I travelled from New York City to West Hollywood to sit down with Rachel Kolar and Lauren Brown of He’s My Brother She’s My Sister. Just hours before their sold out show at The Troubadour, Kolar and Brown were completely relaxed; ready to talk about anything. The girls represent half the band whose musical genre is simply indefinable, their uniqueness is intoxicating. Watching them perform transports you to a whimsical place everyone should visit once and awhile.
Kolar, (vocals and percussion), Brown, (tap dancing drummer), and I chatted at The Troubadour about the Big Bang theory, Biggie Smalls, and the immense power of sisterhood.
RACHEL KOLAR: I think people think I’m slightly morbid because I have this theory, I convince people that we’re already dead. Which is a beautiful thing.
LIANNE STOKES: Oh, like one of the plot theories on LOST?
KOLAR: My boyfriend is obsessed with LOST now. I’ve never seen it. If you think about the Big Bang theory, the moment the synergy happened, the universe expanded in every which direction, so death is actually a form of expansion. It’s a form of contributing to evolution. The further you stretch in this lifetime, the further you move along in your evolution and genetic makeup. You can be totally fearless. Death isn’t scary because you’re already inhabiting that space.
LS: We might be in one level of death and then we die again. Not one of us knows where we go when we die. That’s what makes us human.
KOLAR: That’s what makes us distinctly human.
LS: How would you describe your musical style? Take for example, The Sheepdogs, they’re rock meets blues. You, I can’t define.
KOLAR: I like that.
LAUREN BROWN: We just do what we like doing. That’s the whole reason we do it. Rach and I don’t come from musical backgrounds so we’re constantly thinking about what we could bring to the table with live performance and writing.
KOLAR: We’re theater chicks, we met at NYU, so it’s not entirely musical. We’re doing a variety show as a band. We’re shooting the pilot this year.
LS: Who does most the writing?
KOLAR: My brother Rob and I. We work together. I’ll be driving in my car and almost every day a new song comes into my head. I start moving my body and think, that’s where the beat would hit. I want it to be like hip hop. I want when someone is listening to one of our songs whether it’s country or rock, to move.
LS: I still have my Biggie box set.
BROWN: I’m from Boston, so I’ve got you with Biggie.
KOLAR: I’m partial to Tupac.
LS:: [laughs] You see? It’s the East Coast/West Coast divide.
KOLAR: Did you know that Tupac is the most requested artist amongst inmates?
LS: That should be your goal.
KOLAR & BROWN: [laughs]
LS: So tonight you’re kicking off the tour for your first album. How’s that been?
BROWN: Tonight’s amazing. This is our first sold out show in L.A., all our friends are on the bill. We’re really grateful.
LS: How did you get to this place? Because you’re theater people, and you’re accomplishing what many musicians have strove for years for.
KOLAR: I think people focus too much on one thing. Lauren and I wanted to create an experimental theater movement in L.A. The theater in L.A. is crap, so we put on a show and infused L.A.’s amazing music scene into the show. We started to get involved in music that way. I was going out to Joshua Tree a lot, hanging out with this darker kind of spindrift, like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and the Dandy Warhols scene. It was a time where you imagine rock n’ roll in the 60’s and you think, “No, that didn’t happen.” There was a resurgence thing between Joshua Tree and Big Sur where it felt to me, really real. It was really good music, and nobody cared who was there. We were out in the desert. It was a really transformative time, and I thought, “Just do it.”
LS: It’s our parents’ generation we’re putting our own spin on. We didn’t live through the sixties, thankfully. I’d be so saggy now. I’d have National Geographic breasts.
KOLAR & BROWN: [laughs]
KOLAR: My brother Rob had always been in a band, and I didn’t get along with his girlfriend. I wrote a song about her. Rob thought it was kind of fun and good. Lauren (Brown) is his current girlfriend of six years.
LS: Isn’t that awesome that he broke up with her and then started dating Lauren?
KOLAR: That was my plan.
BROWN: [laughs] That was the start of the band that I’m now a part of; a song written about my boyfriend’s ex.
LS: When you’re dating a boy, never ever mess with his sister. The sister has got to like you.
LS: What’s it like on the road?
BROWN: What is great about touring is that we’re all over the place exploring different parts of the country. I’m based in L.A. and she’s based in Ojai, but we don’t really live there.
KOLAR: Being the daughter of expats, I had the tendency to poo-poo America. What’s so unique about America is that there are these tiny little communities all around the country, and you go to these towns and everyone is super tight and supportive. Everyone is artistic. Good food, great vibes.
LS: Are we talking small town Mid West?
KOLAR & BROWN: Everywhere.
KOLAR: Every state has a magic town.
LS: Lauren, you tap dance and drum. How did you get into that?
BROWN: I got into tap dancing when I was a kid. I stayed with it from six- years-old until college. I came into this project because they were looking for a drummer. It’s evolved into me playing the drums and tap dancing simultaneously. I feel confident because I had to work through a lot of fear and insecurities to get to where I am now with it. If you mess up, everyone knows it.
KOLAR: No, they don’t know. I don’t even know.
LS: No way. I feel like people have a few drinks and think, “Wow that chick is tap dancing AND playing the drums.”
KOLAR: We’re the only show in town where it’s the men who take off their shirts.
He’s My Brother She’s My Sister just finished their sold out West Coast Tour, but it’s not too late to rock out with them. Check out upcoming dates on their site.
Featured image via The Huffington Post