photos / Joshua Shultz
story / Koko Ntuen
If you don’t do a double take when you hear the music of LA based Macedo you will definitely do a double take to look at the gorgreous twins. Melissa and Michelle Macedo have been playing together for most of their adult lives and hail from a musical family. The identical twins grew up in California and early on got the entertainment bug acting in feature films and starring in commercials. While the look great on screen its their music that shines through them the most. They have been compared to Fiona Apple meets Regina Spektor and at times have R+B influences and hooks that make you sing them out loud, full volume like you are saying all the things you never could to an ex. “Like Me Most” is premiered below and we are sure you will be listening to it all day. Their new album Paper Doll is out on Feb 4. Watch them perform the title track off the ep for LADYGUNN TV and read the interview below!
How did you come up with the name for your band, Macedo?
Both: We went over lots of band names and it was the only one we both agreed on. It helps that it’s our last name. We clearly have that in common so that really made it easy.
What was it like the first time you guys made music together?
Michelle: The way we make music together is a lot like the way we communicate. We are very in tune and it is mostly improvisation. We have had our own way of communicating for as long as we can remember. It’s like speaking our own language. We have been bouncing ideas off of each other for as long as I can remember.
Melissa: I must say, being a twin is helpful, we each are very different but we’re very much in sync with each other. We know each other very very well. The first time we made music together, it was magic, like we knew it was what we were meant to do, like all of a sudden, it clicked.
When you went to different colleges you were still making music. Did you learn anything about the way you make music separately?
Michelle: We work best together and we didn’t have to be in the same city to incorporate each other into the music. College was very difficult because it was the first time we had ever been apart. It forced us to create our own identities and styles. We are grateful to have had that time to grow but are glad to be back together in the same city working together again!
Melissa: I think the most important thing we learned was just to have our own experiences and identities. Michelle is an amazing lyricist and I’m good at making the music flow, which, as it happens, is a perfect combination, so we are very happy to be back together. We were always so different from each other but we were used to being side by side, then all of a sudden the person who was next to you for your whole life is not next to you anymore. It forces you to grow, so growth was the most important part of our time apart. We each have very different things to say in our music, but it melds together because we know each other so well.
How does making music separately different from the vibe of making music together?
Michelle: We trust each others opinion so it is difficult to know whether we are going in the right direction without the others opinions. I would say the music we make together is definitely more interesting. Melissa thinks of things I would never think of and vice versa. Although we have similar tastes we are creatively very different and anything the other can bring to the table is a good thing.
Melissa: It’s always a good idea to have another ear who you really trust. Michelle is great with lyrics, so she can make anything sound like poetry. And it’s more interesting to work with someone else who has other things to add that would never cross your mind.
Billboard Discoveries praised you guys for your “unadulterated honesty.” Is it ever hard to write personal things and share them with each other or do you guys tell each other everything?
Michelle: Mostly we tell each other everything but if one of us reveals something in a song, the other can usually tell and it means that we don’t want to talk about it. I can guess what something is about and can appreciate the lyric for what it is. It is difficult but I have to pretend nobody, not even Melissa, is going to hear it. It’s hard to hear sometimes but by being artist we are confronting our secrets in that way.
Melissa: You just have to write the truth, it’s so vulnerable, but at the end of the day, if it connects to someone, then it’s more than worth it. We do tell each other everything, but some things are too complicated to just say, so it feels better to write a song about it.
What was your childhood like?
Michelle: Without Melissa, nobody would have ever heard my songs. We grew up in a very musical family but nobody ever became a professional musician. Our father is from India and although that whole side of the family plays music, but they all went into other fields. Our maternal grandmother played classical piano on the radio in L.A. in the 1920’s. Although we studied classical piano, violin and guitar, it was encouraged, but as an extracurricular activity. For as long as I can remember I have been writing poetry. I would write it on sticky notes and stick it in my books to make sure nobody ever read them. Then as I got older I started sharing them with. Nobody would have heard them if I didn’t get Melissa’s encouragement, I just wrote them for myself since it was therapeutic then Melissa said, “Hey that’s not too bad”.
Melissa: Haha, it was definitely not too bad. We were always very thoughtful children and had our own twin code. We were very musical always, we would put on plays and musicals, we have two brothers, so we would force them to be in our plays, of course. We were also extremely shy so the plays were just for us, and then we would just be silent when we were at school. I’m pretty sure we cried when anyone tried to talk to us.
Who would you dedicate “Like Me Most” to?
Both: We would dedicate the song to every person who jumps first into a relationship. It is a sort of confession about the vulnerability of being the first to say how you really feel even though you don’t know what the reaction will be. It’s scary but so brave. It is an anthem for making that leap of faith.
What was the most fun part of finalizing “Paper Doll?”
Michelle : My favorite part of finalizing it was recording the vocals in the studio. Obviously, it takes a lot of time to record an album. I love the vocals because you can really freestyle with that and the record is almost done at that point.
Melissa: It’s so nice to be done with the record and to know that you have put your heart and soul into it. Although it’s intimidating, it feels great to let it out into the world.
Are there any songs on your EP “Paper Doll” that you have cried to while playing live?
Michelle: Of Course! Especially Paper Doll because I even cried while recording that song. I actually cry almost ever time I play that song. Also, my song “Most Beautiful Woman” I always cry during.
Melissa: I pretty much cry during both of those songs too, especially, “Paper Doll”, it gets me every time.
What is the hardest song to play live?
Both: To us the hardest song to play is Like Me Most because it has so much of the rest of the band in it so it’s a lot about listening and being in tune with everybody else. We have a great band so it ends up sounding awesome but we always get nervous before we play it.
Do you guys have any rituals before performing or making music?
Michelle: We definitely give each other pep talks before we perform. We know how the other one is feeling and what we need to hear so it really helps because we don’t have to explain to each other what we feel insecure about. We have some mantras that help us.
Melissa: Yes, we always have our time alone before a show where we always say, no matter what, just sing the truth and connect to the audience, that’s what really matters.
Have any of your exes ever contacted you about any of your songs?
Michelle: It’s funny that you ask because MOST of them have, especially about this album. All of them assume the angriest one is about them. I try never to say which one is really about them or not. That’s my little secret!
Melissa: Haha! I’ll let Michelle speak on that one!
Where do you see yourselves in 5 years?
Both: In 5 years we want to be touring the world more than anything. We love to perform and write songs. We do this because it is our calling so as long as we’re writing honestly and playing, we will be happy!