Falls Shows Us How To Write Love Songs With (& About) Your Ex
Perhaps you’ve heard that the best love songs are written when musicians have had their heart broken. But have you ever thought about what it would be like to hear what the songs would sound like if we could hear them while they fell in love, were happy in love, and then broken up?
That’s exactly what the music of indie-folk duo Falls is like, since they’ve managed to be in a relationship while writing songs together, and are still writing songs together now that they have broken up.
You’ll probably recognize their song “Hey” as soon as you hear it — it has over 2.5 million spins on Spotify. Check out our Q&A with Melinda Kirwin from Falls below!
Your bio says that you met while both attending a music conservatory school. Tell me about the moment that you decided to officially become a band?
It’s kind of funny, but we never actually decided to become a band… it kind of happened by accident. We lived together in a big shared house with a bunch of other musicians, and Simon would be working on something and get stuck, and I’d chime in from the kitchen with an idea, and before long we found we had a bunch of songs that were a little bit of both of us…
Is it true that neither of you ever sang until you decided to be in this band?
Yes! It’s totally true. We were both instrumentalists, not singers. And when we were trying to figure out who should sing in the band, a friend who’d heard our demos suggested we do it. I am so glad that he did as we wouldn’t be here if he hadn’t! I think playing the Hollywood every week was the best thing we could have ever done as it helped us figure out what we were doing and got us used to the idea of singing in front of an audience. But I still get nervous before every show! It is incredibly hard to wear our hearts so openly on our sleeve, but I think it’s that kind of vulnerability that makes good songs. And I think audiences really respect and connect with that kind of palpable honesty.
What are some of your influences? If you were to tell someone about your music that hasn’t heard it — how would you want it described?
Describing your own music is something I think a lot of musicians struggle with, but I guess we hope we’re kind of Fleetwood Mac meets Simon and Garfunkel. The biggest influences on this record though would have to be Beck and Father John Misty.
Let’s talk about OMAHA. Is this a concept album in any way?
Before we went into the studio, we’d spent the previous 18 months on the road in the US touring and writing. When it came time to put the songs together for the album it became clear just how much our time on the road had influenced us and our songs, and that’s when the name came. We called the album OMAHA as it was the last stop on what had been an incredible journey across America, and “Nebraska” was already taken!
Your bio’s log line claims you were together and wrote songs. And then broke up and wrote songs. Do you think you write better songs while you are together or fighting or broken up, etc?
I think the way we write together just keeps getting better… Now that we are no longer a couple, the power dynamic has shifted and we are now on more equal terms. And that makes us better as neither one of us holds anything back.
Do you think it’s easier to be an artist in the day and age of digital music and Spotify?
That is a really good question… I think in some ways it feels harder than ever for artists in this digital era. Because it is so easy for artists to upload their tunes, I think there is so much more music out there. So it can be difficult for new bands to find a way to make themselves heard. That being said, we are constantly surprised by the number of fans who initially found us online. We’ve just finished playing a pretty extensive tour opening for a well known band – so most of their audience had never heard of us before – and heaps of people were coming up to us after the show saying “I didn’t know who you guys were but then I recognized one of your songs and realized it was in my favorite Spotify playlist!” So we totally love Spotify right now!
What’s next for you?
We’ve always got more shows on the horizon, but I think what we are most excited about right now is writing new songs! The last show of the tour was here in LA, so we’ve decided to stop here for a little while and write and hang and record a bit.
Photo by Mallory Turner at Hotel Cafe — Los Angeles, CA