Remember those band kids who you mocked in high school? Well they grew up to be a hell of a lot cooler than you. Take, for example, Brooklyn-based artists Charly and Margaux, also known as Chargaux. The violin/viola duo met by chance on the street, and has been making sweet music together, mistaken for sisters, ever since. Despite their classical training, the girls have been making some big waves in the music and fashion worlds (did we mention they’ve soloed on Kendrick Lamar’s “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” and at Opening Ceremony’s Resort 2015 presentation? Well, now you know). We got a chance to catch up with pseudo-sisters, amidst their very busy schedule, to talk dream jam sessions, working with your BFF, and what’s up next for the impossibly cute duo.
Photography by Kava Gorna, Interview by Natasha Nunez.
Hi ladies! Where are you from?
Define the sounds of Chargaux.
Margaux: Chargaux is what happens when you take classically trained string players/vocalists who have a love for production, electronic music, hip-hop, bluegrass, soul, afrobeat, and ask them to create. Our music is a fusion of our experiences. We can shred like crazy on violin and viola and then sing the sweetest, sultry melody all on the same song. A violin solo in one track might just move you to tears, but a trunk-rattling beat in another might want to make you grind your hips. It's wild.
Tell us about how you first met.
Margaux: We met serendipitously. It's as if the universe said to each of us "Hey, do you want someone to hang out with, travel with, swap boy stories with, create music with, party with, make money with, and generally just be amazing with? Here you go!" I was walking on my lunch break in Copley Square and saw Charly playing on the corner. She had the craziest style: her hair was in a blonde frohawk and she was wearing these bright red cowboy boots playing her heart out. I stopped her and let her know I was a violist and asked if she wanted to jam some time, to which she replied, "UH YES." The next day we played for the first time together on the same street corner where we met. Literally, within two minutes, people started taking pictures and video of us, asking if we were sisters, if we were a band; it was insane. The energy we created that day has driven our artistry onward and upward ever since.
Name three influential women you would invite to a dream jam session.
Charly: Josephine Baker on MPC, Dorothy Ashby on harp, Lisa E on drums.
Describe the intricacies of working closely with your best friend.
Charly: We became friends and sisters through music. We met by chance one day and went out to play together less than 24 hours later. The moment we played our first note together, we realized we couldn’t keep it to ourselves. We realized we had to become public in order to inspire others. Doing that requires an entirely different discipline than just being friends and making music- we had to explore the best ways to manage our business together.
Time for ourselves is always honored first, and we maintain a bond that money could never separate.
Charly, what is Margaux’s biggest pet peeve?
Charly: She's extremely cool through pretty much anything and always very pragmatic.
Margaux, describe Charly’s style.
Margaux: Charly's style is colorful and eclectic. She's a visual artist and a musician and it shows in the ways she dresses. If we're out thrifting she will always reach for the crazy patterned skirt, the red leather cigarette pants, or the oversized vintage nylon handbag. She's loves to mix patterns one day, and keep it simple with a black slip dress the next day while playing up her make-up or accessories. Her style is as diverse as her creative thoughts.
How has the Big Apple influenced the progression of your sound since the inception of Chargaux?
Charly: We’re constantly surrounded by diverse environments. Only in New York can you walk down one block full of rastafarians, then turn a corner and you’re in a Polish neighborhood. The people here celebrate themselves and their culture so vibrantly, you cant help to dance to soca blasting from two block parties away. This pure energy finds its way into our sonic personalities. We can make whatever we want and appeal to anyone, regardless of language or culture.
Margaux, what are three qualities Charly possesses that balance your friendship?
Margaux: Self-reflection, an abundance of creativity, fearlessness.
What can we expect from the upcoming EP, Broke & Baroque?
Margaux: You can expect to be taken on a journey, to hear our real thoughts and emotions about life as artists and creators. You can expect to tap your foot and want to get up and dance but also lie back and get lost in the vibe. We are expressing ourselves with our voices and our instruments. We've worked hard to create a sonic experience that is unlike any other. We don't take ourselves too seriously though, music ultimately is made to be loved.
Fill in the blank:
Margaux: Sisters are nature’s ready-made best friends.
Charly: Friendship is inevitable.
Margaux: Chargaux are game-changers.