“My weaknesses seem to be Melissa’s strengths and vice versa,” says Sophie Heppell of her musical partnership with bandmate Melissa Walker. “I’m very melody-oriented and she’s very rythmically oriented, so it’s pretty complementary how we work together.”
The duo have worked and toured together in bands such as pop-jazz six-piece the Consonance and reggae group Third Branch, and have spent the past six years concocting the sonic formula that became its latest endeavour, Two Bears North—rounded out by Nich Davies on drums.
“We both had to learn new things for this band to work because in other projects I’ve played fiddle and saxophone and that’s not really a lead instrument,” adds Heppell, noting she and Walker have consistently worked well together on the business side of music, so a new project together seemed like a natural progression. “I had to learn guitar, and then I wanted Melissa to sing harmonies, so she basically had to learn to sing.”
The result for Two Bears North—a play on the word bipolar in the sense of two personalities melding into one unit—is a pop-rock sound filled with catchy beats accented by thoughtful lyrics. Heppell and Walker’s work, which reveals an influence from Metric and early Tegan and Sara, has resulted in the duo’s nine-song debut Comeocean.
“It’s a cross between a yearning for the ocean—Melissa and I are both from the west coast—so it’s sort of a blend of wanting the ocean mixed with the commotion that goes on in sort of a neurotic, obsessive head space,” Heppell explains, noting the introspective track “Hold On” as an example of this often conflicting internal dialogue. “I think it’s a pretty common theme for your head to be thinking one thing and your heart to be feeling another … a way to keep yourself sane is to express yourself in the lyrics and figure out what on earth is going on in your head.”
Fri, Dec 20 (8:30 pm)
With the Provincial Archive
Artery, $13 (advance), $15 (door)