In conversation: Larkin Poe
After their cracking roots rock record of 2014, Kin, the Larkin Poe ladies are back in the UK for their second tour of 2015. Along with headlining a few of their own dates they’re accompanying Elvis Costello on his UK tour. During a break from soundchecking we asked the sisters a few questions.
Please introduce yourself to The Music Fix readers!
Hi! We're two rock'n'roll sisters from Atlanta, GA! Since Rebecca and I are sisters, we wanted to take on a band name that has familial significance to us and Larkin Poe was the name of our greatgreatgreatgreat grandfather on our dad's side of the family. Larkin Poe was also was a distant cousin of the great poet and storyteller Edgar Allen Poe, a connection we sometimes use as an excuse to allow our songs to stray into darker, morbid territories.
We've always enjoyed experimenting with a lot of different genres of music, but now with Rebecca taking up more electric guitar and me on the dirtier lapsteel, we’ve landed on "roots rock and roll"; its gritty and more impolite without losing our Southern roots.
How have you found the reaction to the tour in the UK?
We’re always blown away by how supportive our fans in the UK are. They come out in droves and are so kind and excited about the music. I think audiences are most struck by our joy and passion onstage. We always have fans come up after shows to say how refreshing it is to witness a group of people strongly connecting and truly enjoying the music and experience they’re making.
We love going on a journey every night and love that our fans can feel that connection with us. There’s a lot of emotional and thematic push and pull in Larkin Poe shows: one moment we’re sister harmonizing a southern gospel song, the next we’re laying down a heavy groove while Megan screams over top with her slide guitar. We do our best to draw people into the experience.
If there was one thing you could get rid of from the process of touring what would it be?
Missing loved ones back home. We get so homesick for the folks we’ve left behind. It’s hard to not see them for months at a time.
What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you get home from touring?
1. Hug our family and friends' necks! 2. Wash the clothes we’ve been wearing for two months straight (maybe even throw them away!) 3. Eat Mexican food. There’s a sad lack of good, legit Mexican food in the UK and Europe. Someone should get on that. 4. Start writing for the next record!
Can you tell us about your festival dates in the summer?
We're excited about our summer festivals. We'll be playing Maverick Festival, Cornbury Music Festival, Bristol Americana Weekend, Sion Sous Les Etoiles (France), Jardines De Viveros (Spain), Real Jardin Botanico Alfonso XIII (Spain), Trollrock Festival (Norway), FEST'n'MIND (France), and Festival Country Rendezvous (France).
What’s your favourite thing about visiting the UK?
We love the unique cultural differences between the UK and the US. We’re so similar yet so difference and it’s fun to continue to discover those differences, especially in language. How can the same word come to mean two totally different things? Can lead to some hilariously awkward moments with our English tour manager and sound engineer (pants, anyone?).
What made you decide to rock things up for 'Kin' as opposed to your softer sound on your EPs?
Our first love was American roots music, but when our third sister decided to move on to other ambitions in 2010, we decided to branch out as songwriters and embrace other genre passions. Our dad was a huge rock 'n roll fan, so we grew up listening to and soaking up the classics: Pink Floyd, the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, the Allman Brothers. Their music couldn't help but seep into ours. We’ve reached a point in our lives where we no longer wish to be so polite, so perfectionist.
Deep in our bones we’re rocker chicks and we’re okay with letting our freak flag fly high and proud. Is there anything that you’ve been listening to that influences the record? Bonnie Raitt; The Allman Brothers; Elvis Costello; The Indigo Girls; Johnny Cash; Ray Charles; Michael Jackson; Richard & Linda Thompson; Jeff Buckley… we could go on for hours. New artists, old artists there is something to be learned and taken from anyone who has ever genuinely wrote, played, or sung a song from their soul. Right now, our biggest musical obsessions are Jack White, Led Zeppelin, and the Arctic Monkeys.
Which song are you most pleased with? And why?
Oh, the answer to that question could be different tomorrow and the day after. We tend to love the most recent. As songwriters we're incredibly impatient and insatiable, raring to go onto the next thing. However, we are very proud of Kin as an album. I personally love ‘Overachiever’; it's such an honest lyric and the way Rebecca sang it on the record really pulls at my heartstrings.
How did you both come to be so rocking on the guitar?
We always wanted to play, nay rock, “like the boys”. In the beginning we noticed - and continue to notice - a surprising gap in the music industry. There are plenty of jawdroppingly awesome women singer/songwriters, but an unfortunate lack of truly rocking lady instrumentalists. I would say we’ve gotten to where we are musically because of our stubbornness. We bucked being pigeonholed by our gender. We endeavor to wail on whatever instrument we pick up. It’s a work in progress!
How was your experience with Terry Wogan?
Terry was so lovely! At our introductory meeting with him he offered us Easter cakes, so I would say our first impression of him was highly, highly favorable. Cake will get you everywhere. He's got such a wicked personality and was so kind and spoke so positively about us... we love him!
Finally, how do you take your coffee?
Hot and in a cup preferably.
Larkin Poe are on tour throughout the UK right now.