He Is We’s story is the sort of tale that should begin with “Once upon a time…” In the summer of 2008, Rachel Taylor and Trevor Kelly went to work at Ted Brown Music Tacoma, Washington. Both felt like outcasts and while the other employees sold flutes and guitars, Rachel and Trevor became fast friends, confiding in each other and realizing they both were musically inclined. Their first collaboration was a track called “Such a Beautiful Sound,” written at a friend’s house,” and the transition from music store co-workers to band mates was a natural next step.
The duo’s quirky songwriting began to get attention when they posted “Pardon Me” online. At first the track got five or six plays a day; later it got thousands. So Rachel and Trevor wrote more songs and the musical connection between the two was apparent from the start.
The duo first took their sparking numbers on the road in early 2009, joining bands like Lydia, Straylight Run and The Rocket Summer onstage. The relationship between He Is We and their fans was solidified from the start. Since those first shows, Rachel and Trevor have developed personal connections with all their fans, always ensuring they never leave a shirt unsigned or a person unhugged.
By 2010 it was time for those fans to have more music than a few online songs. He Is We spent much of the year recording the ten tracks for their debut album with several producers. First with Casey Bates (Chiodos, Gatsby’s American Dream) at his Seattle studio, then with Aaron Sprinkle (Anberlin, Eisley) at his. Later the band flew to New York to record some tracks with Dan Romer (Ingrid Michaelson, Jenny Owen Youngs) and laid down a few more with Shep Goodman and Aaron Accetta. Working with so many different producer created what the band feels is a sense of open-minded diversity on the record.
The final album, which was released digitally in November, is a delightfully eclectic collection of acoustic songs that shine with enthusiasm and passion. “Happily Ever After,” is a subtle pop song, burgeoning with a dulcet melody and driven by Rachel’s honeyed vocals. “Forever and Forever,” which Rachel says was written about “learning what unconditional love is,” is sweet, intimate and relatable. “Fall,” the record’s closing number, has a palpable ache, penned while Rachel was in the hospital, watching too much Maury on TV and thinking “Why in the world do girls go for douchebags?”
The album as a whole is lovely and inviting, easily accessible for any listener. The disc evolves that initial meeting in the music store to prancing pop songs that always leave you wanting more. “Making the album turned our little demos into exactly what we were hoping for,” Rachel says. “It made our little babies grow up into beautiful young songs.” This is where you’d expect the story to close with “Happily ever after.” But He Is We is just getting started. As Rachel says, “It’s only going to get better.”