Aly & AJ Michalka's first music video, "Rush," debuted in 2006 — and now, they're looking back on the track with EW.
The duo stopped by the studio to revisit their earliest music video and discuss their newest one, "With Love From."
Aly and AJ were excited to film "Rush" in Hawaii, and are retrospectively stunned by the scale of the project. "I'm sure the budget of this video was insane," Aly tells EW. "So now, as an independent artist, I'm looking at this going, 'Why did we waste this much money on this video?'"
"I think the surf idea was kind of an interesting concept cuz it's like two girls from California experiencing the rush of life, but also the rush of waves," AJ says. "There was this comparison to how a wave made you feel, so we decided 'Rush' made sense with that concept."
The sisters, just 16 and 14 when the video was shot, weren't totally familiar with every concept in the video before production began. "We're counting our cash cuz we were busking, which, we didn't even know what that meant in the video," Aly reveals. "We were like 'What is that?' They were like 'Oh gosh, they're young. They don't know this.' Yeah, we're babies in this."
AJ's favorite part of the video came later on. "I personally really love the evening stuff by the bonfire," she says. "I love the lighting, I think it's done really well, I love that we're in like hoodies. Like, there's just something really cute about that moment. It feels very early-2000s. Those are really low-slung jeans."
The pair wasn't responsible for many of the creative choices for the project — many of the concepts were put forth by director Marc Webb, who went on to helm 500 Days of Summer and the Amazing Spider-Man movies. But they do remember contributing one creative idea in particular. "One thing that we added into the concept was the sand. Which is… that actually is kinda cringy where it's like, we're collecting sand from all these different [places]," Aly says. "And also there's one that says 'Canada.' It's like, okay, we went to a Canadian beach? And we were like 'We need to get sand from Canada.'"
The performers also discuss their new music video for "With Love From," which they shot in Marfa, Texas. "[Marfa] is like a really special gem that most people don't really know about. It's like a really cool artist community, small town about six hours outside of Dallas," Aly says. There's also a lot of footage from Las Vegas — and they reveal that they were kicked out of one location there for shooting video without permission. "We're a little drunk in some of these shots, which is actually funny," Aly admits.
The sisters agree that their independence as artists has made them feel more creatively liberated. "We're really in charge of all of the visuals when it comes to imagery, to the font, to merch, our setlist — every aspect of Aly & AJ as a whole is decided by us, which feels very empowering," Aly says. "And I don't think we had that kind of freedom back in the day when we were kids."
"I do feel like there's a challenge with recreating your old music and making it feel new and fresh again," AJ adds. "[At] all these shows coming up, we play 'Rush' and 'With Love From' and they actually fit really well together because we've made 'Rush' feel like it's a current part of our music. So it'll be sweet to now have these side-by-side live."
Overall, the duo has nothing but positive feelings toward the "Rush" video. "We looked natural in it, we didn't look like made-up Disney dolls," AJ shares. "I really have an appreciation for where that chapter of our career took us."
"There's no regrets on that, I don't think, which feels nice," Aly says.
Watch Aly & AJ's full reactions to "Rush" and "With Love From" above.
With reporting by Jess Leon.
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