Soulful sister act, KTJ & Carly, are set to take LA by storm in the coming months.
In this interview with Close-up Culture, the talented twins talk about the recent release of their debut single, On Your Mind, and their journey together so far in the music industry.
Q: Your debut single, ‘On Your Mind’, is out now. How does it feel to reach this stage of your music journey and have this song out there?
Carly: It really feels amazing. Sometimes, it feels like it has been so long since we started this journey, but it has only been shy a year. We have only just begun. We have so much lined up for the future as well as so many aspirations and goals.
Having our original stuff out for the rest of the world to hear feels so rewarding, we just can’t wait to release more of our music. It feels like the beginning of something magical.
Q: What thoughts and feelings were going through your minds when writing and producing ‘On Your Mind’?
Carly: Most of our songs come from either a personal space or it comes from an imaginative space. This time around, it came from a more personal space. KT had been in a relationship that wasn’t good for her and everyone around her knew it. Finally after everyone telling her, she realised this person was bad for her.
We wrote this song like a timeline, the same one that she experienced. The way that we interpreted the song was the first verse talking about how they are attracted to this person who is mysterious and suave, and they want to know more about them but they still have trust issues from past relationships. Then in the pre-chorus realising their intuition was right; that person was all along a distraction from what is important.
Then chorus, the second verse, through the end work as a timeline though this single thought process. Someone starts off fascinated by their distractions and then they come to find out what they are: a distraction and selfish. They are people who think that everyone benefits when they are around when in reality they only hold you down.
This song is about relationships, it’s about curiosity of the unknown, it’s about magic, and it’s about toxicity. But in all honesty, it’s about anything the listeners want it to be. It’s up for interpretation.
Q: Your sound is so unique and almost hypnotic. Is ‘On Your Mind’ a good indicator of the style of music we’ll hear from you in the coming years?
Carly: Thank you! I’d say our sound in On Your Mind is a good indicator, but we also like to change things up a bit. Our music is hard to place in a “genre”. We just love to make music. All kinds of music. Our songs are influenced by so many different genres it is hard to say.
However, the stuff coming up is similar to On Your Mind. We did amp up the R&B in our voices a little bit and the production is a bit more electro/commercial; we don’t want to give too much away, but we are excited for everyone to hear.
Q: As well as the debut single, you had your debut live performance in LA at the Hotel Cafe. How was that introduction to the LA scene?
KTJ: It was absolutely amazing! Everyone we met was so kind and it was such a blast. It made us feel so warmed to know that we had people travel to see us do what we love.
We’re so thankful for everyone who supports us, and excited for the many adventures coming our way and amazing people we will meet. Especially since we will be living in Los Angeles.
Q: You’ve been performing since the age of five. What drew you to music at such a young age and what has kept you with it?
Carly: Something that drew us to music at such a young age was our dad. He was a musician growing up and he always engrained music in our family from the beginning.
Music is something we always loved. The other day, we were watching home videos and there is a video of KT and I singing and playing toy instruments before we could even form words or sentences. I feel that this is something we were born to do and it is something we love more than anything in the world. Making music.
Our family is super supportive and we are so blessed for that. They have really encouraged us to live our dream and pursue music. For KT and I to be able to do this together has been such an advantage because we feed off of each other’s passions and we get to share our creative ideas with each other all the time.
Q: How important has having each other – and this sisterly bond – been to you following this dream?
Carly: It has been so important having each other in this journey. We grew up together so we know our weaknesses, our strengths, and we have a great chemistry bond that you can’t find in a friend or colleague, but in sisters. I mean, we literally used to be one person in the womb. The fact that we are twins and not just regular sisters have made us closer than your average sibling.
We grew up in the same classes, with the same friends, and in the same extracurricular activities. We are not only great when we work together on music, but we are always there for each other; we have each others backs. I believe that is crucial in this business. There are a lot of people out there who will let you down, but at the end of the day, we know that we will always have each other and our love for creating music and art.
