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The Veronicas Have Always Been Punk & The World Is Finally Catching Up

Written by Sally McMullen on September 3, 2019

15 years into their ever-evolving career and The Veronicas are ready to take some more risks. The Australian pop duo has most recently secured a wildcard spot on this year’s Good Things festival lineup. Stopping by Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in December, Lisa and Jess will be sharing the stage with the likes of fellow home-grown heroes Parkway Drive and Violent Soho as well as international heavy hitters A Day To Remember, Simple Plan, Bad Religion and Trivium.

Their appearance on the Good Things bill was considered a pleasant surprise by many, but it’s anything but random. Self-confessed emo gals at heart, they cut their teeth in the golden era of pop-punk and emo that was the early 2000s. This meant that they were fans, friends and collaborators with some of the biggest bands of the time, drawing inspiration from the scene both in their records and live shows ever since.

So, anyone thinking that The Veronicas will deliver a straight-up pop performance at the alt-rock festival are sorely mistaken. Ready to prove why they belong to be there, the sisters have already hinted that their Good Things sets will include screamo renditions of your fave hits and a wall of death during the iconic ‘Untouched’.

Punters will likely be treated to some new bops too. Five years after their last record and two years sing their latest single, The Veronicas released a new tune ‘Think of Me’ in March and are working on their fourth studio album, which will be out in early 2020.

We’ll be seeing a lot more of the twins in the coming months too. They’re giving fans a warts-and-all look into their chaotic lives in the upcoming MTV reality series ‘Jess & Lisa: The Veronicas’ that’s due to drop in December. They’ll also be hitting up festivals like Lost Paradise and Beyond The Valley over the summer.

We had a chat with Jess and Lisa about Good Things, their emo roots and representing it for the ladies on the Australian festival circuit.

Music Feeds: Jess, you tweeted that punters can expect a screamo rendition of ‘Untouched’ at the upcoming Good Things shows. Please tell me this is actually on the cards!

Jess: Yes! It’s definitely on the cards. We think every single song will have a bit of screamo in it (laughs). We’re really excited for this festival because it is a little bit of that harder rock genre than some of the other festivals we’re playing so we’re going to be able to scream out on some of the songs we’re playing.

MF: What are you looking forward to the most about playing Good Things?

Jess: We grew up going to all of those festivals because we are emo girls from the 2000s. I grew up idolising Courtney Love and Brody Dalle from The Distillers. We love The Used, love My Chemical Romance, love The Amity Affliction.

Lisa: We’re friends with the AFI guys. We really grew up in that scene in LA. When we were making our first record, we were well into the screamo thing (laughs).

Jess: Bert McCracken is in our first video for ‘4ever’. That’s actually the reason I scream. Aside from Courtney Love, I loved The Used and I loved how Bert McCracken screamed. So I was like “I wanna do that. I can do that.” So that’s why I started screaming on tour. I met him and I was like “Can you give me a quick lesson on how to scream?”. I really took that on board and I started screaming in every show.

Our record company wasn’t thrilled at the time (laughs). They were like “You’re a pop act!” and I was like “No, I don’t give a shit. This is what I’m going to do for every show and you can’t stop me.”

MF: As big fans of alt-rock, punk-pop, emo and so many of the genres celebrated at Good Things, are there any other bands you’re especially excited to see or hang out with?

Jess: Violent Soho, we love those guys! Parkway Drive, definitely. Karnivool! Our drummer Steve Judd actually drums in Karnivool too. So he’s going to be very busy at that festival. So any time we’re at rehearsal, he always makes The Veronicas songs sound metal anyway (laughs).

It’s going to be really fun. We’ve just come off the back of a very pop show in America for pride festival and we did full latex, full choreography whereas this is going to be quite a different show. We’ve had such a long career and there have been different incarnations of The Veronicas but this is definitely going back to our early roots.

MF: It’ll be a great opportunity for fans to see a different type of The Veronicas show too, right?

Jess: Exactly. People have been really calling for a 2007 The Veronicas moment for a hot minute. We really believe in artists evolving and we’ve always been a little bit genre-less. I think that’s why ‘Untouched’ resonated with so many people because there were heavy guitars plus 80s synth plus EDM beats.

So we’re really excited to bring the whole 15 years of what we’ve been doing together in this show. It’ll be like latex bodysuits with full metal double kick and a lot of screaming and a lot of guitar.

MF: Latex and metal always worked for Marilyn Manson, so it sounds like the perfect pairing for a rock n roll show!

Jess: Hell yeah, babe! Exactly (laughs). Theatrics and rock n roll. I mean Ozzy Osbourne’s been doing it forever. Emo was very theatrical as well. I honestly haven’t been this excited about a show for a hot minute. It resonates with what spurred our live show at the beginning and I think that’s why this festival is going to be really special.

MF: There’s a petition going around to start a wall of death in the middle of ‘Untouched’ and it sounds like you’re going to create the perfect environment for that to happen at Good Things.

Jess: Oh, absolutely! We’re going to make sure that people can get down to The Veronicas’ music. Something that a lot of people don’t realise is that Max Martin who wrote our first few singles with us and also wrote every big Britney song… he’s a really big pop writer but he’s actually a metal guy at heart. So when we first started working with him, he was telling us how in high school he was in a metal band and wrote a lot of metal music and played bass. We thought that was amazing because you wouldn’t think that one of the biggest pop writers would be such a huge metalhead.

I think that’s why a lot of our music early on, there’s something about the way that he writes music that metal fans gravitate to. We had a bunch of local rock bands coming to our shows early on.

Lisa: I remember David Draiman from Disturbed showing up to our shows and he was a big fan. I think there’s a correlation with the melody and heavy riffs that those music fans really relate to.

MF: A lot of people seemed pleasantly surprised to see The Veronicas on the Good Things line-up. Have you both been happy with the reactions?

Jess: (Laughs) Yes! We love that. We don’t mind being a wildcard. We really love a challenge and more than anything, we’ve always loved surprising people and making new fans. It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been around for, being able to get in front of new crowds and create something that surprises people is always fun.

The hardcore community and Australia, in general, are the most incredible, supportive crowd. Especially online. There were a couple of comments of people being like “The Veronicas?!” but most of those people haven’t followed our career and have just seen ‘In My Blood’ and us in latex or covered in glitter so they’re like “What the fuck is this? This doesn’t make any sense.” But anyone who has followed our career knows that it makes perfect sense. It just took someone who had the balls to put us on a festival like that and give us the respect of a high billing.

MF: You both gave Good Things a shout out on Twitter for offering you a high billing spot and equal pay to your male counterparts. Can you talk a little bit about how important it was it for you two to be so transparent about the gender gap in the music industry, especially given the lack of gender equality on festival line-ups?

Jess: I think it’s really important that people understand that even when you think something’s happening in the highest integrity it’s not always happening. That conversation has been happening over the last few years around the Australian music scene. I tend to get on Twitter and go off a little bit but then I sometimes feel remorse or realise I’ve burned a few bridges or whatever because it’s a very political industry as well. Whereas Lisa’s been encouraging me to promote what I love not what I hate.

So when those guys came to us with an offer, we truly felt like we were respected for the first time in a while. They were the first festival that had come to us and wanted us on the bill without needing to use us as a media drawcard. They just came to us with a great, respectful offer that felt like they were treating us with the highest integrity after a 15-year career. And I just felt like that really deserved a shout out!

We work very hard and we’re very passionate women. Lisa and I admire women in rock music and we’ve been heavily influenced by a lot of men in rock music as well. Women deserve high billing in festival positions. I’m so happy to be seeing that happening more now more than ever and we wanted to keep that conversation going and wanted to keep encouraging and celebrating that.

It’s unfortunate that it should be that surprising but it was very surprising (laughs). So I was like “Yes, Good Things festival!” and wanted to support them. It’s also become all too common that Australian festivals are happy to pay international acts double or triple what any Australian artist will be paid, even if you’re billed higher. So supporting festivals that have that faith in Australian artists and in women is incredibly important.

MF: You released ‘Think Of Me’ earlier this year. Can we expect some more new songs or another record by the time Good Things rolls around?

Jess: Yeah! There will be a new single out by December and there’s a new album coming early next year.

Lisa: We also have an MTV reality show that will be out by then as well.

MF: Of course! ‘Jess and Lisa: The Veronicas’. What can we expect from the series? Is it more Keeping up with the Kardashians or The Osbournes?

Jess: It’s literally both! (laughs). It’s like Keeping up with the Osbournes.

Lisa: The Wall of death at Good Things has nothing on a day in the life of Jess and Lisa, let’s just put it that way (laughs).

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