By C. Price
If one was going to use the terms organic, singer/songwriters, multifaceted, arts and married couple I’d bet the farm they were speaking about husband and wife duo, Daniel and Lauren Goans, known as Lowland Hum.
These North Carolina natives are out in support of their album Native Air. With standout tracks like “War Is Over”, “My House Is Empty”, “Albatross” and “Noise of Day” you’ll discover the rich harmonies and the no frills recording style of this folk inspired work. It reminds me of sitting in the kitchen as my friends play and sing as the sun fades from the day.
“Part songwriter, part artist, the duo has crafted a multi-sensory performance experience that provides a fertile space for audience members to connect with their art and with a each other as fellow listeners.” – Lowland Hum
I had the great opportunity to speak to Daniel and Lauren about their Lowland Hum.
How is the tour going for you guys so far?
We have thoroughly enjoyed the tour so far. The kickoff show for the tour was in our hometown and we enjoyed making it a big deal, complete with a handmade circus tent, a new installation, home brewed beer, and new handmade lyric books. We are playing our fifth show tonight in Durham, NC on a particularly grey day. We’ve been overwhelmed and encouraged by all the positive responses to the music. We’ve been chomping at the bit all summer to share these new songs and enjoying reinterpreting them live for people at our shows. Before this tour, we’d been touring with records that were mostly made by myself with a few duets including Lauren. It’s a big relief to now be touring with Native Air which better represents us both.
Did you have a passion for music before you two knew each other? Did you record music before or had other band projects?
Daniel has been pursuing a career in music for the past ten years in various bands and forms, the most recent being his solo work. I have always been passionate about music and loved its ability to move me more than anything else, but was too shy and self-conscious to pursue it in any up-front way. After overhearing me singing to myself at a party we were both at (I thought no one could hear me), Daniel invited me to sing with him on one of his albums. Without Daniel’s gentle prodding, I doubt I would have ever gained the courage to explore this side of myself. I am very thankful for the loving ways that he challenges me. –Lauren
How important is the art aspect on your shows and what reactions do you get from the audience?
At our shows we employ handmade lyric books and the new installation as art works for our audiences to interact with. We want to give people as many ways to access the songs as possible. Not only do we find it helpful to be able to read along when listening to songs, but we think that something is gained by having a physical object in your hands. The tactile connection is just as much a part of it all. We hope that the installation helps the performance spaces feel set apart and give the audience a visual to focus on besides ourselves. After many shows, people often thank us for offering the option to read the lyrics. They say it helps them connect more deeply with the songs. –Lauren
On the description for your album “Native Air” you said most of the songs were written about your first year of marriage. Was it difficult to put that on paper or an easy way to express all kinds of feelings?
During the writing and recording of this album, we noticed that the most beautiful moments came on the far side of tension. We approach most aspects of our music and performance from two different creative angles and perspectives and we have learned a ton about communication in the last year and a half. I think we both were nervous that if we both brought our ideas to the table and combined them we might end up with a diminished version of both of us. My experience is the opposite. Lauren’s additions have augmented and deepened the craft, offering push back on the ways I naturally do things, which has resulted in more thoughtful approaches. –Daniel
Do you have side jobs or is music your main profession at this time?
For the past year or so, music has been our full time profession, although Lauren has done the occasional design job and I’ve produced five or six projects for bands and songwriters that we’ve met. –Daniel
What’s your favorite track of the album and why?
The songs weren’t all written in mind of each other but once we decided which ones would be a part of Native Air and in what order, it has been hard to separate them out from one another. To me they feel like one whole, not fourteen individual moments. With that in mind, the process of arranging and recording the two Edens, was particularly exciting for us. –Lauren
If you could choose any artist who would be the one you would prefer working with and why?
Lauren and I developed a love for Toulouse Lautrec when we were visiting a friend of ours in France. She was teaching English in a town called Albi which just happened to be Lautrec’s home town. We had the privilege of seeing a museum dedicated to his work and it was breathtaking. What struck us so deeply was his honesty. He often painted raucous scenes from Moulin Rouge and various other Paris cabarets. The scenes could have been simply packed with sensuality and coarse energy, and, while those elements are present, he also brings out grotesqueness in the scenes. He achieves this effect through almost comic oversimplifications and exaggerations. I got the sense that he was well acquainted with sadness. It also appeared to us both that Lautrec was simultaneously drawn to the cabarets and disgusted by the spectacle of them. In his paintings, he is implicating himself in the grotesqueness and I think that takes courage. I think we could learn a great deal from collaboration with an artist who understands the necessity for that level of honesty. –Daniel
What comes after “Native Air” and the current tour?
Our hope is to do a short EP toward the end of this year and then do another tour in early 2014. I’ve been brainstorming some ways for us to maybe make it out west and/or to Europe! We would love to do both. After touring for the first few months of 2014, we hope to take a few different songwriting trips to work on new material for the next album. Some of the material that we have been working on since Native Air may require a lot more composition and so we want to try to work in some time for arrangement. –Daniel
Three things that are still on your bucket list?
Not sure we have an exact bucket list, but there are lots of things that we’ve talked about wanting to do someday! Here are three:
- We’d love to have a garden that supplies a significant amount of our diet
- We’d like to live somewhere in Europe for a decent amount of time, maybe a few years.
- We heard about these treehouses in Costa Rica that have a zero carbon footprint. We’d really enjoy staying in one for a bit someday.-Lauren
Three songs that will be part of your life forever?
Man, this is a tough one. Here’s an attempt at an answer:
“Astral Weeks” – Van Morrison
“Song for Woody” – Bob Dylan
“The Big Payback” – James Brown –Lauren & Daniel
Worst venue you’ve ever played in?
We were once scheduled for a tour in Florida of heavy metal venues. Our music just didn’t work very well in those spaces, so I’d just pick one of those as the “worst live experience”. I think the venues would have been great…if we played music in a different genre. – Daniel
One Nasty habit you can’t live without?
We are trying to live without our nasty habits. One is late night popcorn binges. Actually, that one we won’t live without. The rest have got to go though. –Lauren
Would you leave your phone at home for at least one day?
Yes. I hope to for many days in the future! Lauren already does this on a regular basis. –Daniel
To catch Lowland Hum on the road, click HERE!
On Facebook, click HERE!
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