Photo: @badasspussyluva

Interview: Danish sister duo PRISMA on their creative dynamic

Working together as siblings must have its ups and downs. I think about Tolstoy’s quote from Anna Karenina: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

I caught up with PRISMA – the duo of Danish sisters Frida and Sirid Møl Kristensen – to find out how they’ve both overcome that inherent family baggage to create bold, brash and beautiful indie pop music on their new EP, Inside Out.

Working as siblings, what have been a few highlights, some good, some bad, some hilarious? 

Of course it can be challenging working together as siblings, the filter you normally have, (when working with other people), is removed but we are really honest with each other, which can be both a force and a hindrance. You could say that working as siblings is both the best and the worst and we have to be aware not to mix our personal relationship with our work too much, otherwise it can get a little difficult. The best thing is that you get to share this experience with a person you have really close. It is the safest space and we wouldn’t share that with anyone else. 

What was the first song you wrote together? Have an old video or tape of it that you would like to share? 

It’s hard to tell which one was the first! We started playing and singing together in our teenage rooms back when we were 12 and 14 years old and we just sang some of the pieces we learned in our choir lessons at school. We found out how well our voices complimented each other and how fun it was making different harmonies with each other’s voices. Then we started making our own songs. Some of them are on our first EP, which was released in 2020, a full eight years after we wrote them. Songs like “She Was Born” and “No Goodbyes” are songs from back then. We have some old videotapes, but I’m not sure they are ready for the world to see. :)

I read that you attended a Waldorf school where music is a critical element of the curriculum and an essential experience to being fully human. Can you share how the music making and performing process nurtures your inner child?

Our whole musical understanding started at the Waldorf school. Everyone had to play an instrument in a big orchestra and sing in a big choir. Frida played the clarinet and Sirid played the flute. This background of music has been very important for us and playing music is like playing in the schoolyard. It is so much fun and you can play whatever you want and that is exactly what we are doing now – just making the music we want to make. We use a lot of the classical things we learned when we were kids but we break the rules and do what we feel is right.

What is  the primary instrument that you use for song writing? Has that evolved over the years?

For us the guitar has the leading role in the writing process. Besides the clarinet and flute, it was the first instrument we learned to play as kids. But we also use our voices a lot. Sometimes we hear the melody in our heads and then learn it by singing. I know Sirid uses that method a lot. Everything she writes starts out in her head. 

The opening of “Seven Greedy Girls” reminds me of “Hey Mickey” by Toni Basil, rocking straight out of the gate and with an 80s flair. Two other songs on the EP, “Devils Eye” and “Let Me Go”, are more brooding to begin then ease into your gallop. Which is an easier style to write? Does one feel more comfortable to one or both of you?

All the songs we write feel right and comfortable for us. We often decide what kind of mood the songs should be having and then we start adding different layers. So if a song like “Devils Eye” needs to have this big climax and if everything is already too hectic, then you need to start at another place. When we write our music we need to feel it along the way and we need to be comfortable in all the songs. Sometimes the songs are fast at first and sometimes the energy is more underplayed. 

What is your process for designing your performances? How do you translate your expansive album production into something live?

Playing live is a big part of being in PRISMA. We love playing live and want the audience to be in the PRISMA universe with us. When we choose our setlist we want to play the most interesting combination of our songs and that changes from show to show. The most important thing about playing live to us is the energy and capturing the cinematic feeling. We want the audience to feel the way we feel when we sing together. 

Since live performance is such a big part of PRISMA, who is on your bucket list to play with? 

We would love to play a concert with Hans Zimmer or Nirvana, but doing a show with Trentemøller would be crazy as well. 

PRISMA’s Inside Out EP is out now on Luna Sky Recordings. You can find them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.