The Frampton sisters, Meg & Dia, are picking up speed with their pop rock whimsy and almost emo harmonies. The half-Korean, Utah-based siblings have been playing since high school -- although that really wasn't that long ago. Meg, 21, plays guitar, piano and sings backing vocals, while Dia, 19, sings lead. The sisters have already toured with Action Reaction and Ronnie Day, and played the Vans Warped tour as the official MySpace house band.
After briefly attending the University of Utah, Meg quit in order to tour across country. Dia also stopped going to high school, but later finished with honors. The girls' father, an entrepreneur, didn't mind their leaving school. In fact, Frampton Sr. pushed them to pursue their music careers instead of college. And now they're definitely going places.
After the release of their 2005 debut, Our Home is Gone, the sisters were brought to the attention of Doghouse Records, where they released their sophomore album, Something Real. The latter was produced and engineered by Stacy Jones of American Hi-Fi and Bill Lefler (producer of the Strays' Le Futur Noir, Towers of London's Blood Sweat and Towers and more).
Despite their short history, it was after Something Real that the Framptons heard their musical calling. "We started touring a lot, and then when we got signed last year in October is when it hit us that this is what we want to be doing for a long time," says Meg.
Even as children, Meg and Dia were pushed towards music through the inviting gifts that their parents bought them. The irony is that Meg received the karaoke set and Dia the guitar. "I kind of tried to sing and she tried to play, but then we decided to switch because of our natural abilities," says Meg.
This switch would later lead to the make up of Meg & Dia as they are today. Also playing with them are a few other musicians: bassist Aaron McMurray, drummer Nick Price and a new trial guitarist, who will take the place of departing longtime guitarist, Kenji Chan.
As far as influences go, the sisters do not share in likeness. Dia is influenced by what Meg calls more "obscure" bands, like Cursive. Meanwhile, Meg is influenced by oldies such as Paul Simon and Queen, as well as current music including Jimmy Eat World, Taking Back Sunday and Death Cab for Cutie.
As for American Hi-Fi, Meg says, "I was never really into that band. I knew that "Flavor of the Weak" song vaguely and I didn't know if we should expect our album to sound like that or not." The verdict: One can hear a bit of Stacy Jones' poppy blasts on Something Real, just as one can hear Butch Walker guitar smacks on Avril Lavigne's Under My Skin.
During Meg & Dia's pilgrimage to a recording studio with producers who possessed laidback attitudes, there were still challenges at hand. "You have to play everything perfectly and everything has to be perfectly in tune," Meg says. "There are just all these little tricks and things that you need to learn and you have to learn really quick."
She admits that she is intimidated at times. "I feel like I have to hurry up and catch up with everybody. It is intimidating, not just because of the age, but because of the lack of time and experience."
Despite this factor, she brings with her a whole slew of personal experiences that infuse the duo's lyrics. Songs like "Masterpiece" reek of lost love, while relishing self-discovery. It was written about Meg's experience with first love and, as she describes it, "It is about having somebody that shapes you to how they want you to be, but they were kind of messed up to begin with.
"The person that was shaping you obviously doesn't care that much because they weren't even paying attention to what they were doing to you."
"Masterpiece," which was the first song Meg wrote, also helped to bring her to a solid spot on stages across the country. "I feel like in a way that song steered my whole future in a different direction."
Fans have heavily grasped the Framptons' songs, including "Masterpiece," "Nineteen Stars" and "Indiana."
"Nineteen Stars" is about suicide and trying to rescue someone from herself and struggles. Some rabid fans have even gotten lyrics and 19 stars tattoos as a bodily shrine to show the songs' importance to them.
Another song, "Indiana," refers to the last chapter in George Sand's book of the same title. "After I read it, I just started bawling. I called my sister and I was hysterical," says Meg. To calm the literary fire in her mind, she composed a song about it.
Songwriting is one of Meg's favorite things to do, and she finds that she is most creative at night. To her, nothing beats dreaming up a melody and jumping out of bed sporadically to write down some lyrics -- although roommates might be a little bothered by this behavior.
Meg also admits that while her father has been surprising the sisters for most of their lives, she still marvels at his heartfelt endorsement. Apparently, the various quirky products the father created in his business have sold when Meg thought they had no chance. It's good for Meg & Dia that their father doesn't share their doubts.
Meg says: "He is so proud of us, and he always expected it would happen ... This is farther than I ever thought we would be and nothing has even really happened yet," says Meg.
Meg & Dia play Amos' SouthEnd with Sugarcult, the Pink Spiders and Damone; Nov. 15; $15-$18; www.amossouthend.com.