“The look in your eyes tells me this is a bad idea,” were the exact words of their sound engineer.
Not only would that phrase go on to be the album’s title, it sums up the folk-pop duo that performed at last year’s Mile of Music and was a smash hit at the Women Shine concert.
Recently, we sat down with them and discussed their history, the nuts and bolts of making an album, and the phenomenal friendship that began their musical adventure.
Eve and Melissa met while waiting tables in Freeport, Illinois. The job was painfully boring, so the two started freestyle rapping back and forth to pass the time.
“We rapped for probably fifteen minutes about Eve’s broken foot,” Melissa recalls. “At that point we were laughing so hard we were crying. I didn’t want to leave that situation because it was so much fun and I wanted Eve to have a broken foot forever because it gave me so much information.”
Their first musical venture was at an open mic night doing covers of the American “freak folk” band CocoRosie under the name, “BoboMosie.” (A last minute decision.)
As they continued playing together, they started writing original songs. Melissa had been making music for years, but Eve hadn’t really sung or written songs before Melissa “pulled it out” of her. From there, the floodgates opened. “I don’t think we planned to be in a band, it just kind of happened,” Melissa says. “We realized we both had skills we didn’t know we had.”
Their first ever concert was in 2011 with Eve rocking out on an orthopedic boot. (Yes, from the broken foot that inspired the freestyle rapping.) Soon after, they released their first album, the self-titled, “Seasaw.”
Melissa is persistent, confident, and delights in making people laugh while Eve is charismatic, observant, and sees things others can’t. With an upbeat folky vibe and spot on harmonies, it’s hard to resist the humor and the heart of Seasaw.
“I’ve tried to play music with a couple of other friends,” Eve says. “There’s something magical that happens when me and Melissa are together.”
Running a band is no picnic, especially now that getting together means traversing the distance between Madison and La Crosse. Both women juggle full-time jobs and a two and a half hour commute.
“Being in a band is just like having a second full-time job,” Melissa says. “It’s a lot of work.”
Seasaw has already released two albums—the self-titled “Seasaw” and “The Look in Your Eyes Tells Me This is a Bad Idea.” Their first album was created while Melissa was attending the Madison Media Institute where the pair were lucky to have the donated time and efforts of their friends along with their own. For their second album, they relied on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo, raising a total of $1400.
One song that showcases their unique blend of talents is “Coincidence.” It tells the story of a woman trying to convince herself that she’s in love but realizing that every sign the two of them should be together is just, well, coincidence. It’s cheeky, irreverent, and soulful at the same time.
“Most of the songs I’ve written recently are about knowing that you shouldn’t be doing something but doing it anyway,” Eve says.
At the end of the day, the strength of Seasaw comes from the strong friendship between the two band members.
Perhaps one defining moment of their friendship was as simple as Eve returning from teaching abroad and knowing that Melissa was the first person she wanted to see.
“I just remember when I went back to see her, she was so burnt from Lollapalooza she looked like a lobster,” Eve says. “That’s when I knew we were going to be friends.”
Seasaw performed at Mile of Music last year, playing seven times in four days. During that time, they were blown away by the support they received from the community.
“Appleton has the most welcoming and receptive music lovers,” Eve says. “It was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had.”
But perhaps the best moment they can recall in performing was at the Women Shine concert at the Appleton Performing Arts Center. Playing for an enormous crowd and blinded by the stage lights, they actually got a standing ovation . . . but didn’t realize it until people told them the next morning.
“I have never felt that humble or welcome before,” Melissa says.
Currently, the women are hard at work on their third album. But despite the drive, the cost, and the time it takes to build a fan base, the two of them have only gotten started making music.
“Part of our performance is being honest about who we are,” Melissa says. “It’s not just the songs that we’re performing, it’s the whole package. We try to hide it and bury it down deep but it keeps coming out.”