The women of Madison Violet, Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac, have a new album out: Sleigh Bells in the Snow. It’s their first holiday album (recorded during a sweltering heatwave this July) and it succeeds in putting an original spin on timeless classics like “Blue Christmas,” “Deck The Halls” and “Frosty The Snowman” (featuring the legendary Ron Sexsmith). We’re totally diggin’ it.
We chatted with the girls of Madison Violet about the holidays, Trump, and finding boners.
SDTC: What should we be paying more attention to?
L: Our parents.
What was the last Netflix series you binged on?
B: Stranger Things.
L: Bojack Horseman.
One new thing you learned this year?
B: I don’t believe in death. It’s really just changing trains and onto another adventure.
L: That it is okay to not be okay.
What is your favourite family holiday tradition?
B: Watching my mom loose her noodle when my dad gets out the little antique sleigh bells we’ve had forever and starts dancing around the house jingling them. Sounds amazing for the first minute. Then you just want it to stop. Happens without fail, every year.
L: The ‘one gift rule’ on Christmas Eve! I spend days squeezing and shaking the presents under the tree so that I can pick the perfect one to open just before going to bed on Christmas Eve. I work long and hard to make sure it’s a doozy!
How do you recharge your batteries?
B: I spend time a lot of time walking with my dog, and I paint.
L: In the summer, playing tennis makes me feel alive. Even though I’m actually expending energy, I definitely feel super-charged when I get off the court. I’m a hack, but I LOVE it! In the fall I love filling my little travel mug with diesel, putting on a toque and walking the Evergreen Brick Works trails.
Describe the funniest thing you’ve experienced in recent memory:
B: The last time I had a really good laugh was watching the second presidential debate and Trump said, “No, you’re the puppet,” like a cranky child on a playground. The fact that he could run, let alone win the presidency isn’t funny, but the puppet thing actually made me burst out laughing.
L: A fan came up to me after a show in France, and said, “You must be excited to go to bed and find a boner.” I said, “Pardon me?” She repeated it. I asked her again to explain, and she repeated it once again. I was a blushing a little, and laughing by this point. It was at that moment that our tour manager came up and translated. She was actually saying, in half-French and half-English, “You must be excited to go to bed and find a ‘bonheur.’” Bonheur means happiness! Oops! I must work on my French a little.
Best advice you’ve been given?
B: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. My mom taught me this.
L: Always go with your gut. If something feels a bit off, it usually is. Trust your intuition.
What is the best part of being your current age?
B: Not being afraid to admit what my age is.
L: Not being afraid to say what I feel.
What word or phrase should we use more often?
B: “Ermagerd.” Yep. Lisa and I agree on this one. It makes me laugh every time.
L: I’m four years behind the rest of the world, but I would say, “Er-mah-gerd.” It was the word of the tour, until our tour manager banned it from the van! Hehe. That and “Thank you.”
What would be your ideal Christmas Day scenario?
B: Being with my whole family on Christmas morning wherever that may be.
L: Waking up to snow falling. There is nothing better than seeing a light fresh white dusting of snow on the ground on Christmas morning.
What one item would you be lost without (besides your phone)?
B: I’m back to using an actual physical day timer and I love it!
L: My phone charger. No, definitely my fiddle.
Weirdest thing in your purse right now?
B: A test tube full of lovely bath salts from a hotel spa we stayed in about three weeks ago in Switzerland. Why is it my purse?
L: A half dozen packages of Nutella from a hotel breakfast in Vienna. Oh, and a Ziploc full of SIM cards. I feel like a spy every time I cross a border and put a new SIM in.
What trends are you loving right now?
B: Hillary won the popular vote! Oh, did you mean fashion? ;o)
L: I love the bomber jacket look. You can dress it up or down. Simple black. Metallics. Embroidered intricate designs. Oversized. It’s a super versatile piece.
Best Christmas present you ever received when you were a kid?
B: I remembering wanting cross country skis so badly and on Christmas morning when I tore open one of the presents and found ski boots and no skis I was devastated. After conceding that I’d have to wait for the following year for the skis, my dad pulled open the living room curtains behind the Christmas tree and revealed my new shiny red skis. I jumped so high, I almost hit the ceiling.
L: When I was fourteen, my parents were a little sombre about the fact that my brother, Ashley, wasn’t going to make it home from NY. It was going to be the first Christmas he missed, and he would be spending it alone at seventeen. It was closing in on 7 p.m. on Christmas eve, when a delivery truck showed up at the door, dropping off a new freezer. Ashley had sent us a new one to replace the one in our basement. As we all tried to figure out how to get the monstrosity down the stairs, Ashley jumped out of the box. It made our Christmas.
What do you love about Toronto?
B: I love all the different little neighbourhoods, the diversity, how often and how bright the sun seems to shine here and the fact that there are probably ten different cafes in my neighbourhood where I can get the perfect cup of coffee. Now if only I were allowed to bring my dog on a patio in the summertime like they can in Europe. In fact in Europe, they’re allowed in the restaurant! This needs some serious law reform. It just doesn’t fit with our city’s personality.
L: Everything. As soon as I land at YYZ and head downtown at night, the city lights make me feel all warm and fuzzy. It’s home.