To paraphrase Bob Marley, the best thing about music is when it hits you, you feel no pain. Lately, however, most of the music playing on your radio dial (I’m dating myself here but you get it), is empty calories: songs that go down easy, but have little substance. That’s not to say the same can be said off the terrestrial territory. If you look for it, your ears will find quality. It’s all over streaming services – whether it’s songs from an established indie rocker or a rising artist socially gaining fans by the tweet. Somewhere inbetween the two are Larkin Poe, a sister duo out of Atlanta (now residing in Nashville), who in a word, rock.
Rebecca and Megan Lovell are relatively new but sound like they’ve been around forever. Part of what makes them so good is their sound pays homage to heroes of just about every genre: a little soul, a little southern growl, a little rock, all authentic. I caught up with the sisters, whose great-great-great grandfather was a distant cousin of Edgar Allan Poe (hence the name), and talked about their appropriately-titled new album Peach, their evolution since their last record, and, of course, the art that graces their skin.
Talk to me about the process of making this record versus the last. The last one gained you a lot of buzz (a guest spot on Conan, among other things) – how do you go into the studio ignoring that and focusing on just the music?
Rebecca: It is dangerously easy to get overwhelmed by internal/external pressures when you try to make something new and reinvent yourself. I feel like pretty much everyone everywhere can attest to that fact. That said, making ‘Peach’ was the most fun my sister and I have ever had in the studio. It is the first project we’ve self-produced and muscling up to take on that responsibility, and then pushing the album to completion, was hugely empowering for us as artists.
We lost a lot of music greats, and you pay homage on your Instagram page it seems each time out. Did the losses of so many legends between records, influence the album at all?
Megan: Life is short. Music lives forever. Being able to celebrate the memories of Tom Petty, Malcolm Young, Chuck Berry, Gregg Allman, Chris Cornell, Prince, David Bowie, and so many others by listening to the music they made while they were alive on this earth is incredibly powerful. It inspires us to keep pushing. It inspires Rebecca and I to keep making soundwaves.
The album title is obvious but tell me how you ended up there anyway. It had nothing to do with the Presidents of the United States’ single “Peaches” from the 1990s I’m sure.
Rebecca: While “Peaches” by the Presidents of the United States is in fact a dope song… surprise, surprise: we’re from Georgia. Just like the song says, it’s always on our minds. We’ll always be Georgia peaches.”
Since we’re Inked. Tats never leave our heads. Let’s talk about yours. What were your first ones – did you always plan on getting them or were they just done on the fly? Did you ever have any hesitation?
Megan: We actually got our first tattoos while on tour in England. We had a day off and decided to go get inked. It was fairly spur of the moment. I got the A shape of a dobro resonator tattooed on the back of my neck and Rebecca got a star tattooed on the front of each shoulder.
Tell me the significance of each of your tattoos and what they say about you…
Megan: I’m a slide guitarist from now until the day I die, so the dobro resonator on the back of my neck is pretty self-explanatory. I’ve also got the outline of a wolf and the outline of a seal on the insides of my upper arms to pay homage to my family names. Also, Rebecca and I share matching tattoos: we both have our little brother’s birthdate translated into roman numerals. Family always comes first.
Rebecca: I’ve picked up quite a few tattoos. I got hand tattoos a few years back after meeting an 80-year-old retiree from the British Royal Navy. He wound up at one of our shows (a total badass) and had swallows tattooed on each of his hands. He told me that the swallows bring good luck in getting home safely after you’ve been out traveling. We’re constantly traveling and trying to get home, so I felt like I could use a little of that good luck in my life.
I have a traditional heart and dagger in honor of Charles Bukowski’s poem “The Laughing Heart” on my left forearm. On my right forearm, I have a traditional hand holding the death tarot card to remind myself to never to be afraid to destroy my old artistic self in pursuit of my new artistic self. I also have “Memento Mori” (be mindful of death) tattooed as another reminder. Your life is your life, know it while you have it.
The world is crazy to say the least. Would that inspire you to ever get ink or is motivation always from a place of truth and art?
Rebecca: The world is completely crazy. That’s why all my tattoos are related to music, my artistic struggles, or my family – the things that keep me grounded and alive.
Videos by Ehud Lazin