Talking To The Verdi Grls

By Rachel Davies
The Verdi Grls are a sister music duo from Connecticut. Their music has been pulling me through this school year; I’m particularly obsessed with the song “Heartbreak Hour”. Plus, their Twitter presence is amazing. I talked to Catherine about the internet, her influences, and how much she has changed since her teen years. You can find them on Soundcloud here, and on Twitter here.

Rachel: Did you take music lessons as a child?

Catherine: Yeah, we both took music lessons. We actually attended a musical pre-school, I was three, Anna was four, which wasn’t normal pre-school we just sang songs about colors and they attempted to teach us how to read music for 2 or 3 hrs once or twice a week, at that time Anna was learning how to play piano and violin. We never went to normal pre-school, which I blame most of my social awkwardness on. Then at 4 I took classical guitar lessons which I was terrible at, probably because I was 4. Then I quit guitar at 5 because I wanted to play cello. So that’s when I started cello lessons. We took lessons until we went to college, but we still continued to play violin and cello in orchestra.

R: Did you always know you want to be a musician?

C: Not at all actually. I wanted to be a plastic surgeon since I was 10, and all through high school I was working towards med-school. I would write songs in secret on the guitar and flush the lyrics down the toilet because they were so embarrassing. Not until college when we joined a band with some guys that I thought it could actually be a possibility. Then I got obsessed with music and decided plastic surgery was not for me.

R: Do you think the internet has influenced your work or you? (if so, how?) Do you think it is a positive influence?

C: I love the internet. Ever since I was 8 and we first got the internet at our house. It’s been an amazing tool for exploring amazing music and exposing other people to our music. We actually decided to create electronic music because of all of the music we were listening to from Gorilla Vs Bear and other music blogs. Also it’s really weird but twitter has influenced our music a ton because it’s a great place to vent feelings and then those tweets, more often than not.


R: What musicians do you look up to or admire?

C: Well, the first band I was ever obsessed with was The Smiths. Morrissey’s lyrics spoke to my young sad heart. When you are young and sad, and everyone looks like they are enjoying life so much more than you are it’s comforting to know that someone is feeling the way you are feeling. In the end we decided we wanted our music to be the same, not intended for a dance club or wherever people listen to happy meaningless music (not that happiness is meaningless). We also admire artists who write their own songs, without high priced writers, which if you look up any artist’s album, mostly indie pop acts similar to ours, is hard to find. Grimes, as overrated as people say she is, is amazing. Chvrches, because they also write everything themselves and know what we’re doing. Also Lauren Mayberry is disgustingly educated, and we are both in love with school, Anna wants to eventually get a masters, and I am going back to college to finish and get me some sick degrees. Also, it amazes me that people can say these artists are overrated, or overhyped because I don’t think overhyping people who are talented as opposed to under some label that buys them songwriters and tries to sell them as the same things as these amazing artists. So as a bitter girl who only has an equally inexperienced sister to work with (which is actually the best things ever) I want to hype them up as much as possible.

R: Do you have a particular fictional character that you idolize?

Catherine: Not in particular, I used to think I was like Elizabeth Bennet in high school, but eh. Maybe Cartman from South Park.


R: What was your favourite television show as a teen? Band?

C: This is hard. Back in the day we didn’t have Netflix or HBO, Showtime and all that crap, so we had to watch what was on the first 60 channels. So we watched Veronica Mars religiously, and watched Gossip Girl for two seasons until they started looking at colleges and I was like, “Hell to the no, all they do is drugs and go out and have sex and I’m here in my room studying for AP bio and AP calc and they’re accepted to Harvard and Dartmouth. Fuck this.” I loved Jenny Humphrey she was my fashion inspiration. Music wise I was obsessed with Ra Ra Riot, Vampire Weekend, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Smiths, Postal Service, Sufjan Stevens, Depeche Mode, Of Montreal, I’m From Barcelona, Beirut, Singur Ros, The Strokes. It’s funny though because I would spend a lot of time in school listening to music on my ipod mini and people thought I was listening to classical music because they were convinced I was some kind of quiet depressed genius. Assholes.

R: Have your interests changed a lot since you were a teenager or do you still admire the same kinds of music and television?

C: I still love those bands though most of their new stuff blows. Maybe I’m nostalgic for high school (probs not because I never even went to my high school graduation) or maybe their new stuff actually sucks. TV wise I discovered Netflix, so now I watch a ton of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (this past month I watched it through twice), The X-Files, Twin Peaks, and now as I type this interview I’m watching Dexter. The movies are more of the same because my dad has an insanely awesome taste in movie for a dad, besides the spaghetti westerns he likes so much. He bought me The Life Aquatic when I was 12 and I was hooked on Wes Anderson films, but of course as I got older I watched more movies and developed a more mature taste.

R: How would you describe your music?

C:A bit of sadness, a bit of pop, some strings, a little bit of twin peaks, a whole lot of resentment, and some synthesizers. Hence what we named the genre, “Sad Grl Electro Chamber Pop”

R: Have you done solo projects and if so how do they differ from when you’re working together?

C: Anna had a jazz band in high school that i wasn’t a part of, but besides that we’ve never worked alone on music. Even when we were in another band we still worked together. Sometimes we write songs separately, and it’s so different because there’s no one telling you what you’re doing is lame or sucks. I feel like we do need that system of checks and balances, even though we’re brutally honest, borderline “evil” to each other when working. But unlike working with someone who is not your sister, as fast as we get angry at each other we make up and make music we can both be proud of.

R: What’s your favourite hobby?

Catherine: I like eating and sleeping, netflixing and tweeting. I want to lie and say I can sew, but all I do is buy things to sew and never finish.

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