Photos: Francesca Allen
Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth have just started their second year together at music college in Norwich, but something very different is going on in their lives.
The childhood friends, often mistaken for siblings, have this year released their debut album as Let’s Eat Grandma, I, Gemini, and gained a host of new admirers along the way. Everything from the band name, lifted from a textbook example for using correct grammar, to the song titles, which range from ‘Eat Shiitake Mushrooms’ to ‘Sax In The City’, they’re as unique as they come, and far more than simply their age. The video for the latter, released last month, even saw the pair poke fun at the connotations surrounding their ages, as Walton and Hollingworth wander through industrial streets and play around in a ball pit, all while dressed as babies.
The pair are speaking a week after they began a new production module at college, and a fortnight before they head stateside for two shows in New York and a further two in Montreal. “We’re just taking it a week at a time at the moment,” Rosa explains, with a full UK tour also stretching in front of the band, following a flurry of festival performances over the summer.
“…you just do it because it’s fun, and for the sake of it, and I think that’s how we started doing music”
Though they’ve played fairly regularly in Norwich and London, it’ll be the band’s first time in a whole host of UK cities, stopping for a cosy show at The Old Bookshop on 24th October. Bristol were briefly treated to a performance from the duo earlier this year, after an acclaimed in-store at Rise. “Let’s just see what weird legal disputes we come across this time…” Jenny comments, with enthusiasm clearly bursting from the pai. They’re a band with the world undoubtedly at their feet, and willing to lap every single bit up.
Starting the band aged 13, the pair took a significantly different outlook to most when thinking about how to begin as an act. “We never thought that starting a band was a rite of passage, and something we had to do, we just really wanted to make music,” Rosa begins. “We didn’t really have any influences, at least not ones that made us want to start a band. I think we consider it as more of an art form than thinking that we want to be performers.”
“For example, when you’re a kid and you start drawing, you don’t think straight away ‘I want to draw Da Vinci!’, you just do it because it’s fun, and for the sake of it, and I think that’s how we started doing music. It wasn’t us trying to be like a certain band.”
This willingness to cast off any comparisons to their band is part of what gives the band and I, Gemini such an incomparable sound. They’ve described the music as “experimental sludge pop”, and it incorporates all manner of sounds, clatters and yelps – the sound of the band bouncing off the studio walls themselves, heading into the enchanted forest.
“We won’t change anything because of what people believe our band should be”
The basis on which Rosa and Jenny started Let’s Eat Grandma is something they plan to hold onto, even with their rising success. “We started the band as the two of us playing music together and, even when the songs get released and listened to by however many people, they’re still songs made by the two of us – and the next songs will be the same. Things will always be ours.”
“I think there are things to do with being in a band that can be affected by greater success, but the actual core of it is still the same, and will always be the same.” You wouldn’t bet against them being right.
The band’s age – Jenny is 17, and Rosa 16 – is often the first talking point regarding Let’s Eat Grandma, but not something the pair are letting affect their music, which is being made as naturally as possible. “When we started, we were too young to notice if people had preconceptions of us because of our age,” Jenny states. “But we won’t change anything because of what people believe our band should be.”
A second year of college awaits Let’s Eat Grandma, with the trip across the Atlantic and extensive UK tour in the middle, and after that, the future’s wide open for Jenny and Rosa. “We’re going to finish college and then we think we’re going to concentrate on the music. We might go to University later on, but we’ll just see what happens. We’re taking it week by week.”
Let’s Eat Grandma play the Old Bookshop on 24th October. Their debut album I, Gemini is out now via Transgressive. Check out ‘Sax in the City’ below.