Two Ways Home: Exclusive video premiere of Outlaws and a chat with the alt-country duo
Alt-country duo Two Ways Home have recently released their new single Outlaws, the video for which premieres exclusively here on The Upcoming. This is the first standalone single from the two-piece – Isabella “Isi” Mariee and Lewis Fowler – and it instantly sounds like their most mainstream song to date, featuring soaring instrumentation, luscious vocal harmonies, and a thrilling key change at the climax. We had the chance to speak with the duo about the work behind this new video and the band’s future plans.
How did your new single Outlaws come to life?
Isabella Mariee: Lewis had some lyrics on his laptop he had written a while back and we decided to work on the idea. Weirdly enough the actual meaning of the song only took shape once the song was complete. I feel like the idea was something that was playing on our subconscious and therefore the song came together very naturally. After spending a lot of time co-writing it was nice to get back to just writing as a duo for one song.
Very interesting. We really enjoyed the video – which we are proud to be premiering today – what was your involvement and how does it connect with the meaning of the song?
IM: Lewis and I came up with the concept of the video after playing a life-size chess game.
Lewis Fowler: Isi was directing the shots as she had a clear vision on what she wanted the video to look like. Dave Proud, the videographer, was amazing at capturing our vision. The video shows Isi adorning herself, getting more and more made up. The chess game shows the journey throughout which she loses in the end. The queen has fallen, so to speak, and the King rules over her.
In Outlaws you criticise how most people look for happiness in material things. Where do you find your happiness?
LF: It’s more of an observation than a criticism, but throughout our lives we have learnt that human connection is the most important puzzle piece if you want to be happy. As an artist there is nothing more exciting than performing for an appreciative audience and seeing their reactions, so that is definitely something that makes us happy.
Your songs are usually thoughtful, what other socially relevant topics have you been writing about?
IM: We have recently been very fascinated with the whole same-sex marriage topic and how there are still countries where you can be prosecuted for being gay. It’s so baffling how we are so forward thinking but at the same time so closed minded, and how this relates closely with religion. We believe everyone should be able to chose for themselves what they think is right for them.
How was your experience at the London’s Country Music Week?
LF: It was a great show! We had an early stage time at about 2pm, sandwiched between Jake Morrell and Raintown and we were amazed at how many people came out to see us. It was a special performance for me and Isi, and we had our friend Logan Brill join us on stage for a song we wrote together. The whole day was so much fun and it was lovely to be on the bill with a lot of artists we really respect and who are amazing performers.
Could you tell us about your musical evolution during these three years?
IM: Like many bands we evolve with every new EP, single or song we write. All our EPs came about very differently: the first one was recorded and mixed in Vienna, Austria where I grew up; the second one we recorded a the Dog House in Henley-on-Thames with a producer called MsM; and the third one was recorded and produced at a new studio in London called Popom Studios with our friend Maxim Obadia and then sent to Nashville to be mixed and mastered. The first two EPs don’t contain any co-writes whereas our most recent EP has three.
LF: In terms of the sound we started by having a very traditional approach to our production and stuck mainly to arrangements that we can replicate live with our bands. As we have moved from EP to EP, worked with different producers, slightly larger budgets and spent more time in the studio we have developed richer arrangements of our tracks and also experimented with layering bigger sounding drums. On the most recent EP we have a lot more piano/keys/organ than previously, which adds a nice thickness to our sound.
You are known as an alt-country duo but, have you thought about experimenting with other genres?
IM: The term alt-country came about because we didn’t really fit the traditional country formula and the alt refers to alternative, which in my eyes means being a bit different. Really we are a mix of pop, rock, country and folk with some bluesy undertones. So there is a definite urge to experiment with different genres. I’m still waiting to include a rap verse somewhere but to be honest we just write what feels natural and if we get pulled in a slightly unusual direction for a particular song, then we go with it.
What are your biggest inspirations, and what do you enjoy listening to?
LF: Some of my biggest inspirations are The Eagles and Queen. Freddy Mercury has (or had) one of my all-time favourite voices and a way of conveying emotion through his voice like no one else. Bon Iver is also a huge influence and I really admire his ability to adapt and constantly move forward with his songwriting and sound.
IM: When I was young I got inspired by big voices like Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. Michael Jackson was also always on around the house influencing my musical taste. At the moment I love this country band called Brothers Osborne and also the band Oh Wonder, who are great both live and on the record.
We know you have a special connection to Nashville and London. Are you planning to co-write songs again with American singers?
IM: Co-writes are an ongoing thing for us. We are definitely planning another Nashville trip soon but are also looking to go a few other places in America to meet up with fellow writers. A few weeks ago Charlie Worsham, a Nashville-based artist, was in London and we had the pleasure of writing with him.
What are your plans for 2018?
LF: We have a monthly writers round called The Round Up, which we will be continuing in the new year, showcasing exciting songwriters and artists. Also we are currently planning a UK tour and possibly trying to gig more throughout Europe. As always we will be writing as much as possible and trying to expand our library of songs.
IM: At the moment we are trying to figure out whether an album or singles are the way forward but to keep up to date with what we’re up to follow us on social media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook all under @TwoWaysHome.
For further information and future events visit the Two Ways Home website here.