Photography: Autumn de Wilde
The Lemon Twigs have had a really big year. They released their critically acclaimed debut album, Do Hollywood, in October, dropped two music videos and have headlined shows across the world, all before they finished high school. If that weren’t enough, teenage brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario, are single-handedly bringing back glam rock cool.
With Do Hollywood, the band delivers classic pop hits with a rock ‘n’ roll edge, combining catchy melodies and saccharine lyrics into singles as irresistible as The Stones’. Part Wings, part Ziggy Stardust, the album fuses the boys’ pop sensibility with heavy guitars and a psychedelic twist. Album opener, “I Wanna Prove To You,” showcases The Lemon Twigs’ ability to reference The Beatles, without sounding at all like a knockoff, while “These Words” channels Marc Bolan. On “How Lucky Am I?,” 19-year-old Brian D’Addario’s voice soars over a simple piano, while “As Long As We’re Together” gives 17-year-old Michael the lead, crooning like David Bowie. With tracks like “Frank,” and “Baby, Baby,” the band cements their status as this year’s most exciting act, with an even more exciting future—Do Hollywood is The Lemon Twigs’ Rubber Soul, with a little bit of Hunky Dory.
BULLETT called Michael to talk about The Lemon Twigs’ style and being in a family band.
On Do Hollywood:
We didn’t really have any goals when we recorded the album—we just want to write really good songs that don’t need all the bells and whistles that crazy production offers. I think we succeeded in just writing good songs and making something that people aren’t used to hearing.
On recording the album:
We recorded this album really easily, and we felt like it was really good. But there were a few things we wanted to change. We went in and tried to do those things, but with everything we tried to change, everything else just got so much more complicated. It all kept getting more and more complicated, until we ended up just going back to the beginning, to the basics.
On becoming The Lemon Twigs:
There’s never been a period where we weren’t a band. We were in one band when I was in first grade and he was in third grade until we were sophomores and seniors in high school. That kind of dissipated, and we started The Lemon Twigs.
On The Lemon Twigs’ sound:
We sound closer now to how we sounded when we were in elementary school than any other time. We went through a bunch of different phases throughout middle school and high school, and then when we started The Lemon Twigs, we kind of came back to what we had always loved—classic pop like The Beatles, The Beach Boys and The Who.
On the differences between him and Brian:
On Do Hollywood, we wrote completely separately. Now, it’s definitely not as possessive as it used to be. But the live shows really are split down the middle—his stuff is more intricate live, because I think it’s important to have a fun show, for my half of the set, I like us to play a lot of rock songs. We might have had more obvious differences when we were writing the record, but we are evolving together and our sound is evolving together, and our songwriting, too.
On personal style:
I’m definitely very conscious of what I wear and how we look. I think a lot about my aesthetic decisions, but none of it is based on, ‘This has to be really loud,’ or that I need attention. I just like how certain things look and that’s what I like to wear—I usually get really into the style of whoever’s music I’m listening to. When we did the album, it was very obviously me dressed up in more girly stuff, and Brian looking handsome in nice colors and blazers. Accessories, and little things like that, I try to make his and my looks personalized so we don’t look exactly like each other.
On the band’s evolution:
We’ve been writing this whole time and evolving. But our songwriting is just much more focused now. Right after the record, I got into a very heavy rock ‘n’ roll thing. At that period, if we had time, I would’ve made a heavy rock record. But now, it’s evolved into a much softer, power-pop thing. We’re always changing, and for me, it happens very rapidly—if I had the time, I could write an album that would be completely different than what I would’ve written even two months ago. I don’t know how good it would be, but that’s how quickly my interest in a particular sound changes.