The Rankin Twins pass around the good times (and a little moonshine) with their latest single “Good Vibes,” a smoothly-polished pop-country track that’s as catchy as it is charming. For Amy and April, the mid-tempo toe-tapper is only scratching the surface of what they are capable of and samples their forthcoming EP (out Dec. 2). “We released the full length only a year ago and before the year was up people were ready for NEW music. Financially an EP allows us to release new music more frequently and keep our fans engaged,” Amy shares in an exclusive NashvilleGab interview, of the decision to release an EP instead of another full-length. Their most-recent LP came in the form of Moonshine & Maybes (we’re sensing a theme here) in 2013.
Leading up to their new project, Amy and April are dropping a new track and accompanying video every month. Why? April explains, “We wanted to offer something different for this project and we have been dying to do more videos since we are such visual people. Each song from the EP will have a music video and is being released only for 12hrs on a specific day of the month, as a teaser, until the EP releases on Dec. 2nd. We hope it creates excitement for the release and our fans will look forward to the EP.”
Next on the docket is a song called “Over You Train,” which they co-wrote with Nashville songwriter Dustin James, and “should be releasing in a couple weeks.” April adds, “It’s our girl anthem song for the record.” Throughout the ucpoming EP (titled Good Vibes, too), the duo dig a bit into their own songwriting prowess. “We co-wrote every song on this EP,” she says. “We’ve been writing since the release of the last album. You typically write a bunch of doozies before an album worthy one comes in to play. Heck, we are still writing and finalizing the last few songs to make the cut.”
As a new duo, Amy admits that they are “always finding a unique sound that we can call our own and it’s always changing and evolving which is the exciting part.” Based in Austin, Texas, the girls make sure to incorporate their red-dirt roots with a bit of a slicked-back contemporary sound. “We love POP music and we love Country Music so it’s important to try and incorporate both sometimes,” April says. “If we like it we are going for it. We aren’t trying to fit a mold but make music we like that people can dance and sing to.”
Surprisingly, there are very few female-female pairings currently making headlines, something that’s not lost on either of them. “It’s so true, which is really crazy to us because we’ve always loved the duos (the Wreckers, the Judd’s) hopefully that demand will change and we will be there front and center ready to fill that void,” Amy says. While they have enjoyed their fair share of success so far, they confess that it’s been a wild ride, too. “Of course [it’s been difficult] but It’s been a blast. Everyday we meet some obstacle that we haven’t faced yet and since there’s really no path made, because everyone is different, it’s constantly a learning experience. What worked once may never work again. We’ve learned to roll with the punches and at the end of the day trust our gut and just GO FOR IT!! It’s really the only way we will truly learn.”
Previously, The Rankin Twins competed on Cozi TV’s hit show The Next Great Family Band. April recalls the greatest lesson they learned, “Our mentor Phoenix Stone really encouraged us to go out there and set ourselves apart and leave it on the stage every night. It was a neat experience and we are grateful to have been chosen to be on the show.”
But years before they took a spin at the music wheel, both singers worked desk jobs. “We were living in Dallas and after Amy’s college boyfriend broke it off she started guitar lessons,” April says, of the moment that sparked their desire to become full-time musicians. “That really sparked the desire and she moved back to Dallas where I was and we both had day jobs and we started playing shows here and there on the weekends. It wasn’t but a couple months that Amy was diagnosed with a brain tumor. THAT was the moment our passion became a priority and a reality. Two months after the second surgery we packed up and moved to Austin to pursue the music career. We both got jobs until we released our first single ‘Headaches & Heartbreaks,’ which Amy wrote after the first surgery, and went on our first radio tour. We also own a photography company called ‘Twinty Photography’ that allows us to be full time musicians.”
Their childhood was as you’d probaby expect: “We had a pretty amazing childhood… your typical small town upbringing. We were our parents’ only children so we are definitely spoiled but more so in the loving sense. Our family is really close and our parents encouraged us to be a part of any and all activities. April took guitar lessons when we were in elementary school and Amy took piano but we ultimately decided to pursue sports until college. We’ve always loved to perform though.”
Of course, being identical twins, they did have a bit of a Parent Trap moment once. “April was grounded one time in elementary and wasn’t allowed to play Nintendo after school. We switched clothes on the front porch so our babysitter wouldn’t know. We fooled him,” Amy says.
As for the present, Amy and April have finally found a balance with their personal lives and budding career. “There really wasn’t a balance in the beginning because Amy sacrificed both of their personal lives for the sake of the music,” April laughs. “(Boss lady) Now it really does take work and sometimes you just do what you’ve gotta do. The google calendar is our scheduling bible and if it ain’t on there it ain’t happening!! It’s really more of a balance of knowing what’s important to us right now and what sacrifices we are willing to make. Being on the same page is necessary too.”
For their new single “Good Vibes,” Amy and April sing about moonshine, but do they really like to imbibe? “We really like the apple pie moonshine and we are obsessed with mason jars,” Amy admits, sheepishly. “We served the signature drinks at April’s wedding out of mason jars too.” In the vibrant video clip (below), polaroids make quite an appearance. “[Polaroids are] nostalgic and kinda considered vintage now since everything is digital. I even have a Polaroid app that you can put pics in a Polaroid,” she says, of the old school technology making a comeback in the mainstream. “We wanted to incorporate them into the video because it had that summer love nostalgic feel. Makes you wanna get lost in those moments that the Polaroids capture and as an added bonus we will be giving those behind the scene Polaroids away with pre-orders of the album.”
Over the past year, with such releases from Miranda Lambert (“Automatic”) and Florida Georgia Line (“Dirt”), nostalgia seems to be at the centerpiece of the format. “It’s important to remember your past because it’s what made you who you are. Country songs tell the whole story and take you back to those moments and everyone relates to them in their own ways. It’s really beautiful,” April says.
In other ventures, the Rankin Twins are currently involved with Hunt For A Cure and recently filmed the pilot episode. April details more, “We recently shot a pilot episode for a new hunting show out at the Solana Ranch. This was their 3rd year for the Hunt For A Cure benefit. Each year they had planned to donate to a different cause and they’ve chosen the Susan G Komen chapter in Austin for the past 2 years so it was a great opportunity for us to be involved with. Breast cancer is an awful and more common disease in women than people know and if we can help raise awareness by hunting dove on the opening day of the season then count us in.”
Grab a copy of their new single “Good Vibes” on iTunes now!
PHOTO CREDIT: Rankin Twins Facebook/NPGPR
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