Sisters Coco & Holly blend simple-yet-oh-so-catchy melodies with striking harmonies and lyrics. The band got started in Maidstone, Kent in the mid-2000s but its roots and branches can also be traced to the places the girls grew up in and later lived: Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong, Philippines Sri Lanka and now east London.
Xylaroo found its feet in the Medway music scene doing gigs and open mics as a two-piece. The band soon caught the eyes of independent label Sunday Best records. They were signed by Sunday Best in 2015 and released their debut album “Sweetooth” in 2016.
The band still plays as a two piece arrangement but more often than not the sisters are now accompanied by guitarist Joe Singleton. For some performances the ensemble can swell to a five-piece arrangement with added drums and bass.
The band latest release is a single which shared the same name as their debut album, “Sweetooth”.
We got a chance to speak Holly, here is what she had to say when we got a chance to ask her some questions.
Who were your musical influences growing up?
“Growing up my sister/band-mate (Coco Chant) and I (Holly Chant) had a lot of influences that overlapped. Lots of indie bands and artists like Rilo Kiley, The Pixies, Elliot Smith, Neutral Milk Hotel and Daniel Johnston to name a few.
We also listened to late 90s and early 2000s pop-classics like Britney Spears, Maria Carey, Whitney Houston, Linkin Park, Eminem – the list could go on and on.
The end of the 90s and turn of the millennium was a tragic, mish-mash of music and fashion, full of nostalgia.
In my teens I also started delving into older music, after discovering Limewire, starting with my parents albums, Tracy Chapman, No Doubt ect.
I explored 90s rock and the Riot Grrrl movement, fell in love with the 70s and 60s especially artists like Leonard Cohen, The Kinks, Janis Hoplin and country music from the Eagles, Dolly Parton and Linda Rondstadt.
Eventually I made it to really old blues recordings by Memphis Minnie, Cab Calloway and started listening to artists like Nina Simone, Patsy Cline and Edith Piaf.
In our late teens, me and my sister moved to Sri Lanka with our parents and our friends there got us into chill and electronic music like Manu Chao and Empire of the Sun.
I’m so glad to have grown up in a time with so much access to all the world’s songs”.
What has been your best gig?
“Our best gig so far was just before lockdown. We organised our first headline gig in London, played with a full band with amazing support from Miranda Joy and Helena Deans. It was at The Jago in Dalston.
We often play as a support band, and don’t get me wrong it has been amazing touring with people like Frank Turner, Mika, Will Varley and PUP – but it was nice to do a headliner in the city where we live.
The place was filled with friends, family and people who actually paid to come see us. Such a happy memory before the gig industry was put into hibernation”.
Can you tell us a bit about your music?
“Our music is kind of an indie-folk-pop fusion with a little rock or blues sometimes thrown in. Got a new single called Psalms 23, It’s a bit different to previous singles as it was written and recorded during lockdown. I think it shows the direction the band is headed”.
Can you describe your music in 3 words?
“A melting pot”.
What makes your music stand out?
“I think our music is very idiosyncratic, it has its own style. Kind of like how you can spot a Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s song from a mile off.
It’s not to everyone’s liking – we’re a bit of a marmite band – but for those who do like it, it has a certain charm”.
What are your plans for the rest of 2020?
“Later in the year on December 11 we have an EP coming out called Wild Woman which includes 5 songs we recorded with a full band (Keir Adamson on drums, Daniel Johnson on bass and Joe Singleton on lead guitar).
We also plan to continue making music from the comfort of our living room. Our sound is changing and will be much more minimal and folksy in the future”.
If your band had to be remembered for one thing apart from your music what would you want it to be?
“Our after-show parties”.
Do you have any gig’s coming up?
“None at the moment. We have done some virtual gigs, one in Canada even and one with Frank Turner. Perhaps we’ll sort something more tangible for next year, but who knows what the future will bring – just focusing on making it past 2020”.
By Siân Parker