This week we got to chat with the delightful duo, lavender milk, from Southern Pines, NC. Organically creating music as a pair of best friends, they strive to create a safe space for other LGBTQ teens as well as those who feel outside of the norm in the small town of Southern Pines. Inspired by bands like Sonic Youth and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, lavender milk has a dreamy, nostalgic quality while staying musically and politically current. Be sure to follow lavender milk on social media for upcoming music and shows!
1) Hey lavender milk! Thanks for interviewing with Indie Witches. How did Lavender Milk come to be?
LM: Thanks for having us!
Chase Jourdian: I feel like the universe drew us together multiple times before we officially met. Our first encounter was when I was just fourteen and excited that someone else in my school was wearing a My Chemical Romance t-shirt. I was so thrilled, I never got his name. The second time around, I was 15 and a few nights prior I had played a local show where I had covered a song by that same band. Jon came up to compliment me on this, but it never clicked that he was the same person I had met just a year before. Finally, our guitar teacher saw that we would be a good fit and brought us together. We met in his studio and instantly meshed, though it never occurred until quite some time later that we had already met twice before. It was all uphill from that moment.
Jon Carlson: We met briefly a few times when I was in high school, then we became friends when we were introduced to each other by our guitar teacher Baxter. We stayed friends for two years before we started writing and putting our stuff out there.
2) Could you briefly describe your music-making process?
JC: I write a lot of guitar riffs and I take one that strikes me and I begin with the music through building off one riff. I write it and send it to Chase and then we finish a song typically in my bedroom.
MCJ: I spend most of my time writing lyrics, a great deal of which never see it into a completed song, as I try to write about as much as I can. Lyrics that pertain to the world around me, anger, fear, and definitely passion- the positive and negative sides of that.
3) How has your music evolved since you first started?
MCJ: The main idea around our music has, for the most part, remained the same. It's always been about making art with your best friend(s). However, in the beginning, we were definitely much more worried and focused on the little details such as song length and the technical aspects, whereas now, we've managed to let it happen freely and a bit more naturally.
4) You are both attending school in different states right now, how has the long distance been and what are some techniques you have for keeping the band alive?
JC: I’m currently studying at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. I honestly don’t write as much during school; however, if I create a song when we’re not together, I send Chase demos and some riffs to get feedback. If I feel like it could be something that has potential, then we go with it. For example, I wrote Framboise while in France and sent Chase audio clips throughout the writing process. When we meet up again, we record and develop the entire idea.
MCJ: Being in a "long distance band" is almost the same as being in a long distance relationship. It's definitely not easy, but the motivation and eagerness to keep it alive and real is definitely there. I try to see it as a source of inspiration for my lyrics and occasional guitar riffs- I feed off the ideas this new city and environment gives me and I send them back to Jon for feedback.
5) What advice would you give to your younger self?
JC: Don’t compare yourself others. Don’t rush anything and things happen when they happen. Love yourself, always. Write whatever you want to write and be more chill. It was quite recently when I became comfortable with the identity of a songwriter and artist.
MCJ: Early adolescence was not easy on my mind or spirit at all. If I could go back, the first and most important piece of advice I'd give to myself would be this: Be gentle with yourself. Cry when you need to and find someone who will listen. Keep listening to music because it will save you. Have confidence in yourself to make the music you keep talking about. And get a haircut that doesn't say "2007 Warped Tour".
6) How is the music scene in North Carolina?
JC: In our hometown, Southern Pines, we’re the only band that we know of that has a space for kids, teenagers, young adults, adults, whoever who want to see local bands play. It’s important to us that it’s also an environment for all different backgrounds and we don’t see that much at all in our hometown’s music scene.
MCJ: Southern Pines is a very small town with an even smaller music scene. We strive to create a space there for queer kids and teenagers and weird people to get all their feelings and energy out through the power of art, even if we don't always have an adequate space to do so.
7) Who were your musical inspirations/favorite artists growing up?
MCJ: I've been fortunate enough to grow up around good music- I used to sing Sonic Youth and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on my way to day care, and they remain two of my favorite bands of all time. The same goes for punk, which I discovered just a bit later down the road. Minor Threat, Bad Brains, and the Dead Kennedys stand out to me in particular. I really didn't begin throwing myself into music, though, until my early teen years where I found and fell in love with the early "emo" music of the 00's (namely, My Chemical Romance). My biggest influences, however, and staples of my personality as well as music taste, are easily the Riot Grrrl bands of the 90s. Bands like Bikini Kill, Sleater-Kinney, and Bratmobile changed my life. I'm also very into current "indie", such as St. Vincent, Sufjan Stevens, and Vampire Weekend.
JC: I grew up listening to 80s rock and pop music. Van Halen, Avril Lavigne and Hannah Montana were my favorites as a boy. I got super into bands such as Motionless in White and My Chemical Romance to The 1975 and The Killers in high school. Paramore has always been my favorite band that I’ve grown up with and cherish.
8) Favorite movie?
JC: I love Moonrise Kingdom, Clueless, An Education, Amélie and My Life as a Zucchini.
MCJ: American Beauty probably stands out the most to me- I watched it for the first time when I was fifteen or sixteen and it was a weirdly surreal experience. I have a deep love for Kill Bill, A Clockwork Orange, Juno, and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
9) Who are you currently listening to?
JC: I’m into this German artist named Ace Tee. I put one of her tunes in the playlist we made, she’s super cool.
MCJ: While I've always loved his music, I've been listening to much more Elliott Smith recently as he went to the school I'm attending so I feel a stronger connection to him now. Snail Mail's most recent album has also been in heavy rotation for me, as well as Big Thief and Mitski's new album.
10) Any upcoming shows? Where is the best place for fans to follow you?
MCJ: Nothing concrete as of yet, but we're hoping to play shows back in the NC area in December when we're both on break. Instagram is probably the best place for fans to follow and check us out! ( @lavendermilkband )
MCJ: Thanks so much for this great opportunity, we really appreciate it!!
JC: Thank you again!
Chase Jourdian and Jon Carlson