Making Noise w/ The Pairs
The Pairs may be a slightly unconventional grouping, but they come together to make beautiful noise – what some may call music – as is evident on their latest album release ‘Noise’. Let’s find out more about this Canadian band and their journey to music.
SB (StarBeat): Three Voices + Drummer = The Pairs: How did the group come together?
TP (The Pairs): You know those kids whose parents are best friends and by default, their kids have to be too? That was us. The three of us ladies were born to mothers who were best buds. Our families spent a lot of time together while we were growing up and the gatherings often revolved around music making. As we grew older, whenever we were together, music was just the thing we did together. It wasn’t until after we had all gone our separate ways for about five years that the sudden death of Hillary’s father brought us all back together again. Music was what we knew together. It was the thing that we did and it enabled us to be there for one another in a time of sadness and healing. From that time on it became a regular thing for us to play together. In September of 2016, our friend and drummer Steve, who had seen us play together a few times, summoned some courage from a bottle of rum and asked if he could join our jam sessions. The Pairs grew from then on. The more we played, the more people wanted to hear us play. We started booking real gigs and it’s continued to spiral from there. Now it seems as though it’s all we want to do!
SB: Making Noise: What was the inspiration for your new album ‘Noise’?
TP: As we alluded to above, music has always been heavily rooted in a sense of healing and wellbeing for us. When we began thinking about what stories we wanted to tell and what messages we hoped to give voice to with this album, everything seemed to tie into this one big theme, “Noise.” This collection of songs carries messages of hope, hilarity and hardship. Each song can be linked to challenges that we face as human beings living in a complex world. There is a dominant narrative that seems to dictate the general flow of things around us and when you don’t feel like you or something you believe fits within that flow, it tends to shake you. It makes noise. The stories we wanted to tell with this album are meant to build comradery. We hope that people can listen to the music and find something to belong to within it.
SB: Blending borders: Your music blends a few different genres, how do you achieve that?
TP: We really like this question! In addition to growing up in families who listened to a wide array of music all day–every day, we’d like to believe that we have that special amount of musical naivety. Although the three of us ladies are classically trained, our formal musical training ended quite a few years before we became The Pairs. A lot of what we create now comes from a place of letting go of working within a particular set of guidelines. With three songwriters in the group, we all influence one another and pull inspiration from different influences.
The Pairs becomes this big melting pot where we all get to throw our own interpretations of music at the same song and watch it evolve. When we arrange our music together, we rarely give each other specific instructions on how to build a particular sound. Instead, we all jump in with whatever the moment calls us to do. We write music by ear and feel. It seems to keep us all engaged in a very playful way. We surprise ourselves sometimes with the direction certain songs end up taking.
SB: Going Live: What are the benefits of playing live in this increasingly digital world?
TP: With an increasingly digital world we think it’s even more important to keep playing live! Human beings need opportunities to come together. Community spaces and places where we can congregate are crucial to our happiness and evolution. Music is a natural connector. It has a way of bridging gaps between people. Music can pull us together, it can pull us out of hardship, can pull us into joy. Digital certainly does this – but we believe that the magic of a live performance and the gathering of several people is always a unique experience and one we would never want to see pushed to the wayside in response to digital growth.
SB: Story Book: Put together, what message are you trying to portray with the full album ‘Noise’?
TP: Human life is not simple. It’s not an easy, put together box that’s perfectly wrapped. We are complex living things that can’t be easily defined or simplified. We are untidy, our lives uncertain and full of emotional highs and lows. These things are important. They should be celebrated not closeted. Feel your feelings, be aware of who you really are and know that you’re not alone!
SB: Off Time: What things do you like to do outside of music?
TP: We all have come to this project as individuals with unique interests and passions. We find a lot of joy in being out in our community and staying in touch with social movements. London, Ontario has some pretty inspiring grassroots initiatives and small businesses that we take a lot of pride in supporting.
We find particular interest in the ones surrounding food sustainability/sovereignty, education, environmentalism and human rights. We feel compelled to be part of the work that is needed to help change the world to be a more just and equitable place for everyone… AND we really just love to laugh!
We genuinely enjoy each other and find it weird to be apart.
The Pairs on Social: