Check out this great interview and gorgeous photoshoot with Aly & AJ for Schön! Magazine.
Sister duo Alyson and Amanda Michalka, best known by their on-stage moniker Aly & AJ, erupted into the music scene 14 years ago with their debut studio album, Into the Rush — and have been constantly providing us with bops since then.
As the OG double-double-threat, both Aly and AJ have had a longstanding acting careers in Hollywood with credits ranging from Disney Channel’s Phil of the Future to Six Feet Under, Two and a Half Men, iZombie, Steven Universe and even Netflix’s animated queer hit She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. But, with their Disney days long behind them, the pair has patently blossomed into confident women and their highly-anticipated new EP, Sanctuary, is the perfect testament to that.
The EP’s first offering, “Church,” already heralded a new era for the duo — one that’s superbly mature, sublimely upraised, and subduedly fervent — and the second, “Don’t Go Changing,” only reinforced that. With Sanctuary finally dropping today and the duo currently immersed in their headlining tour across the U.S. — that will shortly also be touching European soil —, we catch up with the sisters to talk about their past, future, their influences and finding sanctuary.
First of all, happy belated birthday to you both! I’ve been following you guys since your Disney and Into the Rush days so it’s only fair to ask: having stepped into the industry at such a young age, how do you feel you’ve matured both professionally and personally?
Both: Thank you! Hopefully by a lot! It’s crazy to think it’s been 20 years since we started in this industry. We feel like we’ve never been surer of who we are and what communities we want to find a way to support. This applies to our musical taste, our political beliefs, our skin care routine! We feel very fulfilled artistically right now, more so than ever before.
When did you know it was time to trade 78violet to Aly and AJ again? Do you regret the decision to ever change your name or do you feel it was part of finding yourselves?
Both: It was a necessary experience for us to go through as artists but I’m glad we’ve returned to recording under our names. It helps people find the records, even if some people dismiss the work before they hear it because they associate it with our teenage records. Although we’re still proud of those albums and think they’ve aged fairly well. We will always have very fond memories of making that music and it forms part of our growth as songwriters. Some of what we wrote has found new life among the very devoted fans. One of the songs forms a key scene in a film we made called Weepah Way for Now. We’re hoping our new songs will please old fans and gain us new ones. 78Violet may become something long term that fans can always unite around.
You came back after a ten-year hiatus. Music being such a big part of your life growing up, how did it feel to not work on music over that period of time? Was there an exact moment you realised you wanted to come back?
Aly: We did a lot of co-writing during that time with our dear friend and surrogate brother Mikey Einziger (of Incubus) which kept us in touch with the feeling of writing and being in a studio. Ultimately we would shy away from releasing anything because we were either too precious about it or just unsure how we would support the release. Mikey kept encouraging us along the way to get back out on the road, which AJ and I always missed but didn’t want to admit to ourselves. My husband was actually a huge part in us coming back to music. He saw how passionate we were about it still and that we really just needed to commit. We chose to seek guidance from Mike Elizondo who was a past collaborator on an unreleased record of ours. He’s wildly talented and his work speaks for itself. He set us up with two co-writers we just clicked with. We wrote all of Ten Years with the two of them and that started it all. Continue reading