These full-time musicians and fashionistas have aspirations for successful international careers in both fields. Their music took off globally when they began their YouTube channel in 2012. As of February 2015, the No Frills Twins have more than 60,000 subscribers on YouTube and more than 200,00 fans on Facebook, accomplished in less than three years, and these numbers are increasing by the thousands each week.
Q. How would you describe the No Frills Twins’ approach to life?
Our approach to life is taking a part of each day and working towards our goal as artists (which we enjoy anyway so it’s not always hard work). We’re currently working on our craft and always looking out for opportunities. We view setbacks or rejections as a normal part of life. These experiences can be essential for aspiring entertainers; they help us to grow a thicker skin and to heighten our determination. As far as internet trolls/bullies go, as long as we feel happy with ourselves we don’t take any notice of what anyone else thinks about us. We’re pretty self-contained.
Q. What music inspires you or first really got you excited about songwriting?
Ever since we were babies music was a part of our life. Our parents were in a band and our house was full of instruments, microphones and music. We were inspired to write our first song at age 10 in response to the Boxing Day tsunami. It just happened naturally. Vanessa sang the song and Arna beat-boxed.
We performed it at the Fatherhood Festival at Bangalow and received great feedback from Damien Leith, who encouraged us to continue songwriting. Around the same time, we were finalists at Kids’ Australian Idol, where we performed the second song we ever wrote, judged by Kyle Sandilands and Casey Donovan.
Casey Donovan was one of our favourite singers at the time so her support really influenced us. We were only 10 years old, looking out onto an ocean of people; it was an experience we will always remember.
I think the songwriting collaboration between the two of us is a strength because we always have different ideas and we bounce off each other. Ninety per cent of our songs are written at 3am. We feel very creative at this quiet and calm hour of the morning.
Our songwriting style is simultaneous and linear: generally chords, melody and lyrics are all constructed simultaneously. Later on we will improve the lyrics. We always write our songs linearly, starting at verse 1.
Q. What are the themes that you like to explore in your music?
We’ve explored lots of themes in our songwriting and will continue to as we experience new feelings and circumstances in life. We’ve written about domestic violence, eating disorders, love and lust, insecurities, esteem issues, addictions, co-dependency, seeking spiritual answers – among other things. The beauty of songwriting is that although hundreds of people can explore the same theme, no two people will ever write exactly the same thing.
There is an endless array of subjects and ways to explore and present them. You never run out.
Q. What are the issues or the things in life that you are most passionate about?
Apart from music and fashion, we’re passionate about social justice, age discrimination and anti-bullying. Bullying is an epidemic in every sphere of life, in families, schools, workplaces; we even see it in shops or on the street.
Disrespect and stand-over tactics, we notice it everywhere. We’d love to travel around Australian schools with our own anti-bullying workshop at some point.
Q. Where do you see your music career taking you this year? Do you have plans to tour or to leave the area?
We’ve had several offers this year already and they are exciting – from a large record label and a potential publishing deal. We have plans to finish our album and work with some interesting producers so we’ll be travelling to and from Sydney to record and possibly overseas for some co-writing, but we’ll keep quiet on that one for now.
Q. What do you think it was about growing up in this region that helped foster your unique brand of creativity?
We’ve always lived in the northern rivers and it’s always been a very free-spirited and encouraging community. When we were younger we would busk on the streets of Byron Bay where we drew large crowds and made really good money! Performing arts is such a natural extension of this region and we’re really lucky to have that influence. As well as the many music festivals our region fosters, we’ve been fortunate enough to play at the Blues Festival, Mullumbimby Music Festival and other local festivals.
We hope that we can inspire other young people to explore what it is they enjoy and to not be afraid to express themselves creatively, whatever form that takes – art, music, performance, fashion, theatre… Our whole region is full of people who branch out and don’t stick to mainstream rigidity. There’s a lot of support here too.
Q. What should we expect for your Mullumbimby show?
We’re going to play some unheard original songs from our upcoming album and a cover or two.
Q. Was it hard as younger women to stand aside from the mainstream and create your own style? What are the reactions? How do you respond to them?
It wasn’t a conscious decision to stand aside from the mainstream. Exploring fashion and makeup became our hobby in our later years of high school and has progressively became a natural part of our everyday lifestyle. We think having each other really helped our fear of being judged, plus expressing ourselves aesthetically gives us confidence and makes us feel good! We believe every human being has a different fingerprint for a reason. We’re all individuals and if you want to stand out from the crowd, that’s totally cool.