released on Burger records. The release is accompanied by stunning photography of the band cavorting in bohemian attire on a spacious, mountainous landscape. “Our two friends Tanner and Katie (HOSSxxBOINK) shot them in our hometown, Riverside. There’s a bike trail that goes through a dry riverbed so there’s lots of cool spots around there. It’s also where we shot our music video for “Demons.” It was a lot of fun!” tells singer/guitarist Chelsea.
I love the new record and its pulp fiction, pop with a twist in its tail, feel. Who are your influences and what brought you to create that atmosphere in your music?
We listen to a lot of older music. I’d say we were influenced by ’60s garage and French pop as well as ’50s doowop and rock ‘n roll.
What is Limbo about? Can you give us an overview of some of the tracks on the new album?
Every song has it’s own story but overall the album seems to deal with the struggle of everyday living and working as an artist, trying to keep your dream alive. It’s about being in one place but wanting to be somewhere else – that “in between” stage in which you can feel lost, frustrated, hopeful, and inspired all at once.
What is it like to be from Riverside?
We love Riverside. Now that we’re living in LA we’re learning that people seem to have this weird idea of what Riverside is like, although they’ve never actually been there. We grew up downtown, which is a beautiful historic area with lots of amazing buildings, parks, and hills to explore. It has a more laid back and welcoming vibe,which we miss.
What is it about retro style that you’re drawn to?
I think older stuff – whether its music, fashion, design,
architecture, or whatever – is classic and timeless. It holds up and never goes out of style.
When did Chelsea and Justine uncover their musical talents as a duo?
We started jamming and learning covers around the ages of 13 and 14. We liked the idea of being a band and were inspired by bands like The Donnas and The Ramones.
How long were you writing together before you recruited Michael and Andy and how did you find them?
We’ve had lots of different friends in our band and they come and go as life happens, so we just go with the flow. Michael and Andy both have their own bands are part of the local music scene in Riverside, so that’s how we all met. Michael has been with us for a few years now and Andy joined earlier this year. It’s a great lineup!
I’ve seen on your Facebook page that you get fan mail. What is the best fan mail you’ve received and how does it make you feel?
The best fan mail we ever received was a couple videos from Japan of 4 young girls covering our songs at a school performance. I can’t even describe what that felt like; I was immediately in tears. To see that we have inspired other young girls to play all the way across the world is an unbelievable feeling. I kept in touch with one of the girls and we’re now pen pals. (Shout out to Misako Oki!)
Your style and the gigs you play seem to stick to a DIY ethos. Do you reject the mainstream?
I don’t think that we necessarily reject the mainstream. It’s just
that when you want to achieve something and you’re starting from scratch, jumping in and doing it yourself is the only way to do it! We’re at a point now where we have been doing things DIY for all these years and it’s becoming a lot of work. We manage ourselves, make all our own merch, put together our music videos and shoots, do our own booking, and run all our web stuff while also working jobs to make a living and it’s getting tough to find the time to just write music! So we’re probably going to need to put together some sort of team soon.
What is the most important gig you’ve played?
We had to opportunity to open for Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings the other night and it was both exciting and humbling to be able to share the stage with such a professional and amazingly talented band.
We also got to open for Jenny Lewis earlier this year for the last two nights of her Voyager tour, which was literally a dream come true (I gave her our very first demo at one of her shows years ago!). It’s great playing with true professionals because we learn a lot just by watching them and it motivates us to keep working hard to be better.
What is the best part of being in Summer Twin?
I think the best part is that it allows us to do so many things we
wouldn’t normally do. Beyond the satisfaction of just being able to play music, it’s given us opportunities to travel, to make music
videos with our friends, to play with other amazing bands, and to
connect with and inspire people. It has also showed us what we’re capable of. The possibilities are endless as long as you work hard and believe in it.
Do you think it is important for young girls to grow up seeing female musicians and artists?
Yes. Many people, including females, still view women in music as an anomaly. I’ve found that lots of girls and women want to play music or be in a band but they don’t think they can for some reason; they’re more timid to try it then most men are. By seeing other women doing it, it not only seems attainable but it becomes more normal, which is how it should be.
Will you be playing in the UK soon?
We don’t have any tour plans at the moment, but hopefully it won’t be long before we make it over there! We’ve always wanted to play in the UK!
Hear the new album, ‘Limbo’ out now!