With a band name like Bobs and LoLo, you might expect the British Columbia duo of Robyn Hardy (aka "Bobs," on the left in the picture above) and Lorraine Pond (aka "LoLo," on the right) to be an energetic pair.
And you'd be right.
I caught up with them by phone one night last week -- separately, as they were each at their own homes with their own young families. But they each still had lots of energy as they talked about their musical backgrounds, how they met, what it was like recording their brand new Christmas album Wave Your Antlers in spring (their first for the Nettwerk label), and what energizes them.
Zooglobble: What are your first musical memories?
Lorraine Pond (LP): Singing a solo at the Christmas musical in first grade. The first line was "Sleep my child…" and that's all I remember [of the song]. My most vivid memory was of my choir teacher standing offstage with a red laser pen to indicate when I should sing louder. That, and wearing makeup. It's funny, in the duo, I'm notorious for singing louder than Robyn -- it's not a problem projecting.
Robyn Hardy (RH): I sang a lot in choir in elementary school, and played the piano pretty young, five years old. In Girl Guides, too [the Canadian equivalent of Girl Scouts], where I met Lorraine.
Lorraine and I sang together in an a cappella quartet, the two of us played duets. We also played basketball together.
What'