Aly + AJ Usher In A New Era With ‘Ten Years’

November 26, 2017

 I want to talk about the video for “Take Me”—the visual was equal parts eerie and aesthetically pleasing and made me feel like I was watching a scene in a strange movie. Were there any films that inspired the visual?

Aly: Eighties horror films across the board definitely played a lot into the concept. Funny enough, it was a concept that I’d kind of come up with, just really loosely, and then was kind of ironed out with the director of the video, Alex Ross Perry, who we were really excited about having direct this just because we were fans of his work as a filmmaker. And we were just really proud that we could make this video on 60mm—that was a big moment for us—because all of our past videos have been digital, and the fact that we were actually able to shoot on film for this was very much a shift from old Aly + AJ visuals. I think we’ll stay and continue on that pattern; we think all of our videos now from here on will be done on film.

What musicians inspire you for this EP?
AJ: A lot of the inspiration was kind-of old ’80s pop. There were some current artists that for sure inspired the sound, too, but I would say people like Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins influenced us. I think there’s definitely a Genesis-type inspiration that Aly and I were going for. Current artists like St. Lucia, Chvrches, Tame Impala, have definitely been influences for this new sound as well.
Aly: Duran Duran and Robert Palmer, too. Our sound is kind of in those worlds more than current music. Not that we don’t listen to current music just to enjoy—we completely do. But when it comes to getting inspired, we kind of like to go back to that music. I think it’s also—I don’t know—I think it’s somehow better. If you start to pull from a current artist, it feels like you’re kind of copying in a way, whereas some of this older music has been something that so many artists have drawn inspiration from, that it feels like you’re making something old kind of new again.

Your latest single, “I Know,” was an ode to friendship after seeing loved ones come together for an acquaintance after he lost his battle with cancer. What other themes did you explore lyrically in the EP?
Aly: I think AJ and I didn’t want to make an EP that was just relationship-based, and so having a song about friendship was really important to us. We also wanted to have a song on there about fears of your partner cheating on you as well. That was important, as well, because I think so many people have dealt with that terrible, paralyzing fear of, “Wait, am I not the only one?” And then, we also felt that it was important to a have a song on there about a relationship that you’re just not able to make work anymore, no matter how hard you’ve tried. [The song] was obviously about a long-distance relationship, but I think it can be about not just a long-distance relationship, but the distance that you start to feel in a relationship when things just aren’t going right. So they definitely touch on relationship themes, but they’re all kind of different, whether it’s negative or positive.

The EP to me is such a short but sweet taste into your new sound—I see it as the appetizer to the full course meal; what will the full course meal looks like? Are you two planning to release more singles? Music videos? A tour?
Aly: We plan on doing a music video for “I Know,” and then touring is obviously a huge goal for us, that’s kind of the ultimate. But I think this whole record will touch on, hopefully, even more topics than what we’ve just talked about on the EP. Obviously, I’d love to have a couple songs that I think are talking about the political climate that we’re living in, about it being something that gets people upset or angry. But I think that that’s our job as artists, to be able to speak up for people that don’t have a voice. And if we can use that platform positively, then that’s something good.
AJ: We’re excited for the full course meal.



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