Lily & Madeleine

Lily and Madeleine Jurkiewicz are two sisters from Indianapolis who have already put out three records. Between 2013 and now, they’ve made it their goal to put out a record a year and, more or less, they’ve succeeded. From their self-titled debut on Asthmatic Kitty (most known as Sufjan Stevens’ label) to their most recent release Keep it Togther on their new label home New West, the duo have managed to create sparse, sublime folk pop that is just so incredibly beautiful. Their music inspires genuine smiles and toe tingles while they’ve been steadily growing in their songwriting and production. Read on to see our chat about label transitions, advice for fellow young musicians, and how to win tickets to their upcoming show at the Swedish American Hall.

The Bay Bridged: You guys are heading out on tour next week, right?

Madeleine Jurkiewicz: Yes, we are. We’re heading out on Sunday.

TBB: Is there anything you’re excited about specifically for this tour?

MJ: I’m just excited to be back in California and on the West Coast in general. Hopefully the weather will be really nice. We’re just going to revisit some old venues that we played in the past, like the Troubadour in LA and Doug Fir Lounge in Portland. I’m also excited to check out some of the new venues we’re booked at. In San Francisco, I think we’re playing Swedish American Hall, which we’ve never played before. I think that’ll be really cool. I don’t know anything about it.

TBB: Yeah, it’s a great venue. You guys just put out you third record ‘Keep It Together.’ I notice that compared with past albums, the production sounds a lot fuller, I was wondering, how was it like in the studio recording this album, and was it different than the process for your other records?

MJ: Yeah, Keep it Together, we wrote similarly to the way we usually write, where it’s just me and Lily. However, we wrote separately this time, and then brought each song together at the end to revise. Then, we arranged everything with the rest of our band, which includes Shannon Hayden and Kate Siefker, which was really cool so that they knew exactly what kind of sound we were looking for when we went into the studio. When we got into the studio to record them, to record the songs, everything was already worked out from our arrangement with

[them]. So it was just really tight that way, and it kind of gives the album more of a band sound, like you said it was more full. I’m glad you could hear that.

TBB: Speaking of Shannon Hayden, every time I’ve seen you, Shannon Hayden has opened up the show and played with you guys during your set. I was wondering, how did you guys meet and start to collaborate?

MJ: Well, we met sort of in an odd way in that she met our producer first. She was just doing a radio broadcast from the studio he records at. This was maybe four years ago, and we were just starting to make music with him. We were making our first EP at the time, and he said, “You want to put some cello on the tracks of this EP that I’m making with these girls?” And she was like, “Okay. Whatever.” She did like a little lick for the middle part of one of our songs, so then she was just in association with us. Then, we started touring with her a couple years later! She also opened for us in our first show ever.

TBB: For this new record, you put it out on New West as opposed to Asthmatic Kitty where you put your first two records on. I was wondering how that transition has been between labels?

MJ: The transition has been pretty easy. New West has been really wonderful so far, and they have, I think, a bigger team than Asthmatic Kitty did, so there are a lot more people involved in the process and therefore we’re interacting with a lot more people. It can be a little confusing in that we don’t always know who to turn to for some question. That’s like a con, I guess, but the pro is that everybody is working hard to promote this record, so it’s been really wonderful so far.

TBB: With the couple time you’ve been in San Francisco in the past couple years, you’ve played at the Chapel, and I remember you mentioned that one of those times was your first time playing in San Francisco. How has it been watching your audience grow from show to show, especially in a single city?

MJ: You know, we played at the Chapel a couple times. It’s such a wonderful place, and actually last time we were there, it was Valentine’s Day, which was really sweet. That’s such a beautiful venue to spend a Valentine’s Day date in. I’m excited to play a new venue because we’ve only seen that little strip of Valencia Street. I’m excited to see another part of San Francisco!

TBB: I think I remember you saying something about how for one of your tours, one of you was balancing high school with touring. How did you work out that balance and what’s the best piece of advice you have for other young musicians who might be starting out in the same situation?

MJ: Well, we are not in school anymore. I went to college last semester, just a couple classes, but for this semester we do not go to school, and obviously there’s no school in the summer. I would say to young musicians who are trying to balance both to try to just get the school to work around the tour schedule because I think both are very important. Like, if you’re in college and can afford to take off a semester just to focus on touring that semester, I would do that. You can do it all.

Lily Jurkiewicz: Yeah, if you can afford it, I would totally take off school to do it. However, I feel like you can also just play shows on the weekends or just play local shows, or take off a week of school and do a quick tour. You can make it work.

TBB: Since we’re in San Francisco, I always have to ask if there’s anything you’re excited about seeing or doing when you get to the city?

MJ: When we get to San Francisco?

TBB: Yeah

MJ: I think we’re hanging out at Pandora, I think, when we’re in San Francisco.

TBB: Oh yeah! Pandora’s in Oakland, so that’s another cool city to see.

MJ: We’ve never been to Oakland, so it should be really cool. I’m just excited to see the water and have fresh warm air, honestly.

To enter for a chance to win tickets to see LILY & MADELEINE at SWEDISH AMERICAN HALL, email with “LILY & MADELEINE” in the subject line and your full name in the body of the email. A winner will be selected at random and notified via email.

Lily & Madeleine, Shannon Hayden
Swedish American Hall
May 11, 2016
8pm, $15