Like I said before, we grew up sharing our passion, like we do many things. A huge part of our passion for this is having each other and that is another reason why we love it so much. We are a dynamic duo and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Q: What is your dynamic like together – when you are working on music and when you aren’t?
KTJ: We’ve been performing and jamming out together since we were little kids, so I can’t imagine not having Carly by my side during any performance, or any family dinner. We are both complete opposites; my weaknesses are her strengths, and her weaknesses are my strengths. We really balance and teach each other something new everyday. We are both so thankful to have one another.
While we do support and love each other until death, we also fight all the time, like sisters do. It’s great though because since we are so close we feel completely comfortable being honest with each other if we think something sounds bad.
We both have so many ideas with our craft and being twins and stubborn with each other, we debate a lot about what our next move is. I think it’s good to question things through and think outside of the box. It’s also great because I have twice as many clothes as I would not being a twin, haha.
When we were little, we used to fight about taking each other’s clothes, but growing up, we realised that sharing is caring! When we aren’t working, we are best friends. We hang out all the time and we have all of the same friends and hobbies. We are like built in BFFS!
Q: And a few quickfire questions: What was the first album you fell in love with?
KTJ: The first album I really fell in love with was Born To Die by Lana Del Rey. It was a summer day with my friends and while we listened, we related to it and cried because of how much it spoke to us. Favourite one on the album being This Is What Makes Us Girls. It was magical.
Q: Who are your favourite celebrity siblings?
Carly: The Wayne brothers, Smothers brothers, Hemsworth brothers, Chloe X Halle, Jonas brothers, Fanning sisters, O’Connell family, and the Olsen twins. Families and siblings in the entertainment industry are the best because there is a type of chemistry and collaboration that you can’t find anywhere outside a family.
Q: What would be your dream venue to perform at?
KTJ: Any kind of music festival Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Coachella, ACL, Float Fest, or NYE on Time Square, Madison Square Garden.
Q: What do you enjoy doing most away from music?
Carly: Some things we enjoy doing away from music is film acting. We love filmmaking, cinematography, and photography. We love video and editing. We edit all of our videos that we post and we film them ourselves. We favour Adobe Premiere and Lightroom; we both have used these softwares for over seven years.
It can be difficult at times when you are the camera man and the person on screen, but it is something we are really passionate about as well and would love to delve more into in the near future.
Q: What is your favourite lyrics from a song?
Carly: My favourite lyric from a song right now is in Sasha Sloan’s Faking It. There is this line that says, “It’s like I’m standing at the bottom of a hole, with a shovel in my hand.” When I listened to it for the first time I cried because that lyric just shot right through my heart. It was beautiful and pure genius. That entire song has lyrics like that and I find that most of her song-writing is so relatable and truthful.
Sasha Sloan is an amazing writer and has given us both tremendous inspo in our song writing.
Q: Which artist – past or present – would you love to collaborate with?
KTJ: We would love to work with Labrinth, Flume, ODESZA, ZHU, Disclosure, Billie Eillish, Lorde, Post Malone, 6LACK, and Louis The Child.
Q: And finally, what are your hopes and ambitions for the future?
Carly: This year we will continue to release singles and continue to perform as much as possible. In the near future, we will release an LP or EP and continue to branch out our sound. Our ultimate hopes and ambitions for the future as an artist is to really understand people.
I feel that a lot of artists, I can’t connect to them because they don’t act human if that makes sense. They are so caught up in this glamour world that it’s hard for people to connect to them. It’s not real. That’s our ultimate goal as artists: to be real. To be truthful, real, and passionate and connect and inspire people through our music.
Our music is always up for interpretation. All art is, of course. We want people to feel inspired, to feel understood, or maybe just to feel happy, sad, or content. For example, I personally listen to music to connect to the lyrics, and use that as an outlet or an escape.
We want people to feel that they can escape the harsh world to our music. The best moment is when you can find a song, and it’s almost like it is speaking directly to you. That is what we are aiming for; for our music to be a safe haven.
KTJ & CARLY “On Your Mind” (Written and produced by KTJ & CARLY)