He is We

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He is We recently finished a stint on the road with The Scene Aesthetic, Carter Hulsey and Plugin Stereo. When they played Wilmington, DE a friend and I met up with Trevor Kelly, half of the boy/girl duo. Their performance was great. While most of the audience members were not familiar with the band’s songs, more than half were singing along as vocalist Rachel Taylor taught the crowd a chorus or two. After their set we met up with Trevor outside the venue, amidst multiple fans and even parents who wanted his attention. Read on to find out his thoughts on Toby Mac, Justin Bieber, how faith influences his music, their new record deal and more.

Rebecca: First, how’s tour? How are YOU?

Trevor: Me? I’m freezing right now. Tour’s good. This is the 3rd date so far and kids have been coming out every night.

Chrissy: Yeah, there is a super good turnout for this place tonight.

Trevor: Yeah! Especially for Delaware. You always hear Delaware being made fun of in movies and stuff – like in Wayne’s World. On the way here were like ‘Does Delaware really exist?’ So we were pretty stoked to play here.

Rebecca: Yeah there’s a weird scene here. I was really surprised that there were so many people, honestly. Usually there’s just a huge hardcore scene.

Trevor: Hardcore?! What!

Rebecca:..so I was pretty excited when I saw the packed out parking lot when I pulled in. I don’t know where these kids came from.

Trevor: They’re the hermit kids that come out of nowhere. They just appeared for this show. I mean, I’m not going to complain. We’ve played the east coast before but the closest we’ve been to here was Annapolis, MD. That place is super fun because we went to the light house afterward and hung out. It was kind of a slap in the face because in elementary school, all these parents were paying for their kids to go on a field trip to Washington D.C. and my parents were always like, “No! You can’t go! It’s too much money.” So I was like, “Fine, I’m just going to go when I’m older.” And I did!

Rebecca: Haha, yeah around here’s D.C. is the cliché field trip.

Trevor:  Yeah it’s probably where you go grocery shopping, right?

Rebecca:  One question that someone requested I ask is why haven’t you played in Nashville yet? Will you any time soon?

Trevor: Nashville is my absolute favorite city and I’ve always wanted to play there. We’ve been there when driving to and from places and we always stop because we have so many friends in the area. But have you noticed how awkwardly placed it is? No one goes to Kentucky and no one hits Tennessee. Everyone always tours from St. Louis to Chicago or St. Louis then Little Rock, but they never go there. So, not yet. But I fully intend to. How old are you girls by the way? And you’re from here? There’s an 18+ show tomorrow night in Philly if you want to come.

Rebecca: Ah, I’d love to but Toby Mac is playing right outside of Philly  tomorrow night and I’m taking my little brother to see him.

Trevor: Ah Toby Mac! I grew up in the church and Toby Mac was one of the artists that my mother would actually approve of me listening to and that she absolutely loved. That guy’s great.

Rebecca: Sweet. He’s almost a staple in every Christian kids’ music. Okay question – What is the story behind And Run? That’s my favorite song on the record.
Trevor: When we wrote And Run, we were just hanging out in Brooklyn with our producer and Rachel was like, ‘I just want to start a song with vocals with a ooh ahhh ooh ahh hook.’ And then I was like yeah, let’s put a great beat behind it. Now, Rachel loves rap. You might not expect this but she listens to rap all the time. So we kind of second guessed putting a beat behind it. But then were like ‘Eh, we’ll just do it anyway.’ And then lyrically, its about choosing your own destiny and finding your own path and running with it. I’m really glad you like it. We don’t really look at stats and stuff,but we were going to release that as our first single and we were told that it wasn’t very popular. I was disappointed because that’s my favorite song on the record!

Rebecca: Well it’s definitely a great one! So tell me about your current label situation. I’ve heard that you’re signed, but online you still list the band as Independent.

Trevor: We got signed about nine months ago to Universal Motown. But uh, I guess we don’t publicly advertise that because it usually always seems to scare fans away when you tell them you’re signed. Some are like all worried that we’re going to sell out and have to incorporate new songs for the label. But it’s the total opposite. They let us do whatever we want and just release the record.

