On the eve of their performance at Macy’s Glamorama, I caught up with pop duo Karmin’s Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan. Their set for Macy’s annual fall fashion extravaganza fund raiser will include current hit “Brokenhearted,” along with their next single “Hello,” and, you can be sure, a sample of covers—which was how they first shot to YouTube fame. They haven’t yet chosen outfits for the show, but they are starting to measure success in piles of clothes.
Glamorama isn’t just a concert, it’s a fall fashion preview. Does that up the wardrobe pressure?
Nick: I will be wearing the suicide roll.
Since you brought it up, let’s talk about Amy’s signature hairstyle. Now that you’re known for it, are you stuck with it?
Amy: It is my trademark, but I’m experimenting with new things, and modernizing the look.
Nick: It’s important to evolve.
Is it hard to do your hair?
Amy: I do it every day. I am the woman behind the suicide roll. It only takes five to seven minutes. There’s a tutorial on YouTube.
Yes, you’re up to 1.5 million views. But why didn’t you set the instructions to music?
Amy: We should really do that.
Do the two of you coordinate your stage looks?
Amy: We’re definitely conscious of that—we don’t want to be too matchy-matchy, but we like to incorporate the same colors and themes. We’ve always been very creative—in one of our early YouTube videos we both wore neckties, or once there was a scarf as a shirt. One of my biggest influences is Gwen Stefani—she’s such a strong feminine figure, but not too feminine.
Nick: I’m starting to get a better handle on fashion. Growing up in Maine, fashion is not exactly on the forefront of everyone’s mind. But it’s always been interesting to me.
What are some favorite brands?
Nick: All Saints, American Apparel, H&M, Gap for jeans, and Levi’s too. For shoes, I like a lot of hip-hop inspired Reebok and Nikes–anything big and obnoxious.
Amy: I’m not as much of a brand junkie. I love prints—crazy tribal patterns, neons, I pull anything from anywhere.
Don’t you have people to take care of the “pulling” of clothes now that you’re on the charts?
Amy: We do get “gifts” now . . . we’ve even had fans and supporters make things and send to us. We’re form relationships with brands—pinpointing what we wear, and what doesn’t fit our image well. I’m sitting here now, looking at couch heaping with clothing. I need a bigger closet. My little sister is in hog heaven—I’ve been sending her a package every month.
British Invasion is the theme for Glamorama…would you ever cover the Beatles?
Amy: I’d be so scared about covering the Beatles. They’re one of the most covered groups of all times.
Nick: It has to be very different. Rufus Wainwright did a few things and did good job. But all that music is incredible, it really can never be duplicated.
What do you make of the “Call Me Maybe” remake phenomenon?
Nick: When you have four of the biggest teen stars in the world make a cover to endorse your song, it’s a good start. It just took on a life of it’s own and became a joke that was kind of serious.
Amy: Some of the biggest songs of all time start out silly. Like Outkast’s “Hey Ya”—what does that even mean? But it’s such a huge song.
Any song you are hankering to cover right now?
Nick: We’re not focusing on covers at all lately. But “We are Young” by Fun is a good song. I also love “Glad You Came” by the Wanted.
What else is in heavy rotation on your iPod?
Nick: Over breakfast, we listened to a power playlist with Dr. Dre, Kanye and Jay-Z.
Amy: I love heavy hip hop in the morning.
Nick: But then we go back to John Mayer, a lot of Coldplay, and the classics. We’re genre whores.
Glamorama is Friday, Aug. 3, 8 p.m. at the Orpheum Theatre. For tickets, go to macys.com/glamorama