‘THANK God I document my life in such an annoying way,” laughs Lisa Macfarlane, as she scrolls through her Instagram photos in a bid to remember exactly what 2013 entailed.
As she talks through the stories behind the snaps, it’s clear why she is struggling to remember exactly what DJ-ing duo The Mac Twins have been up to.
From signing to a talent agency which represents Radio 1 star Scott Mills, to joining country starlet Taylor Swift on tour, 2013 has certainly been busy for the Edinburgh twins, who grew up in Buckstone and attended Boroughmuir High.
Since the Evening News interviewed Lisa and Alana, 25, at the start of the year, they have been making a name for themselves in every showbiz medium you could think of – TV, radio, presenting, hosting, modelling and of course their main passion – DJ-ing.
Much to their delight, their DJ careers have really taken off, having developed their own niche – with themselves as their unique selling point. They have broken into the student union market, secured their own monthly club night at Edinburgh’s Why Not? on George Street and have been flown to far-flung destinations to perform, including a five-night stint at the exclusive Lotus Club in Marrakech.
“They got us two big suites in the hotel, but we were too scared to sleep in our different ones so we shared a room instead,” laughs Lisa.
This attitude is typical of the down-to-earth twins, who are just as happy spending a quiet night with their parents as they are entertaining thousands in London’s top nightclubs.
“We played a student night in Dundee and there were life-sized posters of us up all over. It was crazy,” says Lisa. “I phoned my mum and she was like ‘well that’s nice but remember to keep your feet on the ground’, so we always do.”
Hard to stay grounded, some might think, when their typical working day can involve rubbing shoulders with top celebrities, presenting award ceremonies, spearheading charity campaigns and spending the day at Radio 1.
On top of this, Alana, a professional dancer who trained at Telford College, has launched her own business, Mac Masterclasses, which brings stars of the West End to youngsters in Edinburgh.
The twins also presented backstage at the 2013 Loaded Laftas comedy awards, where they interviewed comedians Alan Carr and Keith Lemon, X Factor’s Rylan Clark and actor Warwick Davis to name but a few. “The food at the awards ceremony was taking ages to arrive,” recalls Lisa, “and everyone was getting a bit drunk. Keith Lemon turned into an absolute riot. We were at the table beside him and everything was just getting spilled everywhere.”
But it’s not all been fun and games. At the end of June, Lisa contracted E.coli and a kidney infection and ended up in the high dependency unit of a London hospital. Her recovery was long and even now she is feeling the after-effects.
“I have to take things easy and I do get tired easily,” she says. “It’s amazing how long an infection like that can take to recover from. It puts everything into perspective.”
Following her health scare, Lisa decided she needed a holiday. But unlike some who might have opted for a week by a pool, she jumped on her pal Ed Sheeran’s tour bus and became a “glorified groupie” while he toured the US with singer-songwriter Taylor Swift.
“It was really cool,” says Lisa. “Taylor Swift is absolutely massive in America. Ed was her support and it was a proud moment to see him do that. ”
Although still in their youth, the twins feel they have done a lot of growing up recently. Alana has moved out of the North London flat she shared with Lisa and their friends to set up home with her boyfriend, impressionist Luke Kempner, and her showbiz dog Pongo – who starred in the Legally Blonde stage show.
“Mum calls the dog The Ornament,” laughs Lisa. “Alana dresses him up in wee pink jumpers and carries him in a handbag because he’s so wee he can’t walk very far.
“Although Alana’s moved out, she’s only five minutes down the road. I go to her house all the time to play with the dog and because hers is warmer. She has a penthouse serviced apartment with a gym. She has made it!”
Both Lisa and Alana agree that one of their biggest achievements of 2013 has been securing their monthly club night at Why Not? It not only gives them a platform to show their talents, but the perfect excuse to come home and descend on their parents, Fiona and Kenny Macfarlane.
“It’s going really well”, says Lisa. “It’s absolutely rammed every time we play. Tables sell out the week before and there are queues down the street.
“Work-wise, it can be brutal in this industry, but mum and dad are so good at being real constants and giving us really good advice. When we come home it’s a wee safe haven.”
Alana is also more than happy that their DJ gigs have taken the direction they have this year. “DJ-ing is where we are really coming into our own,” she says. “For me, when we were doing [Mayfair club] Whisky Mist it was heads down, play the music, but now at student gigs it’s more like a show, you’re going on the mic and there’s a lot more audience interaction. When I stopped dancing I didn’t think I would ever be able to get that performance buzz again but these kinds of DJ gigs that we have done have been quite like that.”
And the twins are about to add another string to their bow as they embark on a new career as columnists for the Evening News, beginning on Thursday.
“We enjoy speaking about youth issues and political issues,” says Alana.
“It’s difficult for us being blonde-haired twins as it produces quite a lot of stigma, so it’s good for people to see a different side of us.”