It’s been a long time coming – a little over two years to be exact – but the Macnamara sisters, Ellie and Louise, finally got a United States release for their hit record Kingdom last month. But as the duo known as the Heathers is concerned, it’s most certainly a case of better late than never.
“It's been a while,” said Ellie of Kingdom, which was recorded in late-2011 with producer Max Dingle (The Killers, White Lies) and released in 2012. “We released it in Ireland and we're getting around to releasing it in the U.S. now, but we're zoning in on the U.S. and we're really, really excited to get it out over there.”
Kingdom hit number eight on the Irish charts, with single “Forget Me Knots” reaching number 25, and it’s clear why they’ve had such success, as their pop hooks and seamless harmonies are immediately imbedded in your brain upon one listen. Yet two years later, these Dublin sisters want Stateside listeners to know that you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
“We love Kingdom like our baby, and we're really excited about releasing it in the States, but yeah, you'll see that there's a lot more coming,” said Louise. “The next album we haven't named yet, and there's a lot of work to do for that album still to come, but it's going be different yet again and it's going in a more extreme direction. It's in the direction of Kingdom, but even further, so we're really excited about that as well. It is strange working on the two at the same time, but it's nice to mix it up and have two different things going on.”
“Maybe extreme was too harsh a word,” laughs Louise. “We're playing around with a lot more ideas and constantly progressing and evolving as musicians. So that is changing what we do. So maybe a more poppy direction with more electronic aspects. There are still guitars, and maybe a lot more electric guitars. But we don't even know where it’s heading yet. We're still at that stage where it's changing more and more while we're writing songs.”
Currently touring at home in Ireland, the Heathers will be busy in and out of the studio this summer, but they’re enjoying getting to play for the fans that helped put them on the map in the first place.
“In terms of the support, it's pretty amazing,” said Louise. “We obviously grew up in Ireland and we love it here, so it's always nice to come home and have a lot of support.”
“It's absolutely amazing and it feels so nice,” adds Ellie. “We have so much support from people here and whenever we come home it feels like home. At the same time, the one place where I feel like audiences are kind of similar to Irish audiences is the States. People have that energy and that kind of love for music that Irish people do as well, which is nice because when we go over there and we play gigs we feel like we're at home as well.”
And with two albums under their belt, the Heathers have done more than their fair share of touring, including dates throughout the United States. Well, not all of them.
“We've grown up listening to so many American bands, and we've been surrounded by and influenced by American culture, and it's definitely something that's always been very important to us, growing up and knowing that if we make it in the States, then that's fantastic,” said Louise. “So that’s very important to us. A couple years ago when we started Heathers, we wrote our first album Here, Not There and we did two tours in the States. We've been in every state in the US except for three - Hawaii, Alaska, and Nebraska. We actually love it over there so much, so it's important that we go back and bring our new music.”
Well, Hawaii and Alaska are off the beaten trail, so that explains that, but what about poor Nebraska?
“We're determined now to get to Nebraska,” said Louise.
“Number one on the list,” adds Ellie.
Affable and talented, the Macnamara sisters should have no problem breaking into the U.S. market, or as Ellie wishes to “hopefully conquer the country.” And even when that happens, don’t expect the Heathers to change who they are.
“I think our family definitely keeps us grounded,” said Ellie. “There is no way that they would let us spin out of control and they make sure our heads are firmly on our shoulders. (Laughs) We feel very lucky and we remind ourselves of that as much as possible and remind ourselves that this is what we love to do. It is a tough business and it's very easy to think to yourself, oh I'm gonna give up or there's no point in continuing with this, but this is what we love to do. We love to write songs and people seem to like our songs, so I think we remind ourselves how lucky we are and how grateful we are to be able to do what we love every day. That keeps us from getting too big of an ego.”