It’s 1 a.m. on a Monday and I’m logging onto a Zoom call. Would I normally agree to do this? Heck no. Am I willing to do it for Australia’s most iconic twins, The Veronicas? Hell yes! It’s 10 a.m. Down Under for Lisa and Jessica Origliasso, and I’m immediately greeted with a lot of love and warmth.
If you were a millennial kid who went through a punky, emo phase, then it’s very likely that The Veronicas played a huge part in your adolescent years. While many may wonder what happened to a lot of the musicians from that era, the Queensland-born duo have remained relevant and proven they are no flash in the pan. With five consecutive top 10 albums in their home country and a large loyal cult following, The Veronicas have stayed in top form.
After making listeners wait six years for another studio album, The Veronicas are wasting no time and have released two LPs in the space of a month — Godzilla and Human. So much has changed in the industry since they made their debut, but one thing that remains is their ability to evolve and grow without simply banking on nostalgia.
During my chat with Lisa and Jessica, they opened up about the creative process behind their new albums, what they have planned next, and what it was like touring after so long.
Congratulations on the release of both of your albums! Other than stating the obvious — why not! — what made you want to release two albums so close together?
Jessica: Essentially, me and Lisa make records quite old school. When we make a record we do a whole bunch of writing. We’ll write 70 to 100 songs and then from there, we’ll curate our favorite 14 that tell a story. We still make records like that today and when we were putting together this fourth album, we realized we had two very distinct themes and two very big stories to tell, and two perspectives that we’ve created from in the last couple of years. Godzilla is the larger-than-life alter-ego version of The Veronicas and Human was more about our vulnerable storytelling, behind the music and the big characters of The Veronicas. We had so much music and we were like, you know what, at this point, we’ve made our fans wait so long, let’s release two albums within a month. We just really wanted to solidify something great for our fans. This story, the duality really had to be told at this point in our careers.
Some of the albums was created during the pandemic. How was that this time around?
Jessica: We were able to finish so much of the music during that time. It was almost like the excuse we needed to be able to just tie up all the loose ends. We’ve been songwriting for 20 years; we can pretty much create anywhere. We could probably write a song on an airport floor if we had to.
Lisa: We probably have!
Jessica: We probably have! We definitely have! I know we have! We’ve spent many times overnight in airports, so it’s definitely happened. With COVID and lockdown, we felt ultra inspired because there was nowhere else to be. It’s nice to only have one focus because our minds are usually in 20 different places doing so many things. We had the chance to sit and create if we want to and so we did.
The songs on Godzilla sound very ’80s-inspired. Would you agree with that?
Jessica and Lisa: Definitely!
Jessica: We were inspired by a few influences there, Stranger Things being one of them. If you listen back to our second record, we’ve always been influenced by electronic ’80s elements, the organic elements of that time and bringing it into the now with the lyrics and concept. We grew up on musical theater and rock ‘n’ roll, which is incredibly expressive. We always say these two albums are very feelings-driven and that ’80s stuff is so moody, when you get the right vibes down, it’s quite hypnotic, so we had a lot of fun creating that.
“In It to Win It” is so cheerleader, very “Hey Mickey.” I’m waiting for it to feature in an upcoming chick-flick movie.
Lisa: I love that! That one is very anthemic. The collection of songs from Godzilla were actually written some time ago; we finished them more recently so they’ve had quite the journey with us. They’ve stayed with us for some time and that’s the beautiful thing about music, it’s so easy to move on from songs once you’ve written them. We say it’s the process itself that is so satisfying, the creation and conception of the songs. If they stay with you and stick with you, especially over a long time, I guess that’s the beauty of music, it can transcend.
The songs on Human are rawer lyrically, was that more of a challenge?
Jessica: What we tend to find is that we write from two perspectives and we don’t really choose what perspective we’re writing from. It’s all of our stories, sometimes we step into the character version of ourselves, sometimes we’re an armor, it’s almost what you want people to see and hear versus taking that armor off and seeing what comes.
Human features quite a few collaborations. How did you go about choosing who to feature on what track?
Jessica: We always want our collaborations to be organic, so whereas a lot of collaborations happen via political agenda. For us, it’s just other artists that we’re fans of or writing with at the time. We were writing with Wrabel in Los Angeles at the time, who is just incredible and he was putting down his verse idea and we were like, you know what, you need to be on this track.
