Music has a tendency to run in the family. There are a multitude of bands proving that statement to be true, from the iconic Sister Sledge and ESG to the more recent success of sister bands like First Aid Kit and Haim. The latest to be added to this list is KTJ & Carly. Comprised of identical twin sisters Kathryn (Katie) and Caroline Haynes, the Texas-born duo have been releasing singles since 2019. Premiering their latest single “Enable Me,” the sisters spoke to Audiofemme about what inspired the track: amidst the the back-drop of an influencer-saturated society, they examine pressures to fall in love before having even developed conviction in themselves.
When creating the track, KTJ & Carly wanted to offer a retort to those who make falling in love look easy, despite the difficulty and work inherent in maintaining a real relationships. In positioning their partners as someone who will provide a salve for all their insecurities and make all their woes a distant memory, these couples goad single people into rushing headfirst into romance with unrealistic expectations. The track tackles the risk of sacrificing too much for this kind of love; in the lyrics, KTJ & Carly point out that this damaging attitude not only applies to love and dating but extends to other aspects of influencer culture as well. “Easy to fall for, like one, two, three/When I can’t see/Trust your bad eyes guiding me.”
“Enable Me” begins with the sound of a dial tone; from there, ghostly, distorted vocals emerge like whispers, until the sisters’ pop siren vocals set a sinister stage: “Head is down, my feet off the ground/Enablers got his hands on me now/You’re balanced babe, the right amount/Enablers turned my sight inside out/You draw me in more ways I can count/Blinded by your devil’s playground.” The subtle atmospherics and driving beat encourage the listener to move, but listen closely lest they lose themselves. “The sounds in this song are very inviting and sensual,” the sisters explain via email, its sonic appeal adding to the urgency of the duo’s message. “The lyrics are type A toxicity! We wrote this song with our good friend from Texas, Elise Howard, and we were talking about how easy it is to get sucked into the game of players. Most people write this topic acknowledging the hurt and pain, but we wanted to take another angle and focus on the part where you still have hope.”
The track also showcases the sisters’ wide vocal range, and KTJ & Carly use it to communicate a sense of escalation throughout the song, creating a feeling of momentum. Verses are fleshed out by a lyrical back-and-forth between the sisters, reminiscent of Chloe x Halle, who are noted influences on the pair. Like a kettle whistling, their vocals build in tone to represent that pressure to find “the one” and the reckless willingness of people to ignore warning signs in the pursuit love. While this narrative used to more readily apply to 30-somethings, à la Bridget Jones’s Diary, the sisters believe the rise in dating apps and social media has created an apparent necessity to shack up with someone at a much younger age. “We feel like [technology] exacerbates the whole ‘you have to be married and have kids by the time you’re 25-32′ deal. The fact that dating is now at our fingertips, it’s so easy to always have someone,” they point out. But that can lead to serious consequences; when you’re young, you’re still finding your sense of self. Without a strong foundation, you’re more likely to be pushed, pulled, and gaslighted into toxic situations.
“We’re all nomads, constantly changing and making choices, just trying to figure this ‘life’ thing out, so we should let people thrive and be whoever the hell they want to be!” they agree. “There should be a dating app where you date yourself. When you love yourself— it doesn’t matter whether or not you have someone there because you have yourself.” While social media only encourages betterment in relations to how outward forces view us, there’s no substitution for finding our own happiness from within – with or without a partner that “completes” us.
The ingenuity of “Enable Me” is that KTJ & Carly’s lyrics also apply to this wide range of situations. When we as people allow ourselves to be swayed, at varying degrees, by those who have either more power, shout the loudest or, in some cases, both, negative ideologies are prone to creep in, dictating everything from how a woman should dress to fake news influencing how we should vote. An inability to think for ourselves has provided a fertile breeding ground for many toxic and dangerous views. “It is important to firstly know what YOU want,” the pair warn. “Social media and outside forces can make that difficult. If you know what you want and figure that out first before you take on advice or inspiration from ‘influencers,’ we would all be much happier with any choice we made. Meditation is great, or just spending a few hours in the day to yourself to do what you want to do. Simple moments like this will help you combat this tendency.”
Razor-sharp perception is a running theme in the duo’s current catalog of work. “Enable Me” will appear on the sisters’ forthcoming debut EP Identity, which focuses on how we view ourselves as individuals within a society. “The whole EP is about finding and becoming your one true self; anyone you want to be, despite what anyone else’s opinions are on the matter,” they say.
KTJ & Carly’s message is clear; stop and think about what you genuinely want, instead of bowing under the pressures from outside forces. The sisters hope that with “Enable Me” and, later down the line, Identity, more people will learn to be authentic to themselves. In that way, they want to become enablers themselves – but for a greater purpose, one rooted in the solid foundations of belief in oneself. It is a process, and processes take time, but KTJ & Carly are happy to provide the soundtrack.