Can you say Zwei Bärs Norden? Local indie band Two Bears North has landed a German record deal, along with a 12-day Deutschland tour and a slot at the About Songs Festival in Hamburg.
The animals in Two Bears North include singer and guitar player Sophie Heppell, bass player Melissa Walker and Nich Davies on drums. The girls have been working on the band for seven years, using a push-pull dynamic between Heppell’s love of melody and Walker’s earthy sense of groove, and they added Davies’ drumming a couple of years ago to make it a trio.
The band’s most recent record, 2013’s Comeocean, sounds very much like a West Coast album with ocean vibes, rolling bass lines and sunny harmonies. Not surprising, considering Heppell and Walker are BC transplants—Heppell from Gibsons (home of the Beachcombers) and Walker spent time in Kamloops and the greater Vancouver area.
“I think the yearning for the ocean you hear is us yearning for self-growth and improvement,” Heppell explains, sipping a green iced chai in a Garneau cafe. “And when we think of where we want to escape to, it’s the ocean. We don’t feel we want to escape to Saskatchewan.”
Two Bears North scored the deal with Hamburg’s DevilDuck Records after the band played a music showcase in Calgary last fall. Since signing, the label is re-releasing Comeocean with the new single “Get The Hell Out Of Here.” And the band played two unofficial showcases at this year’s SXSW.
The band is currently working on its second album, with a tentative release date of January 2016.
“The new album will definitely showcase our more rocky side … it’s a little gutsier, less safe,” Heppell says. “I’ve developed my guitar tone: on the first record I used only one tone, a clean tone. On this album, I experimented more with pedals and some overdrive. Really, we’re trying to get the energy of the live show on this record.”
Before they head to Germany, Two Bears North will be touring east through Canada before a slot at Canadian Music Week in Toronto.
“This definitely feels like a big step,” Heppell says.
Fri, May 1 (7 pm)
With We Were Friends, the Royal Foundry
Mercury Room, $10