Meet the serene siblings setting a new standard on the airwaves.
Effortlessly bridging nostalgic folk with penetrating pop, the track “Together” by brother-sister duo Ardyn is a perfect arrival for the summer season. It’s humble and genuine, yet undeniably catchy and powerful. A true gem amongst a sea of standardisation, Ardyn seamlessly blend reminiscent folk with impassioned choruses and soul-snatching, whimsical hooks, making you want to dance and cry at the same time.
We had chat with the two about their influences, clairvoyance, and what to expect for the future.
You guys are brother and sister, so do you feel like that helps the creative process flow a bit more easily? Do you have some sort of telepathic-bro-sis connection where you can finish each other’s sentences? Do you ever get sick of people asking you that?
Katy: It definitely does help the creative process. We are very in tune with one another when it comes to writing songs. We don’t have to really talk to one another about where we want to go with a song, we just have to look at each other and we know, which is crazy! We have never finished each other’s sentences but we do start singing the same song at the same time sometimes randomly. We do get asked it a lot, but I think being a brother and sister who are the same age and in a band together must be intriguing to people…?
Rob: Decisions get made way quicker, mainly without even talking to each other, just a nod will do! The bro-sis telepathy happens occasionally, for example we’ll sing a song at the same time. it really freaks us out though. I don’t really get sick of people asking, we forget how interested people are about siblings of the same age, we find it fascinating ourselves.
There’s something so sentimental about your sound overall. Not to put you in a box, but what older bands have helped influenced your music, if any at all?
K: Our parent’s were children of the 60’s and 70’s, so we were brought up on a healthy dose of The Beatles. I remember one year many moons ago, Rob and I went camping in Devon with our dad for 6 weeks which we have done for as long as I can remember. That year the only CD we had in the car was Sgt Peppers. I knew the whole album off by-heart after a few weeks, so I guess it must have subconsciously stayed with me…? I remember one night singing “She’s Leaving Home” to a group of bemused campers sitting round a campfire.
R: I’ve always been a big fan of big sounding pop bands, I remember the first CD I was bought which was R.E.M’s greatest hits. Something about their melancholic pop sound had a big effect on me as a boy. I think it was around this time that I started taking a real interest in music and learning an instrument.
With song titles like “The Valley”, “Over the River” and lyrics that take reference from the natural world, do places like London put a damper on things a bit, or does the city inspire you in a different kind of way?
K: I love London, but some days I do feel very overwhelmed, and it can definitely put a more melancholy tinge on our songwriting when we are writing there. But to be honest it might just be my mood rather than the city itself! Although the majority of the songs we write have definitely been inspired by the natural world.
R: Being in London brings out another side to our music which we like. We enjoy writing about nature and more ethereal things, but it’s a different kind of inspiration when we’re in the city. There’s so much going on and you’re constantly meeting new people that it’s hard not to get inspired.
I know it’s Celtic for “high”, which is definitely fitting, but for you, where did the name “Ardyn” come from? Does it have any attachment to the Final Fantasy character?
K: Ardyn is the name of a distant family relative of ours. We didn’t actually know she existed until about 10 years ago when she came back on the scene. She’s an artist who lives near Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, and she turned 76 this year. We are both very close to her and thought her name was really beautiful and suited our music. She lives in a beautiful old farmhouse with loads of peacocks and a senile old black cat called Hugo, so the name doesn’t have any relation to the Final Fantasy character. We’re not really into the whole gaming scene, except Simpsons Hit and Run which we used to play back in the day on Rob’s PS2.
R: I thought it looked really cool written down, also we were looking for a one word name that was easy to chant, ha! Also, it begins with A which is convenient in many ways.
“Where we grew up has shaped us as people and writers, so it would be silly to turn our backs and forget where we come from.”
As you guys get bigger, is maintaining that small-town humility something that’s important to you both?
K: It is important to us. We grew up in a town called Cirencester which is portrayed as “the heart of the Cotswolds”. When we were younger it was a beautiful place to grow up, but it wasn’t very exciting; not many gigs or arty things going on. There was no music scene there either, which we found very frustrating. Our mum decided to move to Stroud just over 2 years ago now. It’s a very arty musical town and we did some of our first ever gigs there, went to college there and worked at the local pub that we also did gigs at. The community there have been very supportive of us.
R: Where we grew up has shaped us as people and writers, so it would be silly to turn our backs and forget where we come from. I’m sure as we progress we’ll live in many places but as they say, there’s no place like home.
There’s something beautiful about family-based bands, but do you feel that the closeness of being siblings ever causes problems, or is it generally smooth sailing?
K: It can be really hard as we are brother and sister of the same age and together 24/7. We do get fed up with each other, but on the other hand we’ve never known not being together so we are very tolerant of each other. It’s not dramatic yet…
R: It’s only ever difficult when we spend a bit too much time together, things can get a bit tense, but generally we have a great camaraderie. We rarely disagree over the creative side of things which is lucky.
You have a few festivals lined up for this summer, are there any in particular that you’re really looking forward to?
K: We are really looking forward to Dot to Dot Festival in May. It’s a brilliant new music festival and we are very chuffed they have asked us back again this year. Citadel also looks really exciting, a great line up to be included in.
R: We’ve heard very good things about Kendal Calling from lots of people. It’s in the Lake District which looks beautiful. Of course Brian Wilson’s playing so that’ll be a moment – we’re big fans.
“Together” is a cool track with distinct pop and electronic elements, especially during the bridge. Is that something that happened out of coincidence or is that an intentional direction you want to move towards?
R: Thanks! It’s a sound that stems from working with Tourist. The demo had a very organic sound, but we also wanted to blend elements from the past with a more electronic production. We approach each song very differently and this approach keeps the production process fresh and exciting for us. Collaborating is really good for us because we always find out something different about our music and where we can take it.
K: I think it was a bit of both. We really wanted to push ourselves to do something a bit more pop and not get stuck in the folk vibe. I think the track was written acoustically and the more electronic production seemed to really suit the songs so we just thought go for it!
What are your plans in the months to come, and what should we be excited for next?
R: Well, we’ve been working on a lot of new material that will be seeing the light of day soon. we’re really excited. Our Headline show is approaching in June which we’re getting ready for and lots of festivals which should be great. We’ll also be writing lots over summer, so a very busy few months ahead.
K: We just want to keep surprising people. Set the bar high and just try and write the best songs we can. So there will be lots more releases and hopefully lots more touring.