How do you find working together as identical twins in the music industry?
We really struggled at first getting people to see and accept we are different, most twins in the entertainment industry pride themselves on looking the same and being talented at the same thing, the reason we work so well together is because we like polar opposite things. Its been like that ever since we were little, Lisa likes RnB and Hip hop and discovering new alternative tracks and artists and Alana loves the old school sing-a-long classics and its been that way ever since we were little. Alana was tap dancing to West Side story whilst Lisa was swaying in her room with her eyes shut to Motown. We like to think theres a bit of each of us in everyone.
Do the pair of you ever clash while working together?
EVERY MINUTE Lisa is very emotional and sees the grey areas so is best at the creative bits and Alanas very black and white, so smashes all the tech side and business decisions. We try to use that tension in a positive way... although Mother Mac would disagree.
As twins, we learned very quickly to be independent of one another. We now talk about this opposite thing we had and have going on: we were in different classes at school; we picked completely different subjects in high school and hardly saw each other. It wasn't a conscious decision to work together as we were both successful in our own fields. It began happening as we were being approached and being offered presenting and interviewing jobs for MTV and Verge magazine. It meant that we could go to all the shows and festivals and interview all the artists. It culminated in doing Radio 1xtra and then other offers came through. But it wasn't like we were suddenly having another career with a wage coming in; we had to work at it and there were times when I was sleeping on Lisa's sofa that we did question what we were doing. When one of us said we cannot do this any more, the other one would say, yes we can do this and that got us through the hard times. We fight, but find strength in being a pair.
What can you tell us about your new interactive DJ show PLAY and how that works?
For years we've bickered in the booth about what to play and it took us a good few years to realise the magic is in the clash (woah that sounds like an 80's power ballad).
Specialist nights are great: you go along and hear the best DJ's from a particular genre introducing you to new tracks whilst playing old classics you can all bond over, but we're playing around with the concept of having lots of different genres and artists with the crowd deciding what they want to listen to.
We wanted to create an immersive experience that was half way between the production values of a £90 arena show and your general club night for a tenner. It merges our theatre backgrounds, our love for our old Sega Mega Drive and the clubbing world all in one show.
We've created MacWorld that has lots of different stop off mini worlds like Dubstep Dungeon and Disco Drop to visit and different artists such as Calvin Harris and David Guetta to lead you through the EDM enchanted forest and you decide where you go and who leads you. Theres a green route with Envy (Alana) and red route with Rediva (Lisa) and you decide how you want to get to the top of Party Peak and defeat Wanye Pest. The audience vote with glow in the dark bands and theres mini challenges and power up levels along the way like Stumblin Falls which is a little drinking "pitstop".
Where did you find the inspiration for this sort of show?
It genuinely came about from the following argument, then built up with all the whacky ideas in our heads from there...
Lisa: Alana I'm begging you please dont play that techno remix of The Spice Girls " Wannabe". Please.
Alana: Shut up they love it!
*Lisa puts her hand over the play button*
*Alana pushes down hard on the button with a smirk*
*Lisa cowers under the booth*
Lisa: I WISH THEY COULD DECIDE WHO PLAYS!
Why should fans come to the show to see you both play live?
We stay in each "area" for around 10 minutes so theres lots to choose from and hopefully everyone will leave having heard something they like. Theres also super cool animations from Mike Scott (genius behind the Goldfish videos and Nickelodeon's 'Moosebox'), balloons, dancers (Twisted Perfection who just warmed up the crowds for Taylor Swift at the SSE Hydro) and a SNOW MACHINE. We want everyone to not take it too seriously and just have fun and a shimmy in the spirit of the Fringe.
You starred in TV show Secret Life of Twins - what made you take part in that show?
The show really focused on the scientific phenomenon of twins and we both did all the sciences at school so there was a genuine interest there. We do a lot of work raising awareness and being tested, poked and prodded for the department of Twin Research(funded by the Wellcome Trust, European Commission, NIHR, CDRF). Studies on twins are important as twins are the perfect controls and researchers can identify how genes and environment affects us by comparing identical and non identical twins. Also we can asses how environment and genes interact with each other - for example if one twin smokes or follows a particular diet, we can see how it ACTUALLY affects the body. So this is a call out for all you womb cohabitors out there, we've all had to hurdle stereotypes, struggle for our identity, share birthday cake and endure a lifetime of staring, but we can come together to change the medical world.
Was it a good experience filming that show?
Seeing lots of sets of twins together on set was fascinating for us, some of them are inseparable! It made us really how different we both are - another set of twins our age said they couldn't have partners because they spent too much time together, but also because they always fight over the same boy.
Do you have any definitive aims or goals for your careers going forward?
Just to keep building and creating platforms and events that people haven't done before - the industry is so saturated at the minute and we don't fit into a lot of boxes, so we make our own.
The Mac Twins didn't start out with an exact aim like being a voice or media editor, but we did want a platform. Not just to speak, but to encourage people and ask questions. We saw this, our generation change and thinking differently seeing the 15 minutes of fame bubble as attainable. Teenagers do change as a result of social media and we see it when we go and talk to kids. It was at its most apparent when I covered a Tall Ships visit for the BBC with a group of kids from both France and Dover. All the Dover girls wanted to be celebrities and all the French kids wanted to be dentists or doctors. The French kids seemed younger but were more level-headed. Working with kids makes us see this kind of thing up front. And we want to do something about it.
If you could work with anybody in the future who would you choose and why?
Calvin Harris! He's Scottish, extremely talented and balances the commercial world and credibility very very well.
What should we expect from you in the coming weeks and months aside from the tour?
We're doing a little mini tour in America with the show after Edinburgh then a UK tour and some dates in Amsterdam and Belgium and then we'll see where that all takes us. Looking too far ahead is scary biscuits.
One of our aims is to show that we are different. We make a point of remaining individual in our personal and professional lives. Alana and I are not one entity, despite being twins and working as the Mac Twins. We want to build on where we are in our own way and carve our own path.Integrity and respect matters most to us. To not sell out. To not sell out on ourselves and our individual identities. It's critical to us that we are respected for what we do and to work hard on being the best in what we do, especially when it comes to thinking about what young people really want to hear about. It is not about how we look or who we are friends with; it is about working with people of our own age and what interests them. We sort of straddle the worlds of dial up internet access and full on social media.
The Mac Twins will play shows at the Gilded Balloon Wine Bar from 12.30am between the following dates:
- Thursday August 6 to Saturday 8
- Thursday 13 to Saturday 15
- Thursday 20 to Saturday 22
- Thursday 27 to August 30