There’s a pantheon of bands made up of siblings. From legends such as The Bee Gees, to the contentious Gallagher brothers of Oasis, all the way to the HAIM sisters. The chemistry between siblings is something that a act made up of just friends or like minded musicians cannot capture. Entering this fray is Sasha and Theo Spielberg. You may recognize their last name. Theo and Sasha are the children of acclaimed film director Steven Spielberg and actress Kate Capshaw. Even though they come from such fortunate circumstances, the pair aren’t resting on their parents celebrity. The brother/sister duo just released their wonderful new album, Impossible Falcon, a collection of sweet pop songs that is captivating, charming and showcases the duo’s ease with each other.
“We’ve been performing together since we were like 5 and 7,” Sasha says with a laugh, when we reach the duo over the phone in their hometown of Los Angeles. “Just putting on shows for our family and friends.” From humble beginnings singing songs for family members in their living rooms to performing on huge stages with such successful bands like Vampire Weekend, Grimes and Haim, Sasha explains that having her brother there with her has made the transition from small stages to larger ones that much easier. “I had such serious stage fright,” she says, “and having Theo there onstage has helped so much and has made me feel so much safer. We can have an “awful” performance, and then just look at each other and start laughing.” There had been times previously for the singer when, without her brother there, has made for a much different experience. “If that happens alone, I can exit the stage and just go dark and spiral but with him there it makes it a much lighter experience,” she explains with a lilt.
Even though the two are part of each other’s support systems onstage, offstage is a a different situation. “I’ve been living in New York for the past five years,” says Theo, “So we’ve been on opposite ends of the country for awhile.” When asked how that affects the songwriting process, he explains, “Even when we both lived in LA, we were on opposite ends of the city. So for songwriting we would just always end up sending voice memos to each other until we found something we were both into and then work on that, that’s kind of always the way it’s been,” In fact, this process goes back even further for the duo. “Even when we were both in our parent’s house, we used to do this from each other’s rooms,” Sasha says with a chuckle.
This separation hasn’t affected the music that Wardell creates one bit. The album is front to back delightful. From the wistful “I’m a Man” with its warm synths and Sasha’s silky vocals to the shuffle-y pop of “Never Is The Word”, the duo certainly knows their way around a hook and created a record that never rushes, feels super lived in and has an incredibly charming ease to it. “When we did the first record we recorded, like, 13 songs in 10 days,” Theo says with a laugh, “I remember telling friends after that one, that I want to go the complete opposite way for the next one.” The opposite way they did go. Impossible Falcon was a very unrushed affair. “It created a different set of pressures though,” Theo explains, “It’s a situation where you can go back and keep fixing things as there is no deadline and you aren’t really sure when you want this to be finished. It was a whole new level of self policing.”
Another pressure the sibling’s felt was growing up in the shadows of such successful lineage. “It’s interesting, every since we could remember there was always people that wanted to talk to our parents,” explains Sasha, “From just going to the grocery store with my dad you would have all these strangers that wanted to chat with him and then when later on in life, there’s these moment’s when you start to compare your own trajectory with your parents. You grow up with someone that never went to college and by the time they were your age, they were already so successful but you just need to remember that comparison is just the death of creativity.” The siblings grew up in a home, though, that was more film centric then music. “Our dad was always playing film scores and, like, The Beatles,” Theo chuckles, “It’s almost like music was a bit of an escape for us even though both our parents are always super encouraging of what we want to pursue.” Growing up in a household that wasn’t super music centric, it is interesting how music was so embraced by the siblings. “It was just one of those things at such a young age, I always just loved it so much on such a base level and wanted to sing. Actually,” Sasha laughs, “It was probably after I saw Titanic. I was just so obsessed with that song!” Theo explains his love in a different and unique way. “Music, for me, has always been like this weird superpower,” he explains, “You can go to a piano or just drum on your knee and it’s something that you can secretly teach yourself and it can be all yours until you decide to share that with someone.”
interview by Adam Fink