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Monday, July 05, 2010 

GoGirls Interview with Karen and Amy Jones

by Madalyn Sklar

What drives your music? When did you first know you had to do this thing called music or bust?

[Karen] We’ve both been involved in music since we can remember – we were in band and choir and did the whole drama club thing. We’re 6 years apart though, so Amy always did her own thing and I did mine. We both went to college for music and started playing guitar and writing songs there. I was in a few bands (one was called Dirtnugget – how awesome is that?) and totally dug it, but we never really considered becoming professional, performing musicians until after college, when we moved home and started playing and writing together in 2006.

[Amy] When Karen and I first started playing together, it was an interesting experience because we have two distinct writing styles. We actually listen to a lot of the same music, but when it comes to songwriting, we pull inspiration from very different places. That’s actually become a driving force for us, because we have a lot of diversity in our sound. Karen tends to write more radio-friendly songs while I like to throw in weird chord progressions and more abstract melodic lines. So it’s the best of both worlds. In the end though, it’s really all about the harmonies and vocals.

Describe your music style and name three musicians you have been inspired by and why.

[Amy] We hate to pigeon-hole ourselves into any one genre, because I think we have a unique sound that comes from the combination of our melodies, harmonies and songwriting styles.

[Karen] The best way to describe our sound is "harmony-driven acoustic rock." Our original songs definitely lean toward the mellow side of rock, but we are raging rocker chicks at heart.

Three Inspirations and Why:
Tori Amos – she doesn’t strive to write the perfect song, she just writes and performs from her gut and doesn’t give a sh*t what anybody else thinks about it.
Alice In Chains – the harmonies are crazy good and the songs simply rock (with Layne and after Layne).
A Perfect Circle –the way Maynard constructs his melodies and fits the lyrics in is mind-blowing.

What’s your ideal venue atmosphere?

[Karen] We love outdoor festivals and that kind of thing. You don’t have to worry about bringing 30 friends to meet a quota – hate that!

[Amy] We like any place where there are appreciative, music-loving people.

Describe how your music career has evolved since you first started performing.

[Karen] When we started performing together in 2006, we were playing open mics and had one or two shows scheduled the entire year. Which was fine, because we weren’t ready. The next year, we increased our booking to something like 30 gigs and in 2008 and 2009, we played over 200 shows and really started to increase our fan base and improve our live show.

[Amy] Our goal in the coming year is to concentrate on booking more quality venues and plan our first regional tour in the Northeast.

How would you describe the music scene in your area?

[Amy] It’s decent. We live 4 blocks away from where Musikfest is held, which is one of the largest annual music festivals in the country. Now if only we could get booked there…

[Karen] There’s a healthy amount of interest in the arts in general in eastern Pennsylvania. And we’re an hour from Philadelphia and New York City, so there are plenty of places to play.

What was the inspiration for your latest release?

[Karen] We released our debut album, Daphne in Winter, in July 2009. It’s a collection of 8 original songs and is a good introduction to our sound. It started off as an acoustic project, but once we got into the studio, we decided to add more instrumentation to the tracks. It’s awesome to hear our songs with bass and drums!

[Amy] The inspiration for the album title came from a Greek myth about a nymph who is pursued by Apollo. In order to escape him, she turns herself into a tree. I heard this story and got this picture in my mind of this lonely tree on a winter landscape being buried by snow and it made me sad. A lot of our songs deal with broken relationships and emotions, and on some level we just identified with Daphne, in winter.

What do you think is number one for a musician to think about before preparing for a CD project and do you have any tips on saving time in the studio?

The number one most important thing in our opinion is to know how you want your album or song to sound, and if you don’t have the experience or knowledge to create that sound, do some research and find a producer who will help you get there. Number two would be time management. We were naïve and thought we would just go in and start recording and come out with a radio-ready album in a few sessions. We quickly learned that it doesn’t quite work that way and wasted a lot of time figuring it out in the studio. The best advice we can give is to outline what you want to accomplish in advance, know which songs you want to record (and have a few backups just in case), and know those songs backwards and forwards.

What makes or breaks a musician just starting out in your opinion? What advice would you offer up and coming artists that get discouraged other than don’t give up?

It’s easy to get discouraged or lose motivation – this business is built around constant rejection. Just do what you do, do it well and don’t worry about what the band over there is doing.

Tell us something you want the music world to know about you.

We have strong vocals and interesting harmonies and can back up what we do in the studio in our live shows.

What have you gotten out of being a member of the GoGirls community?

We’ve been GoGirls Elite members since 2007. We were fortunate to be chosen for a spot on their 2008 compilation CD and have received some good performance opportunities through them. Madalyn really seems to care about her members and stays current on the latest trends and offers great social networking tips!

Learn more about Karen and Amy Jones at:
Official website: http://www.karenandamyrock.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/karenandamyrock
Twitter: www.twitter.com/karenandamyrock

Copyright © 2010 Madalyn Sklar/GoGirlsMusic.com

Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach & consultant, blogger, social networks expert and author. She has spent over 14 years helping independent musicians and music business professionals achieve greater success in the biz. Her motto is: working smarter not harder. She also founded GoGirlsMusic.com, the oldest + largest online community of indie women musicians.

You can reach Madalyn at MadalynSklar.com or madalynsklar AT gmail.com



    Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach & consultant, blogger, social networks expert and author. She has spent over 15 years helping independent musicians and music business professionals achieve greater success. Her motto is: working smarter not harder. She also founded GoGirlsMusic.com, the oldest + largest online community of indie women musicians.

    Madalyn's Sites:
    * GoGirlsMusic.com
    * Social Networks for Musicians
    contact: madalynsklar(at)gmail.com


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