Tasseomancy, which is twin sisters Romy and Sari Lightman, have announced their first leg of their North American tour, which lands in Gatineau on November 24th at Le Temporaire, where they’ll be playing alongside Ottawa locals Her Harbour.
Tasseomancy recently shared their music video “Missoula”, which is hilarious, wonderful and absurd:
Romy had described the video as follows:
“‘Missoula’ is a song for the roaming and an ode to the Unknown. There are so many transient people on the planet today, both fleeing and voluntarily in motion. I can’t speak for their experience, but as an artist, I find myself moving often. There is the desire to stay, the urge for going, and the split feelings of being a floating, uprooted bag of mostly water. Missoula has a repetitive Hebraic melody at its centre, coming from a lineage of wandering Jews. A nod to one of my favorite Pentangle recordings, ‘Let no man steal your thyme‘.”
Apt613: Your music video was incredible! So funny and insane, how did you guys create that?
Romy Lightman: That was intentional, because we’re Canadian and we’re in the States now and it’s a bit bananas here. So we thought we should riff off of media and news. It’s like local news, we used that for the framework.
You guys are in the States?
Yeah, we’ve been in California for almost a year. We finished our record and then came here. We finished the record that we’ll be releasing in a couple of weeks, and we wanted another reality. We had stuff we had to work on, like videos, and we actually remixed it here.
That’s courageous to go to another country.
Yeah, well we both… my sister still has her place in Montreal and I was living in Toronto. And Toronto is a pretty expensive place to live. But we were sort of in this place where we wanted a bit of a break and I think LA in the past 5 years has become a really exciting place for visual artists. So we heard that there was sort of a scene developing there and that it was weird and exciting. We thought might as well go, and with music, the beauty is that you can do it anywhere.
When I watched your video, “weird and exciting” were definitely the words I would use to describe it. So was the video a product of the culture growing in LA?
No, this was definitely from our brains. I think it was more of response from what we’ve been experiencing here more with the upcoming election and now with Standing Rock, America in general, everything is magnetized.
I mean a part is that the population is 10 times the size of Canada, but it’s also, I think, more so to do with how the country was founded. It’s very much scary being here because its every man for themselves, you know what I mean? You get sick and it’s very easy to fall under really hard times and not have this structural support from your country which is like why I think things have gotten so crazy with all these Trump supporters.
It’s funny because the record that we wrote was kind of about living easy, gentle reality and we’re brought here to a very extreme climate in more ways than one and its inspiring. As Canadians it’s rare that we’ll find ourselves in those kind of extremes, and you feel it every day here with the atmosphere.
You guys are in such an intense place and then you come back to Canada and take those weights off.
Yeah! It’s still hard, we’re trying to make music that we hope everyone likes but at the same time we’re making something that we know not everyone will enjoy. It’s a challenge.
In Canada there’s benefits of being there, governmentally speaking. But also as an artist, it’s challenging to make it work in any city. Unless you have a secret benefactor going on, it’s an international challenge.
Yeah, surviving. That is the challenge. How does California respond to this music?
To be honest, it’s more of an incubation process, we’ve been mostly focusing on working on our new record. We haven’t really been performing at all, we’ve just been practicing this new material. We played a show under a fake name but we haven’t done anything outside of that.
I’m really taken aback by your work, who ARE you guys? Were you both raised in Toronto?
Yeah, we were born there and then we moved to Nova Scotia, then we moved back.
My background… I’m an arts dropout and neither one of us is formerly trained in music. I think in terms of background, it’s nothing exciting so we had to build a world for ourselves. In terms of ideas we’ve given ourselves permission to be ourselves.
We were in another band 4 years ago called Austra, kind of like an electronic queer dance band. We were touring Europe and, becoming a bit popular, mainly in Europe but we took a hiatus from our own work and we were doing creative work with them, touring with them and it gave us a lot of experience but we took a break and wanted to focus on being ourselves. Because that’s really the only thing to do, you know?
What was it like kind of living a nomadic life style, touring to different cities?
We’re still kind of in it. We were playing music for almost 10 years and I think we were always using it as a drive.
When we started playing, we didn’t know how. Trying to really figure it out as we went along, both of us were really curious.
We wanted to have these encounters. There’s a type of musician that lives a nomadic existence. I mean a nomadic existence is really threatening to a lot people and cultures. But it’s also a bit addictive too, you get into this flow that requires you to live in the moment. You have to be on alert, with these new experiences, it can be exhausting but its beautiful.
There’s a line in your song “Missoula”, “There is a desire to stay”.
My sister actually wrote this song while we were on tour. And that was our answer, both my sister and I come from a lineage of people who’ve been running, and also that might be in our DNA and part of the reason we’re so comfortable with moving around.
What is your background?
We’re both Jewish. Our great great grandmother was a survivor of the pogrom. In eastern Europe they would burn down villages and she was a victim of the aftermath. She came to Canada, and that’s as far back as our lineage goes. We don’t know past that, [but it relates to] a bigger conversation, about trauma being passed on through DNA.
You’re a twin, was it difficult growing up, trying to create your own identity?
Interestingly enough, my sister and I work together creatively, but lots of the time what we’re drawn to is different. My sister has more of an affinity to folk music, poetry and I come from a more experimental art background. And I’m interested in things more abstract, nonverbal. I think we’ve utilized our strength to make something more multidimensional. We love collaborating.
Tasseomancy play Le Temporaire on Thursday, November 24th. Tickets are $8 at the door, and subsidized tickets are available through Debaser. The entrance to Le Temporaire has 3 stairs, although there is an alternate entrance with 2 smaller steps. Le Temporaire has a gender-neutral washroom.