While bands often spend their early days discovering their musical directions and vying for visibility, the story of Vancouver’s Dear Rouge is something unique and almost unheard of in Canada. The band is led by husband and wife duo Drew and Danielle McTaggart. Between the two of them, they carry years of touring and recording with multiple bands and different musical ventures. It was these days of young exploration that led them to meeting. Both driven by a passion to create energetic music with a creative backbone, they formed Dear Rouge and their debut EP Heads Up Watch Out.
Their follow up EP Kids Wanna Know helped hone their alternative dance-rock sound and also led to the duo winning the Peak Performance Project in 2012, the largest artist development project in Canada. Bolstered by their success and now financially equipped to delve further into their music, Dear Rouge got straight to work on their first full-length record. The record’s lead single “I Heard I Had” is a driving synth-rock jam, which shocked the entire Canadian music industry by steadily climbing the alternative and rock charts to the Top 5 – with no label or album backing it; a rare feat especially for a band that had no previous charting history.
Dear Rouge’s debut album BLACK TO GOLD is the culmination of these achievements. “This was our chance to go deeper. We had the time now to take some risks”, says Danielle. The album boasts an expansive sonic palette with punchy guitar hooks, uplifting synth layers, and the sincerely powerful vocal delivery of Danielle. Producer/Engineer Ryan Worsley and Drew produced the majority of the album, providing a steadfast vision for their sound whilst working alongside Howard Redekopp (Tegan and Sara, Mother Mother) and Gavin Brown (Metric, Hey Ocean!). One listen of “Colours” or “Best Look Lately” showcases the band’s ability to craft songs with mass appeal that maintain independent authenticity. Dear Rouge have found a distinguishing strength in tackling heavy, hard-hitting emotions in song form by transforming them into tunes so easy to digest, you may not realize what’s being explored on the first listen. “We Don’t Fit Together” explores the tensions of a love that cannot be, juxtaposed by harmonies sung by the married leading duo. On the anthem-like “Nostalgia”, try not to feel that bittersweet emotion when Danielle achingly pleads, “Hold on; I won’t forget you”. The title track “Black To Gold” is an unabashedly 80’s influenced affair as Danielle’s vocals pierce through the uptight synth-drums to announce, “We came too far to be looking back”; summing up the organic beginnings and stream of creativity that has kept them looking forward, excited of what is to come, rather than to the past.
It feels as if Dear Rouge has been in existence for quite some time; a thought that was stirring in the mind of this duo since before they met or first started playing music. Now that this idea has been realized, it will soon be in your head too.