The stunning visuals, angelic melodies and luminescent red lipstick you experience when first landing upon the Command Sisters help paint a picture of who the girls appear to be, however, as with everything else in life we appreciate, there are layers hidden deep within. Growing up in a small town in rural Alberta—while not the optimal launching pad in which to build a music career around—provided an early backdrop to who Sarah and Charlotte would grow up to be. Much of their childhood involved healthy interactions with art, however, often included areas outside of just music. “Definitely a singer/songwriter, amongst many other things such as author, artist, graphic designer and astronaut to name a few. (I was an indecisive child). I know for a FACT that Sarah wanted to be in the NHL,” explains Charlotte when referring to some of their earlier interests, adding, “We used to spend hours rehearsing and putting on little plays and performances for our neighbors, most notably “The Lion King”, which, mind you, was a full costume production by the way. It was quite the show.” Both harbored dreams of one day being able to perform in front of sold-out arenas the world over, but knew full well trips to and from the South would be in the cards to make that happen. As such, the siblings ventured out to Nashville as youngsters where they learned to appreciate the subtle nuances of country music.
Although the Command Sisters make music that intersect elements of pop, alternative and rock, their country music roots aren’t as far removed as their new sound may have us believing. “Since Charlotte is the main songwriter in the band, growing up in the country industry really influenced her songwriting chops. As for me – I’m very inspired by guitar players like Keith Urban and Brad Paisley. Learning bluegrass and country solos as a kid definitely contributed to my playing today,” Sarah shares when asked about their early musical foundation. As the girls matured into early adulthood, their sound became much more reflective of what they were listening to at the time. If you were to ask Sarah and Charlotte who in the industry they admire today, you’d be showered with a litter of names outside the former; “My dad always played classic rock on the radio! Never gets old. Nowadays my Spotify shuffles in between The 1975, Tame Impala, Radiohead, and Drake,” Sarah chimes in with. “I really like the new Tame Impala record that came out last year! Also I always return to Lorde’s Melodrama,” counters Charlotte.
Their first single, “I Can Do What I Want To” is a poignant intro into who the Command Sisters are; a pair of enthusiastic firebrands who are primed to shake up what’s not already nailed down. Armed with an infectious hook that powers up Sarah’s spirited guitar solo, the song echoes the sentiment of being quarantined in a full-scale pandemic lockdown. Like so many other artists forced to pivot at the hands of a killer virus, days rotated between bouts of restlessness and wanting to break free from the shackles of the new normal. “The time off has definitely made me take advantage of the opportunity to write lots, and lots, and LOTS. There’s a juxtaposition to it all though – I have so much time to create, but I still feel so disconnected to it all,” Charlotte shares, adding, “It’s so weird. I’m like, ok cool, I’ve written a hundred new songs. When can I finally perform them live??”
Our team had the chance to catch up with both Sarah and Charlotte in an event leading up to the Lost Tapes of the 27 Club livestream event. For many, music represents a form of art that has the power to transcend time, geography, age, and sex, however, is moulded by a class of creators who knowingly struggle with cognitive collapses. Over The Bridge was initiated to answer the call of those most affected, by helping bridge the gap between programs offering support and the musicians creating the art. The Toronto-based non-profit brought both worlds together on the main stage to further explore the inexorable link that unites both realms. The Command Sisters were invited to perform a new track honoring members of the 27 Club—a group of artists, musicians and actors who all died at the age of 27 from battling addiction and mental health—as a way to artfully reenact what could have been had these legendary artists not lost their lives years ago.
“Mental health alone is a hard battle to face – so I really feel for our music peers during this time. Many have lost the majority of their income without being able to tour, and not being able to reach your listeners and be out in the music world (events/concerts/studio) can make you feel like your soul purpose has been put on hold. It’s a weird feeling,” explains Sarah about how she has been able to maintain her focus during the pandemic. Charlotte echoed that same sentiment, adding, “It’s definitely been a TOUGH one for me. However, I maintain a fairly positive attitude just finding gratitude in my health and how I’ve been so lucky to stay safe in all of this. Mental health is certainly a huge issue affecting those in music, and Sarah and I can both attest to this in our own experiences and our friends and peers. I hope that I can use my platform to speak out and help others facing the same things.”
With 2020 officially in the rearview mirror, the girls made efforts to refocus their energy for an exciting 2021. In late February, the Command Sisters unveiled their first drop of the year dubbed “Rain On My Parade.” The song opens with the lyrics, “Uh, why you still trying to get me to smile, huh? You’re no fun, I’m a sucker for a sucker punch, God, I hate a happy bunch,” narrating a tale of someone who comes to realize the person they once loved no longer holds the power to control them. “Our latest single was written during the height of my covid depression. A lot of the lyrics relate to my anger and frustration towards not only 2020 as a whole, but a lot of my past experiences. During lockdown we had to sit at home with our thoughts and that inspired this new direction,” Sarah explains when referring to “Rain On My Parade.” Sarah and Charlotte’s unique blend of harmonies, sharp guitar riffs and poignant lyrics echo all throughout the track, which when combined with the almost rap-like delivery on verse 2, go on to form something radically new for the band.
In looking at their creative philosophies outside of music, the Command Sisters’ entry into streetwear can be viewed as an artful extension into who they are as brand builders. “Style for us is another way of creative expression. Artists like David Bowie, David Byrne, and Lady Gaga really inspire me while designing the creative elements of our group. They’re visual brand speaks volumes alongside their music – we hope to even be able to express 1% of their creativity in our work,” says Sarah on the band’s unique style sensitives. Harnessing the untapped power of artificial intelligence, urbancoolab’s STiCH platform factored in a barrage of visual cues in which to build a set of graphics around. When asked to comment on artificial intelligence’s place within fashion, Charlotte says “I feel like we’d get to see how AI changes over the years and compare it to how things are in the future. It would be so cool.” Spread out over a mix of tonal hoodies, tees and track pants, the Command Sisters’ “CMND” capsule is ready to cop now via store.urbancoolab.com.
The Command Sisters are in the “lab” working on new material, so be sure to catch up on what’s new; “Well, we will be releasing the rest of our debut album (recorded pre COVID in LA) this summer, so not sure when the new new stuff is gonna release, but we’ll definitely be posting on socials with updates so stay tuned.”