Two other artists, FR33SOL and Lavva, we were just fans of. We had never met them, they were in Philly and we just started an online friendship, being fans of each other. They have such a beautiful relationship to music and to each other and we felt like their story on our song would be the perfect fit. You’ve gotta feel that stuff out and do what feels most authentic to you. Then there were some Aussie artists who we’re friends with, Allday and Muki, who are independent and up-and-coming artists. We love to give platforms to up-and-coming artists a lot because there is something magic that happens in that space when you haven’t blown up yet. When we need inspiration, we like to work with people who are on the up-and-coming train.
If you had to describe each of the albums in three words what would they be?
Jessica: Godzilla would be dynamic, multi-dimensional, and…
Lisa: Human would be multifaceted, raw, and emo.
What are hoping listeners will take away from the album after they’ve listened to it?
Jessica: I think it’s duality and that as human beings, we have the capacity to be the larger-than-life versions of ourselves. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, it doesn’t about your beliefs, your skin color, your sexuality, your gender identity, we’re all human and we have all the ability to have this duality inside us, whatever that looks like. For us, we just want people to feel inspired and empowered by embracing all parts of themselves and loving themselves through the good and hard times.
If you had to pick your favorite songs from the albums, which ones would you choose?
Jessica: From Godzilla it would be “Supernatural Girl,” “Silent,” and “Stealing Cars.”
Lisa: Mine would be “Stealing Cars,” “Supernatural Girl,” and “Godzilla.”
Jessica: For Human, ooh, that’s tough. “Movie Star,” “LA,” and “Human.”
Lisa: Ooh! Really chichi?! (laughs) I think I’m going to say, “Without You,” “Jealous,” and “Human.”
How was being able to tour the new music so soon after it was released?
Jessica: The live show and being able to be in the room with people again after such a difficult year and a half is the most incredible feeling. Being to tour these albums is just magic, being able to sing those songs for the first time is indescribable. Being able to encapsulate that emotion in person is such a blessing.
Has the streaming era impacted your creative process in any way?
Jessica: We don’t really consider it too much. I’m gonna be completely honest with you, for Australian artists to compete with international artists on streaming with the way the Australian labels here are set up versus international, it’s virtually impossible. Because of that, it’s sad that Australian artists have a different time charting now. That being said, it has put more focus on the songs. For us, it always comes back to the fact that that we love the creation of music. It’s so different now, there can be artists with a top 5 single in America and not have ever played a show. When we started out, we had already played about 200 shows before we ever got signed.
One unfortunate thing about streaming is that albums aren’t valued like they used to be.
Jessica: We were talking about this the other day. An album cycle used to be a year, now you get 12 hours. It’s so fast-paced these days. Now we’re more focused on instant gratification instead of substance. That’s why you’re seeing kids who are literally imitating icons with a watered-down version doing better than the icons themselves. It’s pretty wild, but that’s the world we’re coming into. You’ve either got to embrace it or you get a bit bitter about it. In 10 years time, people will have to slow down. They’re nostalgic right now for what was and that’s why you’re seeing so much imitation, you’re not really seeing a lot of innovation, I’m going to be completely honest. Eventually, that’s going to come back around we’re hopefully going to see innovation in a big way.
What’s next for this era? Are there going to be more visuals?
Jessica: We definitely have more plans for some visuals for both the records to come out. We’ve got some big projects in line for The Veronicas moving forward and some other stuff that’s going to see us back in the United States as well. The thing about Lisa and I is, once we create something, we move on to the next. We don’t dwell too long, once it’s out, it’s out.
Lisa: The things to come are going to see us more Stateside.
It’s funny you say you move on to the next thing. Does that mean there won’t be a fourth video for “4ever?”
Lisa: Ha! Let’s hope not!
You have an upcoming documentary coming out. What can you tell fans about it?
Jessica: We have an upcoming documentary that we’re starting work on. It won’t be out until another couple of years.
Lisa: We’re really excited about that. It’s going to be the 20th anniversary of The Veronicas in three and a half years, it’s kind of a big one for us.
Is there anything left you would like to achieve by the end of the year?
Lisa: Honestly, the tour and two albums were our goals for this year. We’re coming back to the States in November for some stuff as well. Really, it’s just to be happy and be able to travel more. For us, it always comes back to songwriting.