German-Australian twin duo, AMISTAT, are pair that you want to familiarise yourself with, if you don’t know who they are already. Jan and Josef Prasil may have only started playing music professionally when the moved to Australia three years ago but you would never have guessed from the depth and maturity of their debut album ‘Parley’ that likens itself to folk singer songwriters Ben Howard and Damien Rice.
On their album release date, Josef kindly took some time to answer some of the questions we had about their record ‘Parley’, which is out now!
So firstly, tell me a bit about you as a duo. How did you get started in music and what made you decide to make music together?
Jan started playing guitar when he was 10 years old and I started singing along. Later on, I started playing guitar and Jan picked up the piano playing. As we are twins we always used to do everything together – music was one of those things.
Do you think relocating to Australia has impacted your music in anyway?
We haven’t really done much music in Europe to be honest. We started playing music professionally when we got to Australia 3 years ago. As we are writing in English that certainly helped us improve our English and songwrtiting a lot.
What is something that you learnt from busking on the streets that you applied to your album?
It’s important to keep true to your sound and work on your original sound. Over the last couple of years busking, we have changed and defined our sound over and over and have now come to a point with this album where we think we have found our sound and what we want our music to stand for and what we want it to represent.
I noticed you have a “Pozible” account set up to fund to create your music – How do you feel about these crowd-funding sites? Do you think they are critical for up-and-comers in the music industry?
Making a living off music can be very hard at times and money is short. Pozible was definitly a big help in being able to fund this album and get it out there. There are many ways of funding your music I guess, different things work for different people. Crowd funding this debut album felt like the right fit and like a great way to get our fans involved in the making of it.
So let’s talk about your upcoming album – is there an overall concept or idea?
When we decided to record an album the main focus for us was to capture the last couple of years of our journey and what we have been through. We wanted to have a start and finish and tell a story inbetween. Every song that made it onto the album means a lot to us and is a part of our lifes and who we are.
Do you think your closeness as twins makes the song writing process easier or harder?
It has its pros and cons.
We have pretty much the same music taste and understanding of what we want our music to sound like which helps when writing music together.
In saying that it can also be very frustating as we are like “one person” and if we are stuck with a song or have no inspiration for a while than we are both in that position and have to find our way out of it together again.
Is it collaborative process on everything or does one of you write lyrics and the other does melody?
We both write lyrics individually and then sit down together and work on them. Jan comes up with the melody whilst we both work on putting lyric to the melody together. It’s quite a long process to be honest and can drive us crazy at times (laughs)
Having watched your cover of Ben Howard’s ‘Depth Over Distance’, it is clear that he is a major influence for you guys and you can hear that influence throughout the album too… What draws you to that type of music?
We have always been drawn to acoustic music with a lot of depth and meaning. Ben Howard is one of those artist that is a master in capturing an emotion and feeling within a song and is therefore one of our biggest inspirations.
Who are some other people that are huge influences to your record?
Damien Rice is definitly one of the biggest influences. Especially his latest record “My Favourite Faded Fantasy“. His rawness and honesty within songs is something that truely inspires us to be more authentic and true to ourselves and our music.
So you are currently on tour at the moment – many of the songs seem deeply personal. Do you ever get nervous about playing them to a crowd?
As a folk artist, you are wearing your heart on your sleeve and when you step on stage you have to present yourself as real and authentic as possible to truly connect with the audience. In doing that, you are very vulnerable at times and that sometimes makes you feel unfomfortable when you are not in the right headspace.
We’d thought to ask some fun question to wrap up with; so firstly, if you could have written any song in the world, which would it be and why?
Walking in Memphis for sure! We grew up with that song and it was the first song that we ever covered. Marc Cohen, well done:)
Lastly, where do you see your music in 5 years from now?
Wherever our music takes us, wether thats China, America or the Northpole, thats where we will be.
AMISTAT’s debut album ‘Parley’ is out now via MGM