Indie pop powerhouse He Is We unleashed their major label debut, My Forever, last year to overwhelming praise.While on tour alongside The Scene Aesthetic, Review Rinse Repeat staffer Tanya Gelman caught up with one half of the Tacoma, Washington based duo to discuss to the reception of the band's debut, the band's crossover into Simlish, and plans for this year.
[email protected]: Thank you for taking the time to sit down with us today. Could you please introduce yourself and give your role in He Is We?
Rachel Taylor: Rachel Taylor and I’m the singer/songwriter for He Is We.
[email protected]: How are you feeling today?
Rachel Taylor: I’m good! I’m really good. I’m hungry and happy and everyone’s jamming upstairs – it’s a good day.
[email protected]: You are currently on tour with The Scene Aesthetic. Though the tour is still in its infant stages, how’s it been so far?
Rachel Taylor: It’s been killer. It’s been unexpectedly, like, it shocks me. Because we’ve toured this area before and we weren’t really like drawing many kids, they didn’t really know who we were. And this next time, it’s been insane – it’s just naturally working.
[email protected]: You released My Forever at the end of last year, the first album on a major label, can you tell us what the writing and recording process was like for that album?
Rachel Taylor: A lot of people think it’s different, at least for us, it wasn’t any different. We wrote just like we always do, but this time it was more like “We’re putting you on a flight here, and then on a flight there.” So it was a little busier and we had a timeline, so it was a little more like homework schedule. I don’t know, we just naturally love writing together so it wasn’t really much of a chore. We got to work with some of our favorite producers and stuff that brought out a lot of different sides to us and we grew a lot.
[email protected]: Now that it’s been released for about 3 months, what kind of response have you seen from older He is We fans, as well as the newer ones?
Rachel Taylor: Again, it was just like one of those things where seeing, your baby, and then watching it just slowly but surely just grow. It’s been awesome. I didn’t expect to get such an incredible response. Our fans are better than anything I could have ever hoped for, they’re just so loyal and they really get us. I just feel really blessed to see where it has gone and where it’s going.
[email protected]: What made you decided to sign with Universal Motown, and how have you liked your time thus far with this label?
Rachel Taylor: It was kind of one of those things where we told ourselves we weren’t going to sign unless they allowed us to continue doing the music we wanted to do. And that’s exactly what happened. I don’t know how to explain it – they put the engine inside the machine. So everything was there, the foundation and everything, but we couldn’t really go anywhere. So they didn’t really change anything about us, they just gave us something so that we could get going.
[email protected]: What was it like working with Aaron Gillespie on the track, “All About Us”?
Rachel Taylor: We actually did it separately. He was in Florida at the time, but it was awesome because he is such an incredible artist and it was just a huge honor to work with someone like him. It was incredible.
[email protected]: What do you want people to take away from listening to He Is We?
Rachel Taylor: Anything they can. I don’t want them to look at it and just be stoked on it, I want it to actually move them, whatever song it is. I just want them to listen to it and go “You know what? I could have written that.” I want it to hit home for somebody.
[email protected]: I heard you recorded a version of “Happily Ever After” in Simlish – how was it singing a song that you know so well, but having to sing it in basically a completely different language? And how does it feel being on a game that so many kids grow up playing (myself included)?
Rachel Taylor: Well for what it’s worth, it took me 45 minutes to do. It was one of those things where they wrote it down, so I got to read it off the paper and lucky for me, they had it rhythmically, so I just picked it up. It was so weird. It was SO weird. It was really funny and slightly mortifying, but it really was just like “This is great. How many people can say that they’ve done their song in Simlish.”
[email protected]: With the increase of purchasing digital music, we’ve seen a decrease of purchasing physical music, whether it be vinyl or CDs. What are your thoughts on purchasing digital tracks rather than physical albums?
Rachel Taylor: I think, honestly, if I bought my favorite band’s CD online, I would want the physical copy at the same time. For us it hasn’t really been an issue. I think it really depends on what kind of fans you have. We want a relationship with our fans, so if they buy a CD, they want us to sign it, no matter what they have at home. So I’m not too worried about it, because we have awesome fans.
[email protected]: Have you guys ever thought of pressing vinyl since that seems to be the craze these days?
Rachel Taylor: Oh yeah, Yes. Absolutely. It’s definitely something we’re considering, it’s just a matter of, when, how, what songs. But it’s definitely on our to-do list.
[email protected]: I’ve seen that you guys really use Twitter to your full advantage to connect with fans across the world – has finding new fans and getting your music out to more people become easier since you first started the band?
Rachel Taylor: It’s weird, I think it’s kind of been the same. Because we started on MySpace, that is how we started. And I think the internet has kind of been our friend. I’m not very technologically advanced, like I’ve never used Twitter before I started the band, so I guess I’ve developed in more areas to try to connect with fans. So yeah, I guess you can say I’ve further matured as a business person. I’ve definitely learned how to outreach.
[email protected]: Since it’s still pretty early in the year, what does 2011 hold for He Is We? Have you begun writing in any way and if you have, what direction are you guys going in?
Rachel Taylor: God knows what. It really depends on how the record does. We try not to plan too far ahead because you never know what opportunities could arise. So I’m just thinking touring, touring, touring, and then we’re probably just going to be writing our butts off, hopefully for the next album. We write all the time, but I wouldn’t say it’s been “official writing for the new album.” So I think that’s probably what Trevor and I will end up doing – just seeing where we want to go with the new album, and just see what happens with this next baby.
[email protected]: Thanks for answering these questions, anything you want to add?
Rachel Taylor: Trevor and I are not dating. Everyone thinks that. Trevor IS a manly-man, whether or not people think so. And his hair is great.
My Forever is now available in stores and online and can be purchased here.