Husband-wife duo ponder signing

Vancouver’s Dear Rouge to drop first full-length album after getting radio play as independent act

Their rock music mixes synth and dance tunes.
Their rock music mixes synth and dance tunes.
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Things are accelerating quickly for Dear Rouge.

The Vancouver-based husband and wife duo, Drew and Danielle McTaggart, have been getting radio play across the country, despite remaining unsigned and without a full-length album release.

“It’s coming out hopefully before summer,” Drew McTaggart said. “Since we’ve been getting radio play, all these big players are talking to us about releasing it.” The attention hasn’t led to any rash decisions.

“We’re just kind of in limbo deciding if we’re going to do it independently or if we’re going to pair up with a label,” he said.

With the exception of a handful of hired staff members — an agent, a publicist and radio promoters — the McTaggarts currently handle the business themselves.

“Right now, Danielle and I are able to do full-time music and that right there is kind of one of my life goals,” McTaggart said. “I’m really satisfied by doing it by ourselves”.

Having only released two EPs, their music has reached a large audience.

NHL.com used their song “I Heard I Had”, an energetic synth-rock tune from the 2012 EP Kids Wanna Know for a ‘Plays of the Week’ video in November 2013.

“I Heard I Had” has also been featured in the Canadian Top 10 charts in both alternative and rock genres.

“A rare feat,” their official website states, “especially for a band that had no previous charting history.”

McTaggart said he feels as though releasing the album independently allows for more creative control.

“A lot of friends are with labels,” he said. “You’ll write these songs you like and want to release and they can say no [if] they don’t think it’s going to do well financially”.

Dear Rouge’s independence stems largely from placing first at PEAK Performance Project in 2012.

PEAK Performance Project is a yearly contest and training program developed by Music BC and 102.7 The PEAK FM. In addition to cash prizes, it provides workshops and mentorship for emerging artists to develop skills in performance, business, song-writing and promotion.

On the other hand, working with established producers has allowed Dear Rouge to improve both the quality and quantity of their work.

“We worked with some the big producers in Canada on our record,” McTaggart said. “It really sounded a little more deeper and a little more bold.”

The band sees their upcoming full-length album as an opportunity.

“Because we’re doing a full album, we’re able to put songs on there that we wouldn’t necessarily put on the EP,” McTaggart said.

McTaggart said he feels the new album will be more aggressive and expansive than their previous EPs.

“The way [they were] recorded and produced wasn’t as captivating as our new stuff,” McTaggart said.

They aim to carry this captivation into their live shows.

“We do a lot of rock stuff early on and the ‘spectator songs,’” McTaggart said, “and then we put the participation songs — the dance songs — at the end of our set”.

Dear Rouge plays The Mansion March 26.

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