Who What Wear Podcast: VanJess and Kristie Streicher

So let’s talk about your debut album, Silk Canvas, which came out three years ago in 2018. There was a lot of fanfare about it, a lot of people talking, a lot of critical acclaim. Pitchfork reviewed it and said, “The sisters wield enough magic to make Silk Canvas a success. A sure-footed proclamation of sensuality, musicality, and sisterly love that can hold its own with the best of new wave R&B,” which is pretty impressive. What were you trying to say with that debut album?

The only message with that first project was just this is who we are. It was this is who we are when we freely create. That was really the point where we found our sound. So we just were having fun. We just built something that we listen back to, and it was crazy because we weren’t even signed at the time. And we were very low-key, but people were just finding out about us. And it was very wild because we thought to ourselves, Whoa, we’re making this level of impact with our music behind the scene. It’s amazing now to have people go back to that project and see the diamond and the roughness of it, and our potential and also just appreciate it for what it was. There was definitely an emphasis on being organic; we were meeting new people, having completely new experiences, so it was all super innocent.

As someone who adores music, I always find it so interesting to hear how a song starts versus the final version of it that ends up on an album or an EP. Let’s talk specifically about “Come Over” [on new EP, Homegrown], which started as an acoustic song, and you said started years ago?

So we’re upstairs in our house in 2015, and I’m just on piano playing, and I have a hook: “I want to come over.” It’s just on keys. And that was that. Again, this is like pre–Silk Canvas days. This is when we were just doing everything ourselves. We did it at home. We came up with it at home, and then we went to go record it because we didn’t want to waste studio time. [The song] was just very basic: the first hook, the verse, the second chorus, and then the ad-libs. It was just a very basic structure. I don’t know what it was about it, but we just didn’t know how to bring it from that acoustic piano form, and producers who attempted weren’t really hitting it. But then during quarantine, Ivana was like, “Hey, remember that song?” because during this time we kind of got back to our roots a bit with the covers, and Homegrown wasn’t even in the works. We were paused on everything. And at that point, it was like, well, maybe we should just finish this “Come Over” record. So then once we honed in on that, it was like now we have to finish recording it, but nobody’s in studios, so what do we do? We recorded it, and we added to the vocal and used some of the original vocals in our home studio. So we were just engineering ourselves back and forth. And then the song came to be, and it was just so cool. “Come Over” was really the spark. 

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