Santa Monica-based indie-pop duo Only Bricks. Entitled “Big Girl Shoes” their single is based on a metaphor for the “double bind of needing to look feminine but not sexy, an added weight women carry at work on top of their normal job responsibilities.”
I had a chance to catch with Anne & Joseph about their upcoming projects and all about indie-pop & how their new single ” Big Girl Shoes” came about.
Y’all have established yourselves as amazing artists, what inspired you to get into music?
Joseph: My earliest memories were of wanting to play the guitar. I’m not sure where that came from, but it was always there. I grew up on Tri-State area AM radio (66 WNBC and 77 WABC) in the 70s, and the earliest song I remember falling in love with was Don McLean’s American Pie. I was probably 4 or 5 when I bought the single for 99 cents. The song is 8:42, so you had to flip it over to listen all the way through. They faded it out on side 1 and faded it back in on side 2, which I thought was a nice touch. I had no idea what the lyrics meant, but loved it to death. I started playing guitar at 9 and loved it. Was in my first band at 13, and pretty much played in various pop / rock original and cover bands until I graduated law school.
Anne: I can always remember singing with my parents – lullabies and the entire Wee Sing Silly Songs and Raffi catalogs when I was really little, and then oldies radio (60s and 70s Top 40). I also have my earliest memories of music from singing along to the hymns at Catholic mass every Sunday. My hometown is small but it has several colleges and universities, so the arts were celebrated and I grew up getting to see Broadway tours and famous classical musicians like Yo Yo Ma perform. I took music lessons (piano and violin), sang in choirs, played in orchestras, and starred in my high school musicals. My parents played music around the house all the time, too, and I learned every word to Les Miserables when I was 9 or 10, and played my mom’s Beatles LPs on repeat. I got obsessed with Billy Joel in high school and illegally downloaded all of his
albums, which was wrong and I regret considerably (I got sued for downloading in 2004 and had to pay a settlement to the RIAA). But it was that upbringing that got me into performing and making music, which I’ve never stopped doing even though I took a different career path.
Y’all have become notable indie pop artists, What about the indie pop genre did you find attractive ?
We love pop music, and it made sense to focus on the music that we most listen to and enjoy.
What potential do you see in the indie pop scene and how do you think you can impact it?
People always seem to say that pop is a dying genre. We don’t think it is. It certainly evolves and is impacted by other genres and production styles, but it will never die. So we think there’s tremendous potential here. Will indie pop sound the same in 10 years as it does today? Of course not, but that’s part of the fun.
Y’all have come up with some amazing tunes, take us through your songwriting, producing process ?
We typically start with a melodic idea that one of us has sung into our voice memos. The idea is pretty bare boned at that point. From there we’ll decide where the melodic idea might fit into a song – is it part of the verse or the chorus or something else entirely. Then we build the song out from there, deciding on a theme and writing lyrics. For production, we usually start with a basic guitar and vocal demo. Then we brainstorm ideas with our producer to figure out what direction the song should go in sonically. Once that’s done, we’ll add vocals and guitars on top.
How did y’all conceive the idea of becoming a duo and deciding to set off on this journey together?
We played in a cover band we had through our office and Joseph wanted to start writing originals. Anne had never written songs but thought she would give it a shot and got hooked. From there it was sort of serendipitous that we started dating and ended up living in LA and getting married because Anne moved to LA alone and that could have been that. But Joseph knew the creative partnership was just beginning and moved to LA too, and we decided to call ourselves Only Bricks in 2017. We released our first music together as a duo in 2018, our EP Foundation. It was pretty natural. We started writing songs together before we were dating, and had a few music projects during that time. When we got married, it seemed like the next logical step was to form Only Bricks.
Y’all have made music that has resonated with fans, how does it feel to be an inspiration to your audience?
We hope we can bring out a smile or some extra energy someone didn’t know they had, to believe in themselves or just get through their day. That feels really great.
Y’all have received a lot of accolades for your music, how does it feel knowing that your music is appreciated by fans?
While reviews and press coverage are great, we really love to have a personal connection with our fans. It’s so amazing to get a note on YouTube or Instagram from a fan halfway across the world who connected with one of our songs.
Do y’all see yourself dabbling in other genres apart from indie pop?
Most definitely. We’re big fans of all music, and when we sit down to write, we’re usually not focused on writing an Only Bricks song. We just sit down to write a song. It could be singer songwriter or dance or alt rock.
How do y’all use music to spread your ideas and discuss social issues?
Given everything that’s been happening in the world lately, it’s almost impossible NOT to have our music influenced by social issues. Big Girl Shoes is a good example of this. A feminist anthem designed to empower women from all walks of life to smack back at the patriarchy!
Have y’all taken certain life events that inspire the songs y’all make ?
Our relationship, both before and after our marriage is a constant topic of our songwriting. We both sort of love and hate having songs written about us by our spouse – the truth always comes out in a song!
Since y’all are constantly up to something, do y’all have any upcoming projects for us to be excited about?
We’ve got 4 more singles coming out this year, with one called Better Summer up next on May 28. And we’re releasing a Christmas song in November!