Dear Rouge Working on Their Latest Best Look

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Following up a big release isn't easy, and the time between records can be a blessing or a curse. For Danielle and Drew McTaggart of Dear Rouge however, their momentum never stops. After winning the Peak Performance Project they put out their record Black To Gold, sending them hurtling for stardom. Years and a Juno later, they're gearing up for their next release, and playing the Dragonboat Festival on Friday, June 23. We caught up with Danielle ahead of the show to talk sustaining success and where they're headed next.

Ottawa Life: Like with the time between your first single and record, has the time off between records been to assure its right or have you guys just been so busy you haven't had time for a record?

Danielle McTaggart (Dear Rouge) : It's a bit of both. We want to outdo our last album which is something every band is intimidated by. It's a lot of struggle but still awesome because we get to see everything come together and it's sounding amazing. We're nearing releasing something so that's awesome.

I know you guys spent a lot of last year working on new music, can we expect any of that at the Dragonboat show and can you talk about any of that yet?

We're playing quite a few new songs actually, just trying them out. See how they connect with the audience. You will definitely be hearing those new songs. Not too far off from the releases but I can't give a date. I don't know how much I can say but we're gearing up. Basically I can say we're in the last leg of details of that, this one is taking longer because we're working with a big team now so we want to make sure it's right.

Was the Juno win for Breakthrough Group last year a big boost to start making your next record happen?

It definitely pushes you to live up to it. We want to make sure we make music that is true to us but still growing and evolving. I don't think it makes us rushed to get something new out, it's more making sure that new thing is what we want. Not to over-think that but make the right steps creatively. With our song writing and our show just always taking that next step forward.

Now that you've won an award and have so much attention, outside of releasing a record, what's your next big goal?

I guess the thing that we talk about most is just being able to do this long term. You always want those awards and you always have those goals to check off, but I guess the dream would be to still be doing music 5/10 years from now as a career. It's so much fun to be able to do our job that it's our goal. The official goal for now would be to win a Grammy, play Coachella?

I know you quit your day jobs back in 2012 when you won the Peak Performance Project, but I was curious if that day job you worked also gave you a lot of time to figure out your music?

Sometimes your day job gives you more inspiration. You're out always talking to people. My  job before this was PR and Drew's was marketing in the world of creativity, that lent itself to talking about certain topics. Part of the reason we wanted to uproot our lives was because of that, take some new experiences, and find new topics and inspiration. For our first album we were pulling from our day jobs and our lives at the time, but for this one we're pulling from our new experiences and lessons. It's important as an artist to always be out there, and always be open-minded and learning from the world around you.

What's the process and dynamic when you guys write, considering all the different ways duos write?

We are very much a 50/50 duo. My first thing is to pitch it to Drew and see what he thinks of it. If he gets excited, it's a good idea, but if he questions it, I have to be really sure to follow through on it. We bounce back and forth, we both write lyrics. Drew's amazing with melodies and production stuff too, he's always someone I've looked up to in that way, so it's awesome to work with him. We joke about it because we're married, people always ask us "What's it like? Is it so great?" and we say "NO, it's a warzone where we fight over things we think are great." But sometimes it is easier to when things flow.

Considering you were already friends with Ryan Worsley, did it just feel natural to work on the record with him? What did he bring to the process? Do you plan on bringing him on again?

One of the biggest things we've learned over this experience is it's the most important to surround yourself with people who care about what you're doing. We have reached out and try to grow. Ryan is our most trustful and comfortable person to have that dialogue to make things better, especially as he is our friend. When we're challenging each other, he's grown too. He's been a huge part of this project too. We did all our tracking for this new record with him at his studio. Ryan is the main mixer.

So what's next for this year?          

It's amazing. We get to release some new music this year, and along with that a new look and feel. We get to hang out there with our fans. We're super grateful to get to do this so giving back in that way is great.