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20 Questions: The Chapin Sisters

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Tuesday, Apr 26, 2011
by PopMatters Staff
Despite their famous folk lineage, the Chapin Sisters are proudly stepping out on their own, and in answering PopMatters' 20 Questions, they start debating between the Beach Boys and the Beatles, Star Trek and Star Wars, and how they once got to share the stage with DMC . . .

The best part about the Chapin Sisters’ unique indie-folk sound is how it is completely, uniquely their own—a great thing in its own right, and an even more astonishing aspect when you take their famous lineage into consideration.


Lily and Abigail’s story starts with their father, noted singer Tom Chapin, and how the sisters are actually nieces of icon Harry Chapin.  The group’s first album, The Lake Bottom LP, also featured contributions from their half-sister Jessica Craven, who is daughter of noted horror director Wes Craven.  Throughout all of the media namedropping, however, the group has forged ahead with their own sound, and following the departure of Jessica and the formation of the sisters’ own record label, their new effort Two seems poised to place them into the spotlight on their own terms.


Prior to the album’s release, the girls sat down to answer PopMatters’ famed 20 Questions, debating between the Beach Boys and the Beatles, Star Trek and Star Wars, and how they once got to share the stage with DMC . . .
  


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1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?


Lily: The End of the Affair by Graham Greene.
Abigail: In The Fall by Alistair Macleod.


2. The fictional character most like you?


The girls in Picnic at Hanging Rock.


3. The greatest album, ever?


Pet Sounds or The White Album.


4. Star Trek or Star Wars?


Star Wars.


5. Your ideal brain food?


Confetti Spaghetti, fish tacos, scrambled eggs made by our dad, hot black tea with milk.


6. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?


Living for six years in LA with cars that don’t have A/C. And as we write this it’s 109 degrees in the end of September. And performing with DMC once live on stage.


7. You want to be remembered for . . . ?


Bringing harmony to the people.


8. Of those who’ve come before, the most inspirational are?


Abigail: People who’ve found balance in life. Those with the ability to have career success, family stability, and happiness.
Lily: Sirens, banshees, wizards, and alchemists.


9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?


Planet Earth.


10. Your hidden talents . . . ?


Abigail: Lace-knitting and I can dunk a basketball on an eight-foot net . . .
Lily: Wouldn’t you like to know.


11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?


Think of yourself as a well, not a glass of water. And don’t eat the yellow snow.


12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?


The book Go Ask Alice from our friend Dylan Haley.


13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or . . . ?


A Snuggie.


14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?


Charlie Chaplin.


15. Time travel: where, when, and why?


1800s New York City before they tore down all the beautiful buildings.


16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation, or Prozac?


Hit man.


17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or . . . ?


All of the above, everything in moderation.


18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?


Malibu Beach, Upstate NY.


19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?


We both voted for Obama, and we are hoping that he will be able to continue to make positive changes, and stay on course. It’s a tough time to be a progressive right now, but he is actually getting some good things done, he just needs to keep the people informed so we don’t end up with Sarah Palin in 2012.


20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?


We’re hitting the road for our first headlining tour—traveling around the country through December and then on to Europe in the spring. A new album will likely be in the works late next summer . . .


 


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Dawn McCarthy and Bonnie “Prince” Billy pay tribute to the Everlys with What the Brothers Sang, and the Chapin Sisters with A Date With the Everly Brothers, in their new tribute albums.
27 Oct 2010
The two create intricate confections out of simple harmonies and instrumentations, but never take anything too seriously. The emotional resonance is that of a sigh, even when a song is sad.
28 Apr 2008
An A-list family of sisters, with blood ties to both folksinger Tom Chapin and horror meister Wes Craven, sings soft, pretty songs about violence and betrayal.
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