I am He as You are He as. . .
By Janet Martin
Take a beautiful brunette at the microphone, a quick-witted and talented guitar player and throw them in a van with a little bit of Aaron Gillespie. What do you get? The rising indie band He is We. Right now, the band is in the middle of its All About You tour and will be making a pit stop at The Wire in Upland. Drawing large crowds at local music hot spots in cities like Chicago, New York and Seattle, He is We is not a group you want to miss!
Guitarist and founding member Trevor Kelly says he has never played at The Wire, but he is stoked to be returning to Southern California, “The kids there are so passionate about the music! It’s really great playing for them.” The band is in the middle of its All About You tour, with shows in Texas, Arizona and California to name a few. The original duo consists of vocalist Rachel Taylor and Kelly, but the pair has also been travelling with a full band for the past two years. They travel up to 10 hours straight between shows, but they don’t let that keep them down.
“It’s so easy to get bitter and resentful on the road. It’s all about enjoying the little things, like driving through Kansas in the middle of nowhere,” Kelly says while the band was leaving Iowa and heading for a show in Dallas.
This carefree and relaxed attitude can be seen in He is We’s music. When it comes time to write a new song, Kelly says the process is very casual and organic. “We never sit down and have an official writing session,” claims the Washington native. “Usually, we are sitting in an airport . . . and Rachel will bring some lyrics or I will bring some music, and we will just piece things together.”
Not surprising when you consider the fact that the duo started out with the occasional jam session in the back of a Tacoma record store. Since then, the band has enjoyed plenty of success—its 2010 album My Forever reached number 6 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Album Charts. But Kelly maintains a cool and humble head. “A fan once told me they heard our song playing on the radio at an Old Navy,” he says. “I never would have thought I would hear our song was played in an Old Navy.”
The news isn’t that surprising to the people who have heard their catchy pop hits. Their songs “Forever and Ever” and “All About Us” (featuring Aaron Gillespie of Underoath) have met with huge success among fans and critics alike. If you like Paramore’s “The Only Exception” or any of Sara Bareilles’ love songs (including “Love Song”) then you would like He is We’s style.
Kelly describes the band’s sound as “guilty pleasure music . . . whatever your mood, I like to think we have a song for it.” The indie pop duo mixes simple, fun lyrics and good ole acoustic guitar to tell stories about everyone’s favorite topic: the joys and pains of love. Every song is truly a team effort; Taylor writes most of the lyrics while Kelly provides the music to accompany them.
“Sometimes Rachel will come to me with an entire song and ask me to write some music or I will come to her with something I’ve been working on and ask for some words, so it’s a lot of give and take,” Kelly says when describing their partnership.
He is We is really enjoying the good life right now; they get along, they love what they do and they are successful enough to keep it going. So, what plans do they have for the future? Well, aside from Taylor’s upcoming wedding, not much. “Inevitably a new record will come out, but we never really sit down and formally decide when to make music or what to put on an album. It just happens.” Until it does, be sure to catch He is We as they roll into the Wire for what is sure to be a great show!
He is We with Ocean Grove, More Armor and (I Am) Cassettes at The Wire, 247 North 2nd Ave., Upland, (909) 985-9466; www.thewire247.com. Thurs, Aug. 4. 7pm. $10.