I was first introduced to folk-pop duo March to May by Michael Stover of MTS Management Group who also got me hooked on Country singer Amy Rose. When I took a listen to March to May I was also hooked to them. I am so excited to be able to share this interview with you because not only is March to May a talented group, they are so enthusiastic about their music, how can you not get engulfed by their debut EP The Water's Edge! Click here to purchase on Amazon and click here to purchase on iTunes!
1. Who or what inspired you to be musicians/singers? Both of us have been musical ever since we were children – music has been a huge part of our lives since before we can remember. Darren played classical piano as a child, and both of us sang in choirs from a young age. As a teenager, Beth started playing the harp and training as a classical vocalist. We’ve always loved music, but the spark didn’t really take off until we met each other and started playing together. We were definitely inspired by other artists, though – Tori Amos and Damien Rice have been big influences, in particular.
2. You first met in December 2012, but didn't start collaborating as March to May until 2013. What was the moment when you were like "Let's do this?" We actually didn’t know we both played music until a few weeks after we met – then, we were out on the Washington coast with some friends and Darren started singing one of his songs and Beth started harmonizing. It was definitely a surprise for both of us, but things really took off. We started playing around with some instrumental and vocal riffs, and by March we’d written our first couple of songs. We played our first show in April, and it was pretty clear we had something special going on. By May, we’d made the decision to move forward as a band. So it took a few weeks for us to get started, but once the spark hit things moved pretty quickly.
3. What has been the best part about working together? The level of trust and communication we’ve been able to maintain around our music. Neither of us has really co-written before, so this has been a new experience, but a really wonderful one. We work together really, really well, which is something we’re deeply thankful for. There’s a kind of joy in just doing the work of the business together, as well as writing and playing and performing together. That’s a pretty rare thing to say about any partnership. So we count ourselves pretty lucky.
4. You just released your debut EP The Water's Edge. What excites you most about having your debut EP out, available, for the world to hear? It feels like we finally have something to offer the world in ways that our live performances can’t. When we play a song live, hearing the music is tied to being physically present in a space, watching two people embody the sound. That’s a pretty powerful experience – but you have to be there. Having music available online and on a CD means that anyone can listen to it, no matter when or where. It seems obvious, but it represents a HUGE difference in terms of how people can enjoy our music. In a funny way, it gives the music more of a chance to take on a life of its own.
5. What was your favorite part of the creative process in putting this EP together? Being able to get really into the process of how a song is made. We had a lot of say in the production of the songs, as well, which was exciting because it gave us the chance to look at the bones of each song and every little thing that fleshes it out to become the piece of music that you hear through your speakers when the recording’s done. When we play live, we’re thinking about the music much more intuitively – when we record, though, we’re looking at each piece of a song analytically. We’re not sure we’d say we like the recording process MORE than playing live, but it’s definitely a different – and interesting! – experience.
6. If you could give people one reason as to why they should purchase The Water's Edge, what would that reason be? If you believe the reviews (and you should!) – The Water’s Edge is just a beautiful album. Enough said. It’s great for listening to on a mellow evening, and we’ve heard from several fans that it’s great road trip music! Click here to purchase on Amazon and click here to purchase on iTunes!
7. You are currently on tour on the West Coast. What do you like most about performing live and meeting your fans? It’s really inspiring to be able to play for people and hear about the different experiences they are reminded of by our music. Ultimately, what we’re aiming for is to write songs that people can identify with and use as lenses for the way they see or interpret the world. Touring is a lot of fun because we can talk to people from so many different places and so many different backgrounds, and still see our music having an impact. Fundamentally, we both also really like meeting new people, and touring gives us the opportunity to do that as well as to explore different parts of the world.
8. What's the best advice you've ever received? Play a show to an audience of five people with the same love, passion, and professionalism as you would to a crowd of 500. They won’t forget it.
9. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? That’s a tough one. Probably the ability to slow down time? There’s so much to do and see in the world! It’s a blessing and a curse.
10. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it, and what ingredients would you put in it? Haha, someone actually did that for us at one venue! Darren and I are both fans of the whiskey family – whiskey, bourbon, rye, scotch – so we’d definitely go in that direction for the base. We’d probably base it off of one of the best cocktails we’ve had here in our hometown of Seattle: bourbon for smoothness and strength, Angostura bitters, black tea for mellow complexity, apricot liqueur for brightness and depth, orange peel, and nutmeg. We’d call it "Embers," after the first song we wrote together.
When is the right time to take a chance? Who are the right people? What are the right conditions? March to May was born under unusual circumstances. Neither Darren nor Beth realized the musical potential they shared when they first met in December 2012. It took several chance encounters -- passing vocal harmonies on a trip to the coast with friends, tentative instrumental work one cold winter evening, comments here and there on lyrics and melody -- before the spark hit. But when it did, it didn't take long for them to catch fire. By March 2013 they had co-written their first two songs, by April they had a paid gig under their belts, and by May they had a name and shows booked out into the months ahead. Both halves of the duo are passionate about the music they write and play, and view March to May as a constant evolution; from pursuing collaborations with other artists (with styles ranging from classical to hip hop and electronica) and keeping an ear attuned to the myriad ways they can expand the range and expression of their own music, their primary interest is to keep the music fresh and personal. And, above all, to keep love - love for the music, love for each other, love for the world they live in - at their core.
Darren roamed the northern Appalachians through his childhood, plinking & plunking the classical keys until he ventured West to his birth-state of Montana, settling in Missoula to finish a degree in Geography. One evening on an old, historic homestead in the hills north of town, he picked up a friend’s guitar and began strumming, teaching himself how to play a few chords, finger-picking his way through the frets, and forever changing his musical expression.
Soon after, he headed south on an open-ended ticket to South America, criss-crossing the Andes until finally resting for a month on a small goat farm in Patagonia. Here, on long rainy nights straight out of Márquez’s 100 Years of Solitude, he borrowed an old guitar from Matias, the owner of the little farm, and began writing songs in a small, dilapidated cabin over many glasses of cheap, Chilean red wine.
His vagabond days came to a close after falling in love with Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, where he now spends his days wandering the mountains, and his nights playing music with the newfound collaboration March to May.
Beth spent her formative years wandering through the Andes and across a smattering of U.S. states. The daughter of a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, she stayed in each place just long enough to fall in love with it before moving on to the next adventure. Music wove its way through her life from an early age - she sang in choirs from elementary school to college, beginning classical voice training and starting to sing a cappella as she grew older. While living in Ashland, Oregon, she picked up the Celtic folk harp and found herself captivated by the sound. However, a few short years after beginning to play, she moved to the East Coast, leaving her harp silent in her family’s living room for five years and largely convincing herself that music would have to take a back seat in her life.
In December 2012, though, things changed: she moved back to the West Coast, settling a few short blocks from the little acoustic instrument store in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood where her harp was created many years before. Perhaps she should have taken it as a sign. Within a few short weeks, music surged back into the forefront of her life when she found another musician with whom she shared an unmistakable musical chemistry, and she began to question how she had ever left it behind to begin with. And thus, March to May was born.