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Born to play

Folk duo features Winnipeg twins who have music in their blood

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/1/2016 (1064 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Though they have been side by side since the womb, twin singer-songwriters Madeleine and Lucas Roger had not played music together until the formation of their folk duo, the aptly named Roger Roger, two years ago.

The 24-year-old siblings grew up immersed in the Winnipeg music industry -- their father, Lloyd Peterson, started Private Ear Recording and has worked as a recording engineer, producer and soundman at venues all over town; as children, the Rogers were fully part of it.

"We've been around the recording process our whole lives and have spent a lot of time talking with the family about songwriting and songcraft and how albums sound. It was always dinner conversation... and we thought that was normal," says Madeleine.

Despite music being a constant presence in both their lives, the pair really had no plans to work together, and certainly no plans to become professional musicians. Lucas is currently a guitar maker, and Madeleine has trained since the age of two to be an actor.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/1/2016 (1064 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Though they have been side by side since the womb, twin singer-songwriters Madeleine and Lucas Roger had not played music together until the formation of their folk duo, the aptly named Roger Roger, two years ago.

The 24-year-old siblings grew up immersed in the Winnipeg music industry — their father, Lloyd Peterson, started Private Ear Recording and has worked as a recording engineer, producer and soundman at venues all over town; as children, the Rogers were fully part of it.

"We've been around the recording process our whole lives and have spent a lot of time talking with the family about songwriting and songcraft and how albums sound. It was always dinner conversation... and we thought that was normal," says Madeleine.

Despite music being a constant presence in both their lives, the pair really had no plans to work together, and certainly no plans to become professional musicians. Lucas is currently a guitar maker, and Madeleine has trained since the age of two to be an actor.

But as Madeleine began to explore her interest in writing songs and Lucas began to experiment with a more acoustic sound — a change from the grittier rock days of his past — the two found their niche and decided to make a go of becoming full-time folk artists together.

"I was studying pretty intensely — then I took a year off to travel. I came back and was in another intensive theatre program, and that was the year I started writing," says Madeleine. "Lucas had just finished building his first acoustic guitar and was writing more songs on the acoustic guitar around the same time that I was starting to write. And so we had the same interest at the same time, and we were living in the same house... all the stars aligned."

"I had so many grand plans," says Lucas. "I thought I was going to manage restaurants. I, for a while, thought I was going to restore hot rods. I thought I was going to be an engineer for half a second, and then guitar maker. But then this (Roger Roger) started happening, and it wasn't so much a career move as much as a..."

"... Love move," Madeleine finishes his sentence. "We love doing it so much."

Over the next 18 months, they crafted their debut album, Fairweather — a collection filled with strong narratives and intimate personal reflections.

Lucas and Madeleine Roger

Lucas and Madeleine Roger

"There's a mix of both from each of us," says Madeleine. "We're happy with the variance of songs and the fact that it covers a lot of ground."

The pair — who both play guitar and sing — entered the recording process with 25 songs, spent a day making demos of all of them, then whittled that down to the nine that ended up on the album.

"It basically came down to what we both agreed on. It was very easy to discard anything where we had any doubts at all," says Lucas.

Maybe it's a twin thing, but the pair are almost creepily in synch, not only in regards to their music — many of their songs are layered with lush harmonies that showcase just how well their voices meld together — but also in their mannerisms and personalities. Not only do they finish each other's sentences; they answer in tandem using the same words and phrases.

"We shared a bedroom until we were 12, so we listened to music together every single night for most of our childhood, and we'd fight over who got to pick the CD that got played while we were falling asleep," says Madeleine. "But because of that, we already have a really good idea of what the other person's taste and style are.

"We have some other songs that we don't even bring to the project because we know they don't suit Roger Roger."

After the launch of Fairweather Jan. 17, Roger Roger will hit the road in Saskatchewan and Alberta before returning to play at Winnipeg's Festival du Voyageur in February. After that, the duo have set their sights on the summer festival circuit.

"We're pretty focused on getting to play folk festivals. If we can make it so that we're on a cycle of recording/releasing albums and then having substantial festival touring, that to me would seem like we've achieved something," says Madeleine.

"I want to hit a groove of recording, releasing albums and touring that allows us to keep using all of the songs that we're creating."

 

erin.lebar@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @NireRabel

Erin Lebar

Erin Lebar
Multimedia producer

Erin Lebar is a multimedia producer who spends most of her time writing music- and culture-related stories for the Arts & Life section. She also co-hosts the Winnipeg Free Press's weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

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History

Updated on Thursday, January 14, 2016 at 2:25 PM CST: Tweaks headline.

February 19, 2016 at 2:33 PM: Adds Exchange Sessions video

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