Oklahoma indie duo doubleVee talk about their DIY approach to music
Naming their second LP after indie pop band doubleVee, Oklahoma City husband and wife duo Allan and Barb (Hendrickson) Vest selected one of their song lyrics that could possibly serve as relationship advice.
“We came up with a list of different tracks, and in the end I was like, ‘What about ‘Treat Her Strangely,’ because it’s in our (first) song?’ It’s never meant to be a negative thing. We just thought it might have different connotations, and it makes people think,” Barb said.
“It’s more supposed to magically and mysteriously treat her and lift her up. It’s not supposed to be like, ‘Hey, freak that chick out.'”
In the decade since they formed doubleVee in 2012, the Vests have made magical and mysterious music their specialty, developing a distinctive visual flair to complement their singular sound.
“We did all the artwork, and we’re doing most of the stuff for the new record. It’s like that little baby you’re looking after,” said Allan, former frontman of influential Oklahoma indie band Starlight Mints.
“And we’re ready to write more songs.”
The couple’s intriguing origins influence their music doubleVee
The Vests, who tied the knot in 2015, have an intriguing background that influences their output as doubleVee: Barb spent 16 years in public radio, including writing, hosting and producing “Filmscapes,” a nationally broadcast film music program that gave him the chance to interview him. musical heroes, including Danny Elfman and Philip Glass.
She also edited a music webzine for several years and marketed and produced eight garage sales and Rock ‘n Roll shows featuring local bands and dealers. Her love of music began in childhood with her family, and as a singer she performed for themed covers and backed up recordings by local bands.
“We’re constantly creating,” Barb said of living with her husband. “We play against each other and make up little songs almost every day, just running around the house.”
For over a decade, Allan was the primary songwriter, lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist for Norman orchestral pop band Starlight Mints, which released four albums between 2000 and 2009. Between the Mints and his solo work, his music has appeared in the films “Barnyard” and “The Art of Getting By” as well as the television shows “Malcolm in the Middle”, “Californication”, “One Tree Hill” and “Gossip Girl”. The BBC miniseries “Demons” used The Mints’ “Eyes of the Night”, from their 2006 album “Drowaton”, as the theme song.
“We were a band for about 14 years…and we toured and toured and toured,” Allan recalled. “So we had quite an adventure.”
Additionally, his instrumental scores have been featured in a variety of projects, from Disney animated shorts and cult OKC filmmaker Mickey Reece’s “The Seducers Club” and “Punch Cowboy” films to projects by screenwriter- Canadian director Erahm Christopher and feature films directed by award-winning Oklahoma native Bradley Beesley. Allan has produced and arranged music for the bands Skating Polly, Student Film and Bishop Allen and composed the theme for the podcast “In Sickness and In Health”.
“We’re definitely the ying and yang of our brains, that’s for sure. Barb will make sense of something I can’t make sense of; she puts the pieces together,” Allan said.
“We are a good team, I think,” added his wife. “We’re also getting better, I feel like. It’s like we’re getting faster at what we do.”
New LP Follows Ambitious ‘Twilight Zone’-Inspired Debut
The pair spent five years creating doubleVee’s 2017 feature debut, “The Moonlit Fables of Jack the Rider,” an ambitious concept album with a “Twilight Zone” vibe. They followed that up with 2019’s five-song collection “Songs for Birds and Bats,” and the closest EP, “Last Castaways,” was chosen the following year for the soundtrack of the immersive video game “Beyond Blue”.
“It’s so funny, because the word ‘sellout’, people used to use that term. They don’t use that term anymore, because you have to sell yourself. You have to make money, and TV shows, video games and movies, that’s how you make money,” Allan said.
The couple crafted their newly released full follow-up, cryptically titled “Treat Her Strangely,” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There were definitely darker themes in some of these songs. … But this one is sort of freeing, because it wasn’t meant to be a big theme. We were just finishing one song and then moving on to another,” Barb said.
“The crazy thing is that it’s been about a year since we even finished this. There were so many mitigating factors: finding the funding and waiting and monitoring my parents’ health and the pandemic. We we just weren’t ready yet.”
Duo takes a DIY approach to their indie pop music
Since the Vests have always taken a do-it-yourself approach to doubleVee, working on their new album in their home studio during the pandemic came naturally.
“We’ve always had that aesthetic anyway, just to do whatever we can ourselves. We’re lucky to have our home studio that we’ve built up quite a bit over the 12 years that we’ve been together,” said Beard. “We couldn’t do what we do, really, if we had to go and pay a studio to produce our music. We’re so demanding with that.”
Allan produced and recorded “Treat Her Strangely” with his wife as co-producer. They brought in their friend Wes Sharon of 115 Recording in Norman to mix and master the album, with the pair assisting with the mixing.
“A lot of people send in their stuff for mixing…but we can’t be that indifferent. And we have a great system with Wes,” Barb said.
A couple is developing a live show for doubleVee
Over the past 10 years, the Vests have developed doubleVee primarily as a studio band, and they’ve put a lot of effort into creating music videos with a distinct cinematic sensibility to showcase their songs. For the gripping music video for “When Dawn Comes Tonight” – which features the lyrics that became the title of the new album – the couple traveled to Texas to work at a real movie studio.
“We worked with (director) Dan Brown in Austin – he was a childhood friend of Allan – and it was great because we had never really shot in a studio like this with the big guys. green screens and all the great pro cameras,” Barbe said.
“But with our third (for ‘The Question’s Closed’) we kind of ran out of budget and time. So it’s very DIY. We did everything on our Osmo Pocket camera. … We put put up a green screen in our dining room and I just got on it.”
Alongside their videos, the pair are working on a live show to spotlight their doubleVee music.
“We haven’t been a live band this whole time, but we started practicing with a band,” Allan said. “Although we find that our songs aren’t the easiest songs to play…we now have such a good catalog to play a good short live show or a long live show. And we’re very excited about that. ”