By Nick Christophers
Typically in any family there is sibling rivalry at every turn but sometimes something magical happens. This would be the case with sisters Charlene and Liann Kaye who combined their talents for a lethal recipe. Charlene had the musical bug at a young age as Liann was touched by the angel of art. Their first attempt at meshing their work was when Charlene was jamming with local bands in Michigan. Liann, in her sophomore year took up a film class and gained some key pointers.
Liann took to filming her sister’s band whenever they performed. In 2008 she took a music video workshop at USC which motivated her to make a music video of Charlene’s song, “Skin and Bones.”
“I was really inspired by Michel Gondry music videos at the time, and made the whole thing out of paper props for under $100. That ended up being the music video for “Skin and Bones” featuring another Michigan alum, Darren Criss from Glee,” said Liann.
Both sisters attended the University of Michigan and both studied many instruments. They took up classical piano, guitar, ukulele, and even drum lessons. Liann has been inspired by many music video directors like Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, The Daniels Duo, Trish Sie, Dave Meyers, and Joseph Kahn. Charlene’s inspirations comes from a different breed of artists like Sufjan Stevens, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Andrew Bird, Deerhoof, Joni Mitchell and Rufus Wainwright.
Eventually the sisters took to the road and decided to take their talent to the most competitive city, New York. Both were drawn to the Big Apple’s riveting pulse and everything that goes with it. Charlene has really taken her music to many levels. She plays with the band San Fermin which released their debut album “Jackrabbit” in 2015 and has been touring on it for over a year. She also has her own solo project “KAYE” and for kicks jams with a cover band called Guns N’ Hoses.
Liann on the other hand tries to create visuals that mesh with the identity of Charlene’s songs. A good example is one of Liann’s projects for the track “Animal Love II”. Liann has also branched out and directed videos for other musicians such as Carlos Valdes who plays Cisco on CW’s “The Flash,” Theo Katzman of the funk band Vulpeck, and also the indie band Leapling.
“I love working with Liann and I’m in awe of how far she’s come as an artist and filmmaker since she first started out. We love all the same art – we’re both huge 90’s music-philes and ravenous pop culture consumers – and it’s just fun to send ideas back and forth, pick apart why something is effective, and try to do it better ourselves,” said Charlene.
The sisters are looking ahead to a big year with Charlene set to drop her solo EP soon which Liann is shooting videos for.