Although Americans might think of the timestamp 2:54 as a reminder to start heading home from the bar, the Brits have come to understand it as the name of a band on the rise. Sisters Collette and Hannah Thurlow first appeared on the scene with a YouTube video of their song “Creeping” a year ago, and now the song finds a proper home at the end of their self-titled debut that is set for release on May 28.
We chatted with lyricist and singer Collette about the duo’s influences, working with her sister every day and the excitement of touring America for the first time.
You took your name from the Melvins’ song “A History of Bad Men.” Were they a big influence on your writing?
Collette Thurlow: We were certainly fans of the Melvins growing up. I mean I love Bullhead and Houdini and stuff like that, but I think the reference to the Melvins is more about moments for Hannah and I. We get obsessed with particular moments in songs. We’ll hear a new track and say to each other, “That bit, that bit!” I guess that’s certainly what it means in terms of the band name.
I guess we have no preconceived notions about how we want the band to sound. Growing up Hannah was really into heavy bands like Metallica, System of a Down, Deftones—stuff like that. I was into everything. The first album I saved up to buy was Pearl Jam. We’re big fans of stuff like Yawning Man and Queens of the Stone Age.
But your sound is so atmospheric and full without being noisy. How would you describe your sound as opposed to what you listen to?
Thurlow: Hannah and I never really analyzed it. Hannah writes the music half…I mean, I guess it’s like any creating anything: You write a song because you’re compelled to write it whether it’s a cathartic experience or just because it needs to come out. I guess it’s hard to intellectualize how we sound.
You mentioned Hannah writes the music. How exactly do the two of you go about writing songs?
Thurlow: Hannah will make a demo track—drum, bass, guitar—and she’ll send it to me and I’ll do the melodies and the lyrics. Then we’ll meet up and structure the song in the same room and it becomes a proper song.
What’s it like working with your sister?
Thurlow: It’s just the best. I couldn’t imagine anything else. We’ve always hung out from a young age. We’ve always been friends. It’s just really the best thing to be able to play music and to tour as sisters.
And how did you both get into playing guitars and singing?
Thurlow: Hannah in her teens taught herself guitar and just messed about for years. She taught me some chords and I messed about. That was kind of the beginning. Just growing up in our house as well. Our family doesn’t play instruments, but there was always music in the house. I think all of those moments just sort of influenced us into it.
How often do you two hang out outside of the band?
Thurlow: We actually live like a few roads apart. But at the moment we’re just always in a van. We’ve seen an awful lot of each other as of late.
Well you’ll be seeing a lot more of each other when you tour America in June. Will this be your first time in the States?
Thurlow: We’ve been a couple of times for a really small set of shows. We played New York for a couple of shows just before Christmas and we played a couple of shows in New York, South By Southwest, LA and San Francisco last time. This time is much longer and our first proper tour. It’s incredibly exciting for us. It’s the unknown and I think for a band playing in America just has so much meaning.
Is there a city you’re looking forward to playing?
Thurlow: All of them. I haven’t been to most of them so it’s a huge adventure.
It looks like you’re playing some amazing venues and I’m sure you’ve played some great ones in England. How has touring and playing back home been for you in the past year?
Thurlow: It’s something that is constantly evolving. We’re learning through experience and building confidence. It’s all very gradual and necessary. It’s been an incredible year. We’re less shy than we were at the beginning. We love playing live and love being on the road. Life on the road and touring just appeals to us.
Paste: Even though you love being on the road, is there any point in the foreseeable future that you see yourselves taking a break to write, or will you just keep pushing forward and doing as much as possible?
Thurlow: We’ll be doing the summer festivals over here. It’s the first time we’ll be properly doing festivals. It’s exciting to be able to see so many bands play and to play yourself on those stages. We’re always writing, even on the road. It’s not preferable, but it is possible. I don’t think so. This is all just too exciting and I’m happy to just keep going with the flow.
And the flow leads towards the release of your debut album, which ends with the song “Creeping.” The new single was also just made available for in America. What does that song mean to the band?
Thurlow: It’s also going to be released in June as well [as a 7” with an unreleased track called “The March”]. It was the first song we wrote. It’s when we first really realized 2:54’s potential. It was sort of the ignition point of the whole band a couple of years ago. Hannah and I wrote it and finished it in my bedroom and it was the first time we thought we thought this could be something. So it has a particular sentimental value to us as well.
Stream 2:54’s single “Creeping” and check out their American tour dates below:
9 – Brooklyn, N.Y. @ Knitting Factory
10 – Washington, D.C. @ Rocknroll Hotel
11 – New York, N.Y. @ Mercury Lounge
13 – Boston, Mass. @ TT The Bears
14 – Montreal, Quebec @ Divan Orange
15 – Toronto, Ont. @ NXNE/Lee’s Palace
17 – Chicago, Ill. @ Empty Bottle
18 – Minneapolis, Minn. @ Triple Rock
21 – Seattle, Wash. @ The Crocodile
22 – Portland, Ore. @ Doug Fir Lounge
23 – Vancouver, B.C. @ Biltmore
25 – San Francisco, Calif. @ Independent
26 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ Troubadour
27 – San Diego, Calif @ Casbah