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From the Promoter
If there’s one constant in life, it’s this: nothing stays the same. Change is inevitable, for better or for worse—it’s the sinister shadow lurking behind the sunniest day, the silver lining that offsets every cloud. That mutability is something with which the members of Dear Rouge are intimately familiar. Since putting out their debut EP in 2012, Drew and Danielle McTaggart have been on a somewhat breathtaking upward trajectory. That independent release led to another one, and the accolades began to flood in: a B.C.–based radio award, songwriting prizes, a sweet record deal, charting singles, and a 2016 Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year followed in short order.
For all intents and purposes, says Drew, it was the most ecstatic period of their lives. He and Danielle—partners in life and art—had quit their day jobs to focus on music full-time; they’d wholly channeled their energies into honing their sinewy, hook-driven indie rock. “It was the highest time of our lives,” he says now. “But we realized that, at the same time, a lot of our friends back home in Vancouver were going through incredibly hard experiences.” The contrast was jarring. While the McTaggarts were gearing up to work on their sophomore LP, Drew’s cousin passed away; other friends were in the midst of harrowing life transitions. Before long, they realized that the contrast between those emotional extremes had provided a psychological backdrop for Dear Rouge’s creative process. “It really got us thinking,” says Danielle, “half the album became about the joys we were experiencing, while half the album was about pain and hardships.”
With writing and recording came clarity, and what Dear Rouge realized was this: regardless of what you’re going through at a given moment, that reality is always in flux. Equal parts hopeful and harrowing, that epiphany is at the heart of what became Phases, the pair’s stellar, stadium-sized revelation of an album. Created through sessions with carefully chosen collaborators—including aces Tawgs Salter and Mike Wise, West Coast stalwart Steve Bays, producer Ryan Worsley, Canadian indie visionary Dan Mangan, pop savant Sterling Fox, and others, Phases captures a massive stride forward in the band’s evolution.