Rebecca: Well congrats on the signing. It’s great to know that people high up on the industry chain like what you’re doing.

Trevor: Yeah! I had a total girl moment the other day. Because David Massey at Mercury [Records] told us the other day, in his British accent: “Justin Bieber was in here the other day and he wanted to tweet at you. But I told him not to, because I didn’t want anyone else to sign you.” Oh man have you guys seen that movie?! It’s so so good.

Chrissy: Yes! I saw it the night it came out. Kind of embarrassing! The theater was full of 14-year-old girls who literally started arguing with each other over Justin and their mothers were yelling at everyone to shut up and watch the movie. It was so weird.

Trevor: No, don’t be ashamed! It’s a great film. So inspiring. I thought it was going to be the same thing because I saw it opening weekend. But then we showed up and there was nobody there. There was three people behind us, who coincidentally came to the show the next night and were like …”Wait, you guys were at the movie theater.” Did you see it in 3-D? Justin’s all singing right in your face and I’m like, “Woohoo!” That kid deserves everything he gets. I used to think he was just a punk kid.

Rebecca: Same! I used to not like him until I realized he really has talent.

Trevor: Exactly. Although I wonder too if maybe he really is a punk kid but they edit the movie to make him seem relateable and down to earth. It’s whatever.

Rebecca: Okay, back on track. How do you and Rachel go about collaborating on songs?

Trevor: There’s never been a set criteria. Sometimes Rachel will come up with a melody or a chorus done and we’ll go from there. Or I’ll come in with something. The writing process is never the same, which really opens up your creativity and allows you to work more freely. For example, that’s what happened with “And Run.”

Rebecca: Awesome. Alright, last thing and we’ll let you go so you can meet that guys’ daughters. I know you had Aaron Gillespie as a guest vocalist on one of your songs and he’s a notable Christian artist. What are your ties to the Christian music industry?

Trevor: Well, Rachel and I both grew up in church. Not together. But I grew up in it since I was about six years old and played guitar in youth groups. The first CD I ever bought was Blindside. Ever listened to them? Blindside’s About The Burning Fire was my first record ever and I just fell into the Christian hardcore scene. It was so inspiring to me that people were screaming and it sounded like Devil music but they were worshiping God. So I started a metal band.

Rebecca: You? I never would have guessed.

Trevor: I know, right. No one does. Coincidentally, our backing band – Aaron our guitarist screams for a metal band and our bass player plays guitar for a metal band – but we all came together to do this. But when this He is We came about we made this name..and I know you were going to ask that question next..

Rebecca: I actually totally wasn’t going to ask about the name.

Trevor: Oh man, that’s a first! Okay well I’ll still tell you. The name He is We comes from the idea that Christ is in all of us. I don’t know if you guys are Christians or not, but it’s the idea that no matter what we’ve been through, He is in we. People give us so much flack about or name. They ask if it’s a Beattle’s song and stuff. But that’s the only connection.

Rebecca: So how does that idea translate into songwriting?

Trevor: Well Rachel and I when we write always write to inspire, whether or not our songs are about God or a guy or life in general. We never want to be derogatory. There’s all these millionaires out there like Ke$ha where subliminally…yeah some little 12-year-old is out there listening and isn’t going to brush her teeth with a bottle of jack. But that’s implanted in her head. A lot of people do that. So if you can just be a shining light through your music, that’s good enough. As long as its just uplifting and not derogatory, it can set a good example. That’s my rant, I guess. Sorry that was really cheesy. I got all Maury on you guys.

Rebecca: No worries! I really like that.

Trevor: This is just so great right now. Because I’m used to girls, and guys even, who say they’re from a magazine but really just want to get into the show for free. And afterwards they’re just like “oh, hey.” And I ask them if they’re going to do the interview and they’re just like, “Yeah I’m from this magazine but I really just wanted to see what you guys were like.” So when I saw you guys my eyes lit up and I thought to myself – Yes! It’s a real interview! Real people!

…and the interview concluded with a conversation about Walmart and the People of Walmart.

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