Q + A with a Riveting Musical Duo
In truth, March to May, a Seattle-based folk-pop pair, defies all genre descriptions. Singer-songwriters Darren Guyaz and Beth Wesche brilliantly overlay harp and guitar with rich vocal harmonies, haunting lyrics and riveting melodies. The result? A unique sound that has received flattering comparisons to the likes of Swell Season, Damien Rice and the Civil Wars.
We recently caught up with Darren to learn more about the evolution of his collaboration with Beth. But if you want to experience the genre-bending music of March to May for yourself, check out their upcoming shows at Columbia City Theater (on January 22 with The Local Strangers and Ian McFeron) and at The Triple Door (on February 6, with The von Trapps).
Q: It sounds like your musical spark got ignited in a very quintessential PNW setting in late 2012…can you set the scene for that pivotal moment and what unfolded from there?
A: We had just met, coincidentally, as housemates via Craigslist. A few weeks after Beth moved in, we took a trip to the Washington coast with a small group of friends. One of the nights, around a bonfire on the beach under a clear December sky, I was playing a chord progression to a new song I was working on, and Beth started harmonizing. This was the first spark of many that flew between us, as we both realized there was something magical in the way our voices blended. Within weeks, we started songwriting, and just a few months later, chose a band name and booked our first gig.
Q: What adjectives best describe your overall sound?
A: Sophisticated, symphonic, poignant, impassioned, haunting, rich
Q: Who are your greatest influences (and your favorite comparison ever received about your own sound)?
A: Our influences range so greatly, however the musicians that have inspired us most recently – and that we’ve been compared to (which is awesome!) – are The Civil Wars, The Swell Season and Damien Rice/Lisa Hannigan.
Q: In what ways are your musical styles the same and different?
A: The types of artists/music we both love, the way we song-write together, how well we harmonize together and play off of one another when performing, all work so incredibly well, so seamlessly, that it leaves little room for differences!
Q: Why do you think you stand out within the Seattle music scene?
A: Our music, songwriting and instrumentation are very unique. With rich, lyrical vocal harmonies over the top of Celtic harp, guitar, cello, violin, upright bass and drums, our style clearly does not fit into any genre. We’ve asked dozens of people – producers, audiophiles, radio announcers, promoters, musicians and more – to try and define our music, to put it in a genre, and no one can. We also have an extremely compelling story and stage presence, which plays out in our performances. Our audience absolutely loves our on-stage chemistry and authenticity.
Q: How do you determine the set list for each performance, especially when performing two shows close to one another?
A: Since we play with our full band on January 22nd at Columbia City Theater, we created a faster, more intense set list that highlights our amazingly talented bandmates and their instruments. At our February 6th show at The Triple Door, we decided to take advantage of the more intimate space, and play a set that is softer, more moody and even slightly romantic.
Q: What can audience members expect of your upcoming shows at Columbia City and Triple Door?
A: We’ll be rockin’ out with an up-tempo set at Columbia City Theater and sharing the stage with two other amazing acts, The Local Strangers and Ian McFeron. And at The Triple Door, we’ll be performing just as a duo – which is a rare treat for a large venue – and we’re opening for The von Trapps, which will be absolutely incredible!