Behind the Quirky Cool Style of the Band That's About to Dominate Festival Season
The Lemon Twigs kick off their whirlwind festival tour at Coachella, bringing their 'Napoleon Dynamite'-meets-'70s flair to the stage with them.
They've got a throwback, cheerful sound that's often compared to legends like The Beatles and The Zombies, but when it comes to style, The Lemon Twigs have a look that's all their own.
Brothers Michael D'Addario, 17, and Brian D'Addario, 19, founded the group in 2015 while attending high school in Long Island and have since carved out a nostalgic niche in the music world with their chiming refrains and flashy style — wearing everything from bell-bottom jeans and plaid blazers with suspenders to '80s gym shorts and rainbow-striped polo tees.
Though still relatively new to the scene, The Lemon Twigs are on the brink of a boom. Before summer is over, the band will play Coachella, Bonnaroo, Glastonbury, Lollapalooza and Outside Lands, as well as a slew of other fests across Europe and Australia. (They'll also be the opening act for a leg of Phoenix's world tour.)
When it comes to their unconventional look — a cross between '70s rock 'n' roll gods and Napoleon Dynamite — the boys insist it's not premeditated. "It’s just an exaggeration of our everyday style, not really a different persona," says Michael, the most stylishly adventurous brother.
"It’s the same way as when you’re doing a Broadway or theater show," says Brian. "You tend to act a little bit bigger than if you're doing a movie." The brothers would know — both were child actors with experience on the stage (Brian was in the Broadway production of The Little Mermaid and Les Miserables) and screen (both have appeared in feature films). But for now, their focus remains on music.
Culling inspiration from the '60s, '70s and '80s, The Lemon Twigs' motley ensembles are constantly in flux.
When asked about the meaning behind their androgynous flair or whether there's a message behind Michael's experimentation with makeup, The Lemon Twigs respond with a teenage indifference. "That's just stuff that I like that I noticed my musical heroes doing," said Michael. "I haven't done it as intensely for awhile, literally just because I haven't been listening to a lot of music where the people did that. It doesn't really go with the music that I'm making or the vibe that I'm going for in my clothes."
He added that some fans were disappointed when he stopped wearing as much makeup, but "it doesn't really make a difference to me."
The boys' interest in style, however, does not equate to an interest in the goings on of the world of fashion. When asked if they had any favorite designers, perhaps a colorful character like Gucci's Alessandro Michele or a brash mouthpiece like Kanye West, Michael replied, "Definitely not. I don’t know anything about designers. I know that when we do fashion magazines, they bring a lot of designer clothes and I usually don’t like most of them. I try to bring my own stuff as much as they let me."
As for his style icon, Brian chimed in, "You know, I think Carl Sagan had really cool style." (I can't discern if he's joking or if the late astrophysicist and floppy-haired turtleneck crusader was truly a style icon for the teen, though a photo of the elder D'Addario wearing a pale blue turtleneck sweater under a cognac blazer leads me to believe he isn't kidding.)
Michael is the one who does most of the shopping for the duo. Though he declined to name the Long Island treasure trove from which they source most of their vintage finds ("I don't want to blow up that spot there"), he gave a shout-out to L Train in New York, as well as a few West Coast stores, including Iguana Vintage and Possession Vintage in Los Angeles.
"My vintage shopping strategy is to have patience, and not go with a lot of people because then you feel pressure to leave," he added.
With their relaxed, go-with-the-flow attitude towards style, it came as no surprise that the siblings didn't have anything special planned for their debut Coachella performance on Friday afternoon, even just a week before the gig. "I'm just going to wear something I've never worn before," said Michael, noting that neither brother works with a stylist. "I'll just try to wear something a little different than I would for a regular show, I guess."