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Songs With A Sister

4 September 2013 | 5:00 am | Staff Writer

“We recorded two of the tracks before we’d even played any live shows. From there we decided we were going to make it an actual living thing, rather than just studio time.”

Eliza is the first of Patient Little Sister's members to arrive and when asked to dish up some dirt on brother James before he appears, she draws a blank. “Damn it, I wish I could have prepped for this. I could have uncovered some gold,” laughs the 'Little Sister' element of the group that have drawn themselves slowly out of their other band commitments to create their version of acoustic pop built around guitar, violin and two very complementary voices.

As guitarist and vocalist James arrives, it's clear the two genuinely get along, answering affirmatively in unison when asked if the relationship is as sunny as it seems. And both agree Patient Little Sister is where their current musical interests are most directed. “I personally wanted to do something a bit more stripped back,” James admits of taking intermittent time off from his other project, Harlequin League. “I was a bit tired of ringing in the ears.” Eliza, who until recently was lending her violin skills to Ruby Boots, agrees: “Yeah, I've played with a couple of bands but this is definitely the baby. I'm a lot more precious with this than with anything else.”

The project began in the studio, but quickly developed, as Eliza explains: “We recorded two of the tracks before we'd even played any live shows. From there we decided we were going to make it an actual living thing, rather than just studio time.” “Before then we didn't really know how we were going to do our live act,” James adds, “but we just started pretty much from basics. You know, just acoustic guitar, violin and two vocals.”

The duo has grown to a four-piece with Matthew Mullin on bass and The Volcanics' Alex Megaw -  James' longtime school friend – on drums, but the group are careful to maintain their original focus. “I think I tried to bring an electric guitar into rehearsal once and it was just too much,” James says. “It was starting to take away from the two vocals, the harmonies, and that's what it's all about. As somebody who's played in rock bands in the past you do tend to have this…” “'Oh I just want to make it loud!'” Eliza pitches in. “Yeah, big loud guitar sounds.

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“I just genuinely want people to like the recordings and want to hear more.” Eliza explains. James agrees. “Same here. I want people to like our songs. I want them to be out there to be heard. Maybe liked, maybe loathed. Just heard. Just as far-reaching as possible. It's a hard slog because there's so many people doing the same thing, but that's good. 'Cause it makes you work a little harder.” And though the pair seems happy working hard together, James jokingly suggests the name for a break-away follow-up: “If I ever do a solo album it's going to be 'Songs you Don't Sing with your Sister'.” “That's a good album name,” his sister patiently concurs.