After years of working on independent projects, Efa Etoroma Jr and Erin O’Neill Etoroma decided to blend their talents into a new collaboration, Anyother. The combination of Erin’s lyrics and Efa’s composition is a nostalgic dream. Their debut track “Lavender Heart” captures this new sound and gives listeners a hint of what is to come from the LA-based duo.
ECHO had the chance to chat with Erin and Efa about how they met, their influences, and their debut single.
How did you two first meet?
We met through mutual friends in the LA music scene. I (Erin), was invited to a jam session at Efa’s place in Highland Park. Shortly after, we began working in a band together and the rest is history.
You both have individual music endeavors. What prompted you to start Anyother?
It’s funny, people would ask us all the time if we work together, and honestly, before Anyother, we were only gigging and writing together a couple of times a year. So, when we finally started writing this music together last year and found an organic workflow, we found ourselves enjoying the process and the music we were making together. In early March, we were both sent home early from tours that were canceled due to COVID-19, so we used the unexpected time together to finish up “Lavender Heart,” work on more demos and dream about how we wanted to release this music to the world- a few weeks later Anyother was born.
How would you describe your sound?
Dreamy guitars, blooming synths, and delicate vocals layered on top of a reverberant Linn drum machine and a melodic bassline.
Who did you listen to growing up and did they influence your sound?
Efa: Prince and Stevie Wonder- definitely influenced my love of lush synths and innovative songwriting, while Bob Marley and D’Angelo inspired my passion for raw emotion and potent grooves.
Erin: I listened to so many amazing female artists growing up like the Spice Girls, Destiny’s Child, and No Doubt that were unapologetically themselves that really inspired me to lean into who I am uniquely as an artist. Every artist I listen to has influenced me with a piece of their musicality, story-telling, and creativity.
How does it feel to have your debut single, “Lavender Heart” out in the world?
It feels really good to show another side of what we can do musically. “Lavender Heart” is pretty different from the projects and genres we most often play in, so it’s nice to stretch out and try something different. It also allows us to show the world what we can create when we work together and we’re both really excited about the outcome.
What was the inspiration behind “Lavender Heart”?
Sonically we drew inspiration from Prince’s ballads like, “Purple Rain” and “Nothing Compares 2 U.” Lyrically the song tells the story of someone who was closed off to a relationship out of fear of being vulnerable, and then finally opens up, or blossoms when it’s already too late.
What did the songwriting process look like?
Efa was experimenting with the chord progression when I (Erin) overheard it and started singing the melody for the hook. Once we got a solid idea I started working on verses and lyrics and wrote most of it while driving around LA. After arranging the song and recording vocals, synths, and drums we sent it over to Steve Bilodeau to lay down some ethereal guitar layers and Zephyr Avalon to add some electric bass.
If you could set fans up in the perfect environment to listen to “Lavender Heart,” what do you imagine it looking like?
They would lie on fluffy pink and blue pillows in a lavender, bohemian style tent filled with disco balls while eating cotton candy.
How do you hope people feel when they listen to your music?
Nostalgic, hopeful, and soothed.
What is one quote that you have heard or that you go by that you want to ECHO out to the world?
Sometimes you don’t know what you need to say until you start saying it. Sometimes you don’t know what you need to create until you start creating it. Sometimes you don’t know who you need to work with until you start working together. You just have to start.