Cousins conquer against all odds

Halifax duo Cousins will be rolling through Kingston this month despite troubles on the road

Cousins is Leigh Dotey and Aaron Mangle.
Cousins is Leigh Dotey and Aaron Mangle.
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This year, up-and-coming Halifax band Cousins are bringing their Maritime sound all across the country. They’ve played shows in major cities such as Toronto, Montreal and New York — all before setting their sights on Kingston.

The band consists of drummer Leigh Dotey and guitarist Aaron Mangle, who both contribute vocals. The music of Cousins is soothing, with a grunge-based synth-pop feel .

A great example of this would be their song “River,” which starts out slow and smooth then gets louder and more aggressive towards the end — a classic alternative rock structure.

Leigh Dotey, drummer and vocalist, said one of their biggest influences is life on the road, which she describes as a struggle. When looking at their videos on Vimeo, which mostly feature their tour van, it’s easy to see how the touring lifestyle is influential to their music.

“You don’t really make money on that. It can be stressful. You drive for 10 hours and arrive at a show where no one shows up,” she said. The band recently faced a challenge when their tour van broke down.

“[It] led to a bit of personal breakdown,” she said. “But the tour needs to continue.” Although life on the road has proven to be difficult, Dotey said she believes it’s worth it.

“You get stronger. You get tough,” she said. “You figure it out.” Throughout the many challenges and triumphs, Cousins is continuing to navigate the Canadian music landscape. But the group is also critical of the scene, and Dotey believes that there is always room for improvement.

“Bands could have a ton more support from everyone,” she said. “Although, there’s a lot of great things happening.” Cousins will continue to tour across Canada and has shows lined up throughout the rest of the year, which is an accomplishment for the band.

Dotey said the greatest achievement for herself thus far was learning how to overcome stage fright.

“I’m not scared anymore,” she said. “I still get nervous, but I can deal with it.”

Cousins plays the Grad Club on April 12.

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