Originally published in The Music Network – 2012
THE VERONICAS: LIFE ON MARS
“We’d just come off the back of six or seven years of touring constantly, so we needed to take a break, to get a new perspective and see where we wanted to take this record. For an artist, the third record is about cementing yourself as something. So for us to take a minute to assess where we were at as women, live life a little bit again, as well as to see where we wanted to take The Veronicas on a sonic level – it was just worth it.”
Jessica Origliasso is discussing the eon since their second album Hook Me Upwas released. In reality it has been just under five years; a drop in the ocean in real terms, but an eternity in the ever-shifting and always fickle world of pop music.
“We’ve had a lot of people who wanted us to hurry up,” she laughs. “To just do it the way we know how to do it. But as artists you want to challenge yourselves and take things to a space you’re not necessarily comfortable with, stepping up on a creative level and taking the reins in a way that we hadn’t necessarily had the chance to on the last couple of records. And we’ve learnt so much as artists and just from travelling the world. We were different people and we needed to take the time to explore the individual aspects of who we were as artists, as well as women. I guess that all had to do with why it took so long.
“Of course, there is the music business side of it, which is beyond the artists’ control – where companies go though their own business. We were just driven by the creative side of it, and nothing or nobody could rush us through the process. It was an organic thing we needed to go through, and we didn’t want that fearful mentality: being fearful that people were going to forget about us. We just wanted to go into our creative realm and keep exploring and keep pushing until we felt we had something that we were the most proud of.”
Now, armed with new single Lolita–which sits somewhere between the desperate drive of Tatu and the hi-fidelity sass of Nicki Minaj’s poppier outings–The Veronicas make a welcome return to radio this week. According to Origliasso, the single and forthcoming video deal with the twins’ perception of love (“mysterious, a little bit violent, a little bit dangerous, but also dramatic and impassioned at the same time”) and is the first chapter of a larger story, namely their third record Life On Mars, the tracklisting for which the pair are currently in the process of locking off.
“It’s a far more conceptual record than the last two, which were very much song-driven, about getting individual songs,” she explains. “This album tells the story–dynamically, sonically and lyrically–of the journey that we’ve been going through.”
It’s certainly been a journey. Early attempts at songwriting began at the age of 14, by their eighteenth birthday the pair had signed a publishing deal with Hayden Bell’s Multiplay. A production deal with Andrew Klippel and Todd Wagstaff’s now defunct Engine Room followed quickly. “From there we did a big songwriting trip with the advance we got from our publishing money – we travelled Sweden, the UK and the US, and by the end of that trip we had most of our first album written, before we even signed to Warner Brothers,” explains Origliasso.
“It is beautiful to reflect back on the headspace we were in,” she continues. “We were two girls from Brisbane and all of a sudden we were embarking on this journey that took us so far beyond what we could have ever expected, so to be able to soak that up and learn as much as we did was great. The kind of women that Lisa and I are: we love to learn, we love to explore, we love to create. So it wasn’t just ‘This is fun, we are going to just do this’ it was, ‘What can we take from this?’”
This ambition has seen The Veronicas’ two albums sell multi-Platinum in Australia, which thrust the duo firmly into the international spotlight, where microscopic focus was placed on the twins’ fashion sense, relationships, Twitter feeds and often everything bar their actual music.
“At first it didn’t seem overwhelming, we loved it,” Origliasso admits. “Young women getting all this attention. You know, as a musician there’s a certain amount of attention that you crave, especially when you are choosing pop as a career. Obviously, once you start realising the things that you lose within that, then it becomes hard; once the novelty of it wears off and you’re left dealing with the public perception and with lies and things that are blown out. It’s basically your image feeding something that has nothing to do with you. Then it becomes something else that you have to deal with and you have to find a different centre for yourself, because at the end of the day, that whole world has nothing to do with the person that you really are. It’s to do with selling magazines or selling a story; a sensationalised version of something that is greater than yourself.”
Whenever the pressure of being media icons became too much, the twins immersed themselves in music.
“Honestly, the thing that we’ve always done is art,” she explains. “You just stay involved in, and re-embrace the reason that you are there, which is for the music. Anytime it started to get silly or stupid or hurtful we just ignored that. You can have fun with it, and you can’t take yourself too seriously because if you do you’ll die in this industry. You have to be a pretty strong person with a strong value system, strong principals and strong self-worth and then you’ll be fine.
“The reason we are what we are, and that people want to listen to what we have to say, or read about our boyfriends, is because we make music. The music is what we love, so it just takes a re-focus. And I feel like the public shift with that. When they see you not reacting to whatever those things are and they check in and they see you are focused on the right things, those other things start to dissipate.”