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The Watson Twins Stop By the Old Town School of Folk Music

By Hunter Clauss | Friday, April 2, 2010

Photo by Dan Monick.

Identical twins Chandra and Leigh Watson weren?t known as The Watson Twins until their collaboration with Jenny Lewis. The duo formerly performed under the moniker Black Swan, but they shed the name to accompany Lewis as backup singers for 2006?s Rabbit Fur Coat. Since then, The Watson Twins have pursued their own career, channeling their indie-folk harmonies into 2008?s Fire Songs and this year?s Talking To You, Talking To Me, which they?ll be playing in support of at the Old Town School of Folk Music on April 4.

The Center Square Journal talked with Chandra about who she would like to collaborate with, how she and her sister differ musically, and who are her favorite twins.

What?s it like working with your twin sister? How does that work?

We actually only communicate telepathically. [Laughs.] We write separately. We spend months writing and creating on our own, and then we come together with these songs and play them for one another. From there, we talk about where we?re going sonically.

It?s a great working relationship. We?re very honest with each other?we?re each other?s biggest fans and also each other?s biggest critics. So there?s a kind of honestly we try to maintain with each other, and we keep pushing each other and keep making better and better music.

How are you and your sister stylistically different?

I tend to write my music a little bit more metaphorically and it?s sometimes difficult for me to just say something simply. I?m putting my own spin on it, which is cool, but sometimes it can be a detriment. Like The Beatles? ?All You Need Is Love.? It?s a profound statement, but it?s a very simple statement.

On the other hand, Leigh will write these really goofy lines that are really simple. At face view, they are very simple but they get stuck in your head. I walk around singing her songs after she plays them for me. [Laughs.]

Photo by Dan Monick.

Do you and your sister have your own favorite celebrity twins?

We were definitely obsessed with the Wonder Twins, but they?re a boy and girl. We definitely spent a lot of time watching The Parent Trap. Hayley Mills wasn?t actually a twin, but she played twins.

Do you have any plans to collaborate with other artists?

There?s nothing solid on the ground right now, but I can say we?re always collaborating with people. We love singing backup and we love collaborating, so I?m sure that?s definitely going to be part of our music artistry. It?s something that?s going to continue to happen because we have so much fun with it.

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?

Oh wow. I recently had written David Byrne an e-mail and he e-mailed me back.

What?s that about?

I was just thanking him about something he had said a long time ago. He had reviewed one of our shows with Jenny Lewis and he had said some nice things about my sister and I. And I had never thanked him or mentioned anything to him. I don?t know him, so one day somebody had reminded me of it. I was like, ?You know what? I?m just going to e-mail him and say thank you.? I?m a huge fan of his and I just think he?s done some amazing things. I?d love to sing some backup for David Byrne at some point.

But there are also so many great female singers: Neko Case, Bat For Lashes, or Emmylou Harris. There are so many amazing women I?d love to sing backup for as well.

Have you heard back from David Byrne about possibly collaborating on something?

We didn?t actually talk about that. He said he was going to buy our new record, which was really nice. And in turn I told him I was going to support him and buy his new book, Bicycle Diaries. I haven?t e-mailed him back again, but perhaps our paths will cross when we?re in Manhattan next week.

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