Receiving international acclaim for their previous releases and placements in television networks such as Discovery, Oprah, TLC, MTV, A&E, and E! TV, Rumour Mill is showing no signs of slowing down.
Hailing from Nelson, BC is country-folk duo Rumour Mill. Consisting of multi-instrumentalists Anna Katarina and Aline Daigle, the duo first introduced the world to “Rumour Mill” back in April 2019 with their debut EP release. “Daylight’s Free”. The EP went on to chart “In the top 100 in US College Radio, leading to a nomination for Artist of the Year at the 2019 Kootenay Music Awards, Top 100 in CBC Searchlight, and a full scholarship to the 2020 International Folk Alliance Conference in New Orleans, LA.” (Rumour Mill). In September 2020, they pursued a more melancholic route, with the release of their self-produced 6-track EP, “Gone With the Wine”. Follow up on their previous success, the pair released their latest EP, “Acoustic Sessions” this past May. Through a tasteful blend of morose melodies and soothing vocal harmonies, the 4-track EP offers a cathartic listening experience to fans.
Recently I spoke with Rumour Mill about their path to pursuing music, their latest EP and their goals for this year.
Kyla Pearson: For those who are unfamiliar with your music, can you tell us a bit about your paths to pursuing music? What made you both want to become artists? How did Rumour Mill come to be?
Rumour Mill: We both studied classical music growing up: Anna studied voice & piano and Aline studied viola & violin. We both felt like the structure of classical training was a little restrictive albeit integral to our musical education and technique, especially for learning how to practice properly and developing a musical ear. Our moms have known each other since before we were both so our friendship was kind of written in the stars. In grade 12 we worked on a creative writing project together that somehow led to us recording spoken word tracks in Anna’s basement. Regrettably, this was probably the inception of Rumour Mill. A couple of years later we both went to Selkirk College to study contemporary music and thankfully found ourselves leaving spoken word behind and delving into the world of Jazz. We had a band in music school called “Atlas”. No one really liked the name. Or our music. But we stuck it out and continued making music together, resisting the pull to stick to what you knew best (which was spoken word.)
Kyla Pearson: This past May, you released your “Acoustic Sessions” EP. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the EP and a little more about the songs on the EP?
Rumour Mill: We’ll start with “Song For A Winter’s Night”. We were feeling so inspired this winter about the season: the super short days, frozen water lines, black ice, pale skin etc. It was also night at least half the time, so it made sense to write an endearing song about the season…. And the night. (We’re just kidding, Gordon Lightfoot actually wrote this beautiful song!)
The inspiration really came from our new instruments. As our time became more available with our industry shutting down we both started exploring new instruments. As we became more proficient on the guitar and the mandolin we created new arrangements of our songs from our EP “Gone with the wine” that showcases how we sound live as a duo.
Kyla Pearson: Each of the four songs on the EP was also written during the pandemic. How has focusing on these new songs helped you both cope with the reality of the Covid-19 pandemic?
Rumour Mill: The Acoustic EP is actually a collection of Acoustic Versions of our songs that were released on our fully produced EP “Gone With The Wine,” the exception being “Song For A Winter’s Night”. This Gordon Lightfoot cover was the springboard for the whole project actually: we wanted to learn a holiday tune and it was one of the first arrangements we did solely on guitar and mandolin. It was the first song we recorded. It worked out so nicely that we felt inspired to record more acoustic arrangements that we had been playing throughout the pandemic. It was such a blessing to have a project to focus on while the whole world was at a standstill. This EP was our way of putting a silver lining on an incredibly challenging situation. It helped us both stay focused and positive. We are so lucky to have music to turn to when there is nowhere else to go. Every day we’re so grateful that our moms created the space for us to learn music as young girls and empowered us to follow it as a career. It’s become our lifeline and we can’t imagine moving through life without it.
Kyla Pearson: You also both learnt new instruments for this EP, with Aline learning the Mandolin and Anna the acoustic guitar. How has this challenged you both and helped you grow as artists/musicians?
Aline: The mandolin felt really natural for me. I was so intimidated by the Pick at first but it honestly felt like coming home after a long trip away. Like everything I had been wanting to say with my violin but couldn’t, could finally be expressed through the rhythm of picking. It’s really evolved my approach and playing to the violin as well, frets are pretty cool. I mean they definitely get in the way sometimes but are also very freeing. Especially when it comes to mapping out patterns on your instrument. I’ve always felt really intimidated by the guitar but after learning the mandolin the guitar also makes so much more sense to me because all the concepts of the fretboard carry over.
Anna: Learning guitar throughout the pandemic has been a most incredibly inspiring challenge. From the beginning, I was determined to progress to a “professional” level as quickly as possible so I could incorporate it into our live playing and recording. With that pressure and intention came a lot of frustration, but I am incredibly grateful for the progress I’ve made in such a short amount of time. Moving from my primary instrument, the piano, to the guitar was tricky because of the physicality involved and the shift I have to make in my brain when approaching the fretboard. Having a strong Music Theory background makes taking up a new instrument easier, because I already understand the language of music, but also more frustrating because knowing what you want to play and executing it well are two different things! Guitar has diversified my songwriting style, developed my ear a whole lot, and has made me a much more rhythmic player! I absolutely love the instrument.
Kyla Pearson: You also recorded, engineered and produced your own EP. Can you tell us a bit about the process?
Rumour Mill: We recorded everything in Anna’s stepdad’s studio (Kootenay Music Academy) in Nelson BC. We just used what we had and went for it! For recording, we primarily used a Rode K2 tube mic and a pair of Josephson C-42 pencil condensers. We had a ton of fun writing parts on our new instruments while we were recording. Without the constraints of paying for studio time, we got to experiment more than usual. Because the arrangements were really well developed prior to recording, the mixing was relatively painless. From the beginning, I was thinking of how everything was going to sit in the final mix. I used mic techniques and arrangement of instrumentation to create the sonic textures I wanted, so most of the heavy lifting was already done by the time I sat down to mix. It was our first time working with Philip Shaw Bova for mastering and I really love how he brought the songs to life.
Kyla Pearson: The EP also marks the new “raw, honest sound” you want to share with your fans. What inspired this stylistic change? Can they expect more acoustic music in the future?
Rumour Mill: As a woman, it’s really common to say you’re a musician and have someone answer “oh wow so you sing?”. And yes… we both sing. But we also do so much more. Anna plays keys, acoustic and electric guitar, melodica and can sing the crap out of some jazz and R&B. She even plays some fiddle! I play Violin, Guitar, Mandolin and Octave Mandolin and sing and work full time as an audio engineer (when the world is not shut down). We wanted to show off these skills in a more vulnerable way. It’s also a much more accurate representation of how we sound when we perform as a duo which is a much more realistic formation for touring presently.
Kyla Pearson: With live music starting to be a reality once again as lockdown restrictions begin to lift, what is one venue or show you’re looking to perform at? What live shows do you have coming up that fans can catch?
Rumour Mill: We have a show coming up at the Capitol Theatre in Nelson BC (our hometown) on September 9th. We both performed on this stage multiple times in musicals/plays and choir. It feels really special to be playing a concert for all our loved ones on a stage that has been there for us throughout our whole lives. We are really looking forward to it.
Kyla Pearson: Lastly, what is one goal you hope to achieve by the end of the year? Do you plan on releasing new music other than your “Acoustic Session” EP?
Rumour Mill: Well we’ve already met Sheryl Crow and Sarah McLachlan so we suppose Shania Twain is next on the list! But while we wait for her to invite us to dinner, we’re working on our next album. We’re very excited to be recording a single in Nashville this fall with Dan Knobler, and to finish up the writing of our next album which we will start recording sometime this winter or spring – whenever it feels right.
Listen to the “Acoustic Sessions” EP now:
Stay up to Date With Rumour Mill:
Spotify: Rumour Mill
Apple Music: Rumour Mill
Amazon Music: Rumour Mill
Rumour Mill. Interview. Conducted by Kyla Pearson, Jul 18 2021.
Unknown.“Featured: Rumour Mill”. Photo courtesy of Rumour Mill’. Accessed Jul 18 2021.
Unknown.“Official cover art for Rumour Mill’s latest EP, ‘Acoustic Sessions’ ”. Photo courtesy of Rumour Mill’. Accessed Jul 18 2021.