An interview with duo Let’s Eat Grandma for Wonderland Magazine
Meet spellbound witch-pop duo Let’s Eat Grandma, who recorded their debut LP in a nuclear bunker in rural Norwich.
AFTER-SCHOOL ACTIVITIES in your late teens normally include chasing after boys and not doing your homework, but for 17-year-olds Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth — AKA Let’s Eat Grandma — their free time has, for the most part, revolved around writing debut album, I Gemini. Let’s Eat Grandma, a name the self-proclaimed witches took from the common grammatical error, and not from a macabre, cadaver-related hobby, are the eeriest, most magical girls in psych-pop.
Norwich’s Hollingworth and Walton have been inseparable since the age of four, and despite parting ways for most of their education, their natural sister-like bond is hefty. Joking that they are both actually witches, Hollingworth recalls how “[Rosa] put a spell on me — I had to join the band. I thought: ‘Dammit, I wanted to be a lawyer’.” Indeed, the duo is so in sync (both in attitude and looks) it’s easy to imagine that to the unknowing eye, they would be mistaken for twins.
Bonding over Enid Blyton’s fantasy saga The Faraway Tree as children, Walton and Hollingworth tapped into their witchy roots and built magical treehouses to escape the real world — citing Bart Simpson’s very own oaky sanctuary as inspiration. Perhaps it was this time spent together — immersing themselves in a make-believe world full of the weird and wonderful — that galvanised their tripped- out psych sound. “I don’t think we ever really intended anything when we started out. I think we were doing it all as a big experiment, and I think it continues to grow like that,” explains Hollingworth.
Despite their Rapunzel-like hair, Let’s Eat Grandma are anything but your average Disney princesses. “We both play keyboards, guitars, drums and sing. Jenny plays the saxophone…” says Walton. “Rosa plays the harmonica, and we both do some mandolin and glockenspiel,” Hollingworth adds. It’s like they were never told that it’s hard to play more than one instrument at once.
Many of the tracks on I Gemini evoke darkly cartoonish imagery, mixing fairy-tale-like piano melodies with bone-chilling guitar riffs and haunting lyrics. But it’s their ability to breezily contemplate the trials and tribulations of modern-day life through song that, for a pair of late adolescents, really sets Let’s Eat Grandma apart. “What is reality?” Hollingworth quizzes when I press her on this. “[The album] talks a lot about escapism. It’s got a lot of vivid imagery, but it also takes the piss out of a lot of things… It’s about how we experience the world, about senses,” whilst Walton continues, “It’s about observations of people; it’s about dreams.” The sound is raw, gritty, hallucinogenic, and taps into your subconscious; it’s a sound deemed psychedelic, sludgy pop for a reason.
Recorded in Norfolk’s Old School Studios — an ex-nuclear bunker, which came fully equipped with lava lamps, ghosts and old analogue equipment. “The first set of songs we wrote weren’t actually planned to go on an album together,” says Hollingworth. “We were like: ‘Well, we’ve written these now. And they were like: ‘Why don’t you release an album?’” Never ones to let the bosses tell them what to do, the pair contemplated their next move, hard. “I’d say we’re quite head-strong about what we want, poor them… [Our creative process is] like a very long jam session, for ever, and ever, and ever.” “We just keep playing shit and seeing what happens. Then we do some spells,” adds Walton. Any more information about their potion-brewing, ghost-summoning and magical chanting is not to be divulged to us mere mortals. “All our other secrets are up our long, witchy sleeves,” she jests. It’s almost like Let’s Eat Grandma aren’t aware that rules exist; let’s hope they never realise.