LJ: How long have you been making music together, and how did it come about?
Heidi: We brought out our first album Silent June in 2010 after meeting on the Huddersfield Music Scene (very small) in 2006. We toured with Chumbawamba and learned loads from them.
LJ: Cloudheads is a particularly personal song relating to your recent diagnoses of autism and individual struggles with ‘life outside the door’. How does it feel knowing you now have an answer to previously unexplained difficulties when facing different social situations? How will these diagnoses impact you both moving forward?
Belinda: It helps me knowing why I struggle with so many aspects of life that seem to be common sense for others. I can find strategies to help support me outside the door. But Heidi is without a doubt my strongest ally and support person and I think I’m hers. We navigate things better together.
Heidi: We have much better self awareness and what are needs are in different situations. For example we plan our journeys and request quiet, private spaces and we wear our sunflower lanyards to alert people to our hidden disabilities.
LJ: How do you use music to help with feelings of overstimulation and overwhelmingness?
Heidi: We bring a small speaker around with us when we are touring or going on holiday and play calming music such as Max Richter Sleep to enable us to regulate. To perform our own music also helps us to regulate and express emotions. Recently a member of our audience got in touch to tell us about her 10 year old daughter who uses our piece The Road to Monalea to help when she is overwhelmed and over stimulated.
LJ: How is it being in both a musical partnership and life partnership together?! What are the best parts about making music together, and does it come with any challenges?
Belinda: It’s helpful because we don’t need to organise rehearsal and writing schedules as much, as we can just organically do this at home. But it also means we get caught up in the other aspects of our lives. We are also each others creative mentor as we feel totally comfortable with each and can say pretty much anything and be heard by the other. One of the challenges is that we have a child now and juggling work and life balance can be tricky but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
LJ: What are you most looking forward to about performing at Turner Sims?
Heidi: It’s our first time and we’ve heard lovely things about it. We love a grand piano so that will be a treat. We’re a bit nervous too as we are always a bit anxious in new environments so hopefully everyone will be super nice to us and provide wine, chocolates and massages as we arrive. 😉