The biggest thing the average 15-year-old has to worry about is what colour to paint their nails or the 750-word paper due for their history class. That isn't the case for the two founders of Toronto Indie Rock group Moscow Apartement. 15 and 16-years-old, Brighid Fry and Pascale Padilla are paving the way for young musicians in Toronto.
The two teens still have two more years left before graduating at Rosedale Heights Scool of the Arts but that hasn't stopped their cross Canadian domination. The girls self-titled and EP has received much critical acclaim for the complex melodies and themes. The EP won the Its Your Short Radio contest in 2018 which came with a whopping $100,000 prize package including cash and career development opportunities. They have also been awarded Young Performers of the Year in 2017 at the Canadian Folk Music Awards, Stingray Music Rising Star Award 2017, and Young Songwriter(s) of the Year at the 2017 Toronto Independent Music Awards. The duo has also graced the stage of multiple festivals including Winterfolk, Hillside fest in Guelph, and the Winnipeg Folk Festival.
Fry and Pascale attribute their success to their friendship in many ways, though they also value individual time apart. They originally met in their youth but followed different paths as many young friends do. Fry remembers “we originally met in choir when we were young, basically because of carpooling. Then we met again a couple of years later in this songwriter’s ‘Girls and Guitars’ group. Only after Fry released her first solo EP at twelve years old did the girls reconnect with Pascale attending Fry’s shows a huge fan. Pascale would yell out song requests mid-show and the two would talk for hours afterwards. The two started collaborating artistically in no time finding their platonic chemistry magnified by melody.
When it came to naming the duo the girls took inspiration from a unique source. When looking through a book of photographs Padilla explained that they came upon an especially poignant image of an old Russian man standing outside of a dreary bleak building. The photo was captioned Moscow apartment and the girls felt like it was something different and unique to represent their duo.
Even though the girls have become indie darlings that doesnt excuse them from the mundanity of highschool life. They try to balance the courseload of their prestigious school but have been given a few accommodations one might not afford without musical fame. Padilla only takes six classes a year and finds her teachers to be pretty accommodating when it comes to tests and gigs. Fry also believes her teachers try their best but finds it to be a more case by case basis. School can be hard enough without balancing a blossoming career, but it speaks to both Padilla and Fry’s maturity that they seem to handle it with grace.
A disadvantage of being such young artists in the industry is the lack of free agency and full-time jobs to finance the expensive recording process. The two have been working diligently on writing and producing a sophomore album taking their time to perfect every aspect. Unfortunately, recording time is an expensive necessity so Padilla and Fry like to make sure they are efficient and prepared for every track.
The group isn't regulated to just one genre and has shown that through their flexible but still personal tracks. Most of their songs are rooted within folk with simple but haunting melodies and soft vocals but don't be surprised when the young writers draw from multiple influences. The girls say that as teenagers they have been drawn more to indie rock in their personal lives but still are inspired by the likes of Joni Mitchell. Their newest single orange features a horn section giving the tune a sunny feeling along with the peppy melody.
The duo has one professional music video for the first single of their first EP. The song Annie is a poignant statement about media and young girls’ perceptions of themselves. What better group to talk about insecurities than those at a pivotal and nerve wracking time in life? The two espouse their modern feminism with the idealism of young people who are facing the world and their peers. The imagery in the video compliments the message as well, adding meaningful visuals and the girls dancing along. These messages are adamantly clear in the chorus as they sing “keep your hands off my body Annie” while tearing up pin-up style advertisements. Annie being a controversial term for the eating disorder anorexia a concerning commonality for insecure teen girls.
In a time of social media is ever accessible to young people they are ever increasingly at risk to distorted images presented as beauty standards. Teen girls now have this local group to tell them its ok and how its a universal fear to conquer together. That is the best part of Moscow Apartment, they are genuinely themselves in every instance and it comes across in every video.
Every song by Moscow Apartment is more than just chords and flirting vocals, they contain a narrative spun with delicate and visceral language. Many of the songs written by Moscow Apartment feature a name that both represents the song and people like “Francis and Isobel” and “Caroline”. Both of these songs portray explicit narratives the former inspired by a plant passed from the ownership of one girl to another. The duo claims its easier to write songs in this style personifying their feelings and transforming them into the protagonist.
Moscow Apartment are the perfect example of the power youth hold in the creative industry. Though they have only 15 years of experience their songs span decades of emotions and complexities with a maturity unheard of for Grade 10. The best part is this is only the beginning, the Toronto natives will continue to evolve and evoke emotion in adoring crowds for years to come. You can follow Moscow Apartment on Instagram Twitter and their Website.