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Leo Leo- Boston, MA & Los Angeles, CA

LEO LEO_11

We will always be a little bit different.. You know, kind of an awkward cool. Someday, it’s going to be in “style”. But if not, who cares.

Leo*Leo is a post-modern mishmash of poly-stylistic pop with a taste for wry humor, imagination, and warmer climates. The duo is comprised of long-time friends, Vanessa Wheeler (songs/guitars/lead vocals) and Sarah Hope (drums/electronics), and their unique blend of supple melodies and unexpected harmonic turns led Maimed and Tamed to call them, “equal parts warpaint, beach house, and tennis.”

Sweet and Psychedelic this is Leo*Leo…

Assuming you are both Leo’s. What are the pro’s and con’s to sharing this sign?

Sarah and I can’t really hide anything from each other. Our communication has to be transparent or it just doesn’t work. We have grown together and realize that, despite both being sensitive and sometimes short-tempered people, when it’s time to get down to collaboration we are in service of the music and leave our egos aside. This has been a very positive aspect for us professionally and personally. Other than that, we basically like all of the same things. 

How did Music find each of you and bring you together?

(V) This is strange to think about because I don’t have memories when I was ever without music. My grandmother played violin and my mother sings and plays both guitar and piano. I sang in a school choir as a kindergartner and started taking piano lessons when I was in fourth or fifth grade, switched to classical guitar when I was about 13 years old, and I think I stuck with that instrument because of it’s intimate nature – you can play it anywhere. 

(S) Like Vanessa, music has been in my life since I was a little, little girl (age 4, piano lessons with Sister Mary). I studied piano until college and quickly became curious about the process of recording music and the electronic magic behind analogue pedals and gear. I landed myself an engineering gig in a local Boston studio and was immersed in the whole process of making records from 2” tape to Pro Tools.  It wasn’t until my twenties when I played my first drum-set that I got hooked. Seriously hooked. I knew I needed to be performing and recording music.(V&S) We met somewhere in the midst of that time in Boston and became friends, but Leo*Leo started a few years later when Sarah began to seriously play the drums. We have very similar aesthetic towards sound, and we’re also both very analytical in our own ways. We can listen and talk about what we’ve heard, or what we are hearing in our heads, for quite a long time. But we both have the creative impulse to see something into fruition. 

The EP is self-titled: What was the influence/ inspiration behind the creative process?

Our inspiration?  We find it every day. Honestly, we have to create. We tracked basics at Echo Studios in Allston, MA and the rest in Hyde Park at Sarah’s studio loft. It’s a live-work space with a gigantic vocal booth installed and a Pro Tools HD rig. Our creative process is extremely iterative. We are constantly experimenting compositionally and sonically. We take parts out, add parts in, use more distortion here, and put a longer reverb tail there, ad infinitum. Essentially, we make rough mixes of songs all the way through from the first day of creating it until the day we release a mastered version. We talk constantly about the music and the sound of what we are doing. If Vanessa has an idea, maybe it’s a transition between sections while we’re mixing, I’ll work hours to see it into fruition.  She does the same on her end; if there’s a vocal line I really want to hear, she’ll sing and sing until we get the take.

Leo*Leo support the latest EP Here

How does the songwriting process work for Leo*Leo?

Vanessa has most of the chords changes written by the first time I hear a song. Then we hash out the song form and collaborate on the rhythmic grooves.  The recording stage is a time when we experiment with sounds.

Leo Leo Recording

Would you share a story behind one of the songs off the EP?

Dancing Queen. It’s about unlocking yourself from who you’ve been in the past, stepping into a different persona and spreading your wings.  Even if it is only for one night. We’re working on a music video now for this song. So you’ll have to check back to see the full story unfold.

Dreaming Big: Where is the ultimate place you would like to one day perform?

[V] Hollywood Bowl.

[S] Fenway Park!

When you are not making music, what are you up to?

[S&V] THINKING about MUSIC. (Seriously!)

[V] Thinking about psychology to understand why people do what they do.

[S] TWEETING – @LeoLeoBand  !!

Catch Leo*Leo Live on May twenty-eighth Here

Leo*Leo is hosting a Dinner Party.

What two Albums are on constant replay?

[V] I have to go with a couple Greatest Hits albums. Abba, Bonnie Rait, Police, …

[S] Kid A (Radiohead), The ENTIRE Stax/Volt Records Singles Vol. 1959—1968, 1968-1971, 1972-1975.  I have them all. I can’t stop, I won’t.

What is on the Menu?

A really amazing Mexican / Brazilian fusion that is gluten free and vegetarian and dairy free. Arepas, plantains, beans, rice, guacamole, corn tortillas. And a soda stream!

Four influential people [past or present] are invited, who is on the Guest List?

Our manager would invite Oprah, then we would invite John Cage, Carl Jung, and Charles Bukowski. 

What could the world use more of?

High quality free education, Wellness, and vegetation.

Leo Leo Band

What advice do you give to young women growing up in this generation?

Stick with your passion regardless of the doubts-one day at a time. You’re responsible for your own happiness-it’s a perspective thing.

Shout out to a few of your current favorite Bands or Artists?

Vanessa: “Abba. There it is. It’s not cool. But, …” minute later “you know they’re the best selling band of all time, after the Beatles…”

[S] Id love to rock a few tour dates with the Haim sisters. And also, Id be remiss to not mention Black Collar Biz!

What does true love mean to you?

True love is self-worth.

What is the strangest thing you have each dressed up for Halloween?

[V] A California Raisin

[S] A spice rack!

We will never…

We will never get high or drink before we perform. 

Also, Vanessa will never sky dive.

We will always…

We will always be a little bit different.. You know, kind of an awkward cool. Someday, it’s going to be in “style”. But if not, who cares.

Music is…

Organized sound.

It’s everywhere.

It is our entire lives.

Stay Up to Date on all things Leo*Leo

What can fans look forward to from Leo*Leo in the coming season?

SO.MUCH.GOODNESS. Tons of live shows, an EP release, monthly music videos, aligning with several causes for benefit shows(cancer awareness, for example), exciting collaborations with international stars! (Mexico and NYC that counts, right?). Keep checking in! 

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