For this modern age, you need a group like Dear Ears to translate what's happening in this crazy media mess of a society. Listen in for some beautiful harmonies about social media on a roof in New York City.
Who are you and what do you do?
Whitney: Hey! I'm Whitney and I play lead guitar and do vocals.
Ashley: Hey, I'm Ashley. I play piano and sing. We all sing!
Leslie: I am Leslie of the Laine, haha. Music teacher by day, musician by night. I play piano, banjo, and ukulele, guitar and sing!
Whitney: Oh, is that what the question is asking for? Well, then I'm a toy store manager in Williamsburg.
What do you like about songwriting?
Leslie: I love layering and melodies. I like making the music more interesting to listen to by adding contrasting motives and elements.
Ashley: Songwriting is very therapeutic, like being able to express myself. And I like the way you can create something out of nothing.
Whitney: Catchy lyrics. Whenever my lyrics hit me with something truthful yet witty, it always catches me off guard and makes me feel more passionate about the song.
What musical influences your band/genre of music?
Ashley: I see some similarities between us and with the Staves, and I listen to them when I'm looking for inspiration. But I'm also very inspired by folk and bluegrass music.
Whitney: The Dodos, haha. That's my answer to this question always. But I also just in general love indie folk with a dash of energetic kick.
Leslie: Yeah I think that's perfect. Like an indie folk pop. Pop Indie Folk!
Any songs that have any special meaning behind them?
Whitney: For the songs I wrote, they all do. Great is about how broke I am and how being in my mid 20s is not all that's it's cracked up to be. At 12 is based on The Moonrise Kingdom and how badly I wish my life was that movie. Last Man was half based on one of my favorite tv series "Last Man on Earth" and half about a guy I dated; how he shouldn't have even been an option. Distance is a song we wrote together and definitely, all relate to. Looking For Dodos is probably the dearest to me though. I hope you girls don't mind me diving into this. The first Dodos concert I ever went to, I wore a yellow shirt, the same as the drummer, and danced my butt off. After the show, I got to talk to the drummer, Logan Kroeber, for I wanna say half an hour. Nine months later, I attend their second concert of that year, wore a yellow shirt again, danced wildly again, but this time got called out by Logan from the stage, "Yellow shirt! You made it!" I can't tell you enough how my heart just dropped thinking "Holy cray this guy remembered me?!" Then he told me to meet him after the show. We only spoke for five minutes because he had to pack and such, but he seemed to pretty much remember our entire conversation from nine months ago, and that's when I was determined to have him really remember, not just me, but who and how special I am. The next day, I wrote Looking For Dodos, explaining every reason on how they've influenced me and how much they've changed my life. I also clearly had a crush on Logan, haha. But that's aside from the point. I thought to myself that I would take a train down to Philly, to personally give them my song on a disc, and obviously hoping to win the drummer's heart, but I couldn't afford to go down there. Coincidentally their manager(?) had walked into my store as I was playing their music and we had a long conversation about what happened. Logan did get to hear the song in the version that I had made. I won't dive any further cause it's an even longer story, but I'll just say, this song not only makes me feel powerful but is a huge part of why I've become even more musically driven and fully believe in this band and myself.
Leslie: I like all the ones we write together, the more collaborative ones. I most passionate about the newer songs. We're merging our talents together and creating a very unified sound. I think having more time together, we're blending a lot more and sounding better than before. One of my favorite songs is Love Me Now, it's definitely related to my personal life. I don't really wanna dive in too much, but there is one more song that is very close to me. That song being In The Quietest Hours. It's about how my grandma inspired me to be more involved in music. She got me into piano lessons when I was five years old. In 2010, she passed away, she was very young, she was 67. It left a hole in my heart, so I wrote this song for her.
Ashley: I agree, I think our newer songs are a better representation of our band, we've definitely got a better sound. Merging our sounds together and growing as artists. All of my songs have different meanings. Universe came from a feeling of being totally connected to somebody. That feeling has, even more, meaning to me now because I lost that person, but I realized I had that feeling with my band. We Had Love is about knowing that you had something that felt good at the time but is now over. Realizing it was over, and coming to terms to walk away from it. So it was bittersweet. Bonnie and Clyde; I simply love their story.
Any fun concert memories to share?
Leslie: Well, I always end up crying to the ones I go to. Like, Sufjan Stevens and Death Cab For Cutie.
Whitney: I will say We Are Scientists throws probably the best concerts. I've been to a bunch of their concerts, and each time they're hilarious, fun, and insanely talented.
Ashley: I saw Lord Huron in the mountains at a festival and the guy beside me was blowing bubbles, and the lights were bouncing off the trees and it was magical.
What inspired Social Superstar the song and music video?
Whitney: Well the song Social Superstar was written by Ashley, but the music video was slightly inspired by Logan, the drummer from the Dodos. They had made a dancing video for their song "Competition" and I remember talking about it to him and the girls. He kept highly suggesting that I make a dancing video of mine own with the girls and the girls and I simply love to dance. So that's exactly what we did.
Leslie: It was really fun dancing with the ladies on the roof top. We're were originally gonna have it be one straight clip in the day time, but as when we watched the night clips, we decided to include them with the day clips. It took us about 20 takes.
Ashley: The inspiration for the song came from an article about the ugly truth of social media and how it's so easy to only present your best self. People are very concerned with their online image and they often don't portray their real feelings. Some of the saddest people I know have the best Instagram accounts.
What is your writing process like?
Ashley: I convince myself that I'm no longer able to write music, time goes by and one day I wake up and make a song. I write it really quickly. Then I convince myself that's the last song I'll be able to do, haha.
Leslie: I usually come up with chords and then a melody and lyrics last. Lyrics are the trickiest for me.
Whitney: Normally I fiddle with my guitar, listening to what sounds good and then I start letting the words come out. I wanna say 80% of the time, the words are either "I don't know" or "If only you knew" or simply words don't make any sense, but eventually what I'm feeling comes out and the song just flows all together.
What's next for you?
Leslie: We are gonna continue to get together, make more music, play shows, and get our music out there.
Whitney: Tour! And release our music video and album at the same time! After all of that, we're gonna finally record our second album, which we pretty much have all the songs ready for.
Ashley: Spend the summer together and do as many gigs as possible. Release our album that we are very excited to share!
If you were stuck on an abandoned island with drinking water what five items would you have with you?
Whitney: This might be kind of cheating, cause I would hate to be stuck on an abandoned island.
- Home Depot - that way I could build a house, have access to fruit and vegetable seeds, and etc etc.
- A Man I Desire - I will not say who that is, but you know, I definitely don't want to be alone.
- Guitar Center - That way I have all instruments to full around with and express myself.
- Wifi - So I can contact people for help, or vlog about my life. Become an internet sensation.
- The best computer that includes webcam and etc.
Ashley: I have thought of this so many times.
- Magic wand so I can make anything I need magically appear.
- Book of spells, in case I don't know how to work the magic wand.
- The flying dog from the never ending story, in case I wanted to travel.
- Magic refrigerator that constantly restocks itself.
- Whitney's wifi.
- A blanket for sure. I'm always cold.
- An instrument. Hmm, probably my baritone ukulele.
- Whitney's wifi password.
- Maybe a razor. It could be used for multiple things I'm sure. You can shave things off of fruits and stuff.
- A genie's lamp for three wishes.
If you could perform anywhere where would it be?
Leslie: On a mountain. I just wanna sing on top of a mountain with you.
Ashley: I would say Red Rocks Amphitheater.
Whitney: Honestly, I'm not sure. I actually have a bit of stage fright. I'm kind of a small stage girl. But I can dig mountain. I'd do that any day.
If you had a super power what would it be?
Ashley: The power of flight, so I can feel like a bird.
Whitney: Teleportation. I just wanna be able to be anywhere without the annoying time it takes to get there.
Leslie: Can we have the same one?
Whitney: Heck yes.
Leslie: That's mine too then. So we can perform anywhere in a heart beat without spending lots money and time to get there.
If you could travel in time where would you go? Who would you see?
Leslie: Oh man, I've always like the 50s. I love the style and music of the 50s. Wait, can we go to the future? Cause if we can, I'd definitely go into the future. I'm not sure who I wanna meet.
Whitney: See that was gonna be my answer too -- about the 50s! But probably the late 60s, my dad talks about all of his adventures when he was young and honestly, I'd like to witness myself and get a taste of the Galaher family at it's prime.
Leslie: See, my great grandparents built a cabin in the 50s. I would like to see that. And to witness their culture because she was from Sweden and he was from Denmark.
Ashley: I would say the 60s too, I feel like a lot of musical legends were around that time.