Family affair 

Step Twelve talk about their latest release, Open Your Soul, available now

click to enlarge open souls Squamish duo Step Twelve recently put out a new release ahead of their tour from Ontario back home to B.C.
  • open souls Squamish duo Step Twelve recently put out a new release ahead of their tour from Ontario back home to B.C.

Playing in a husband-wife duo has its perks.

Just ask Andre and Samantha Chamberlain, also known as Step Twelve, a Squamish indie-folk band that's built on a foundation of bass and keys wrapped in a flurry of looped instruments ranging from the glockenspiel to the mandolin.

"We can write and jam anytime we want," Andre said over the phone from Toronto ahead of the pair's performance at Indie Week, a festival that showcases emerging acts.

"It's not a challenge to get things going. I used to play in a lot of other bands and (there were) people moving away and all that drama going on. This way, we'll be making music forever."

On the way to forever they crafted their latest EP Open Your Soul, which came out on iTunes Tuesday. (Physical copies can only be purchased at their shows.)

Andre, the more experienced musician, wrote most of the music while penning the lyrics was a collaborative effort. They've hit their stride with this third release, he said.

"We've just grown together more as musicians. Our last EP, we were still trying to find out how we could mesh with each other. This one we found a way to make our sound fuller and more experimental," Andre said.

Hiding away in a Halfmoon Bay cabin near Sechelt, the pair intended to record their first full-length album, but had to rush the process after they learned they had been accepted to play Indie Week. Still, the session was relaxing, as illustrated by the babbling brooks and steaming cups of tea in a video Andre shot documenting the experience, setting it to their new track "Evening Breeze." (When he's not making music, he films winter action sports. Samantha, on the other hand, is a preschool teacher.)

"Our last two EPs we recorded in our house and it was just good to get away for six days, only focus on that and have no one dropping by, no distractions, just kind of doing our thing," he said.

After playing their first show in Toronto, the duo will tour their way home to the west coast, making stops in Winnipeg, Regina and Calgary, among other cities, before their official CD release party in Squamish Nov. 17 at a yet-to-open venue called The Ledge.

Audiences are often surprised by the lush fullness of their sound live, Andre said. Using a pedal board loaded with different instruments, he loops the sounds live while playing and singing over top. "We try to do what we can," he added. "Usually, after shows, people say we sound a lot bigger than a duo. It's just technology, I guess."

It could also be their on-stage chemistry, and that thanks to being husband and wife, rehearsals can happen easily.

"The length of time playing with each other (shows), you know, if I'm going to start on a chorus, she can pick up on it," Andre explained. "If you don't get to rehearse a lot, you might not learn the characteristics of your bandmates.



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