By Keith Sharp
Dear Rouge’s October 14th concert at Red Deer’s International Beer Haus venue, with support act The Rah Rahs’ was a triumphant kick off for the Danielle and Drew McTaggart’s Black To Gold tour which will take them across Canada plus a few select U.S dates before landing in Germany and England at the start of December, an almost heady rise to fame for a duo, still working their debut ‘Black To Gold’ record release.
“It’s been a time of creating incredible music that has given us the chance to visit some incredible places,” enthused Danielle of their speedy rise to fame after just two EP’s and one studio release. Add to this, Dear Rouge’s $10,000 SOCAN prize winner for their song; “I Heard, I Has” and its apparent that their alt-dance groove is reaching a growing audience.
Both were veterans of several previous musical incarnations before Vancouver-based Drew met Danielle in her home town of Red Deer and decided to collaborate together, both musically and socially. Naming the band Dear Rouge, as a tribute to Danielle’s home town (good job she wasn’t born in Medicine Hat!) the duo released their first four-song EP in 2011, “Hands Up, Watch Out” and followed that with a second EP the following year titled `Kids Wanna Know’.
Although the McTaggart’s music boasts a strong alt-rock production, the actual lyrical arrangements can be performed acoustically and the pair has occasionally performed acoustic sets of their material.
“We do this thing called the `camp fire test,” informed Danielle. “We play our new songs on acoustic guitar to see If the melody stands out and this helps to shape our material. Ultimately, we want them to be good songs that can stand alone.”
Cognoscente of the growing trend in streaming and downloading, Dear Rogue launched their recording career with EP’s, working each track to the maximum before releasing another song. It was only after the success of their second EP, fuelled by tracks like “I Heard I Has” that Universal Music stepped in with a recording contract.”
“Right from the beginning, we toured Canada but we always toured with a purpose,” allowed Drew. “Especially, when you’ve got nothing going on, there may not be a lot of people coming to your shows but if you can get into the local radio stations and plug your latest single, then it makes the trip worthwhile. Do that enough times and the word starts to spread.”
The McTaggart’s have benefited from winning awards like the Vancouver-based Peak Performance contest in 2012 which earned them $102,700 from Music BC and Vancouver’s CKPK FM station and the big win of their SOCAN award this year and they are now set to venture abroad to spread their music to Europe.
“It’s going to be a big challenge, no one over there knows us but it gives us a great opportunity to introduce ourselves to some new fans, see the sites and drink some good beer!,” explains Danielle. “We are not expecting a huge amount of people to attend but we are hoping they give us a good listen and it will be a good challenge for us.”
With “Tongues” set as the duo’s new single (they do tour with a full band), Drew notes that Dear Rouge came along at a time when streaming and downloading is the norm and they have fully adapted to promoting their music through modern technology.
“Streaming is an incredible marketing device,” he enthuses. “It’s not even a conversation or an argument. This is how we get our music heard around the world, it’s the way the system works now and you have to embrace modern technology. We are doers so it’s easy for us to adapt.”
For more information on Dear Rouge’s tour itinerary, please link to www.dearrouge.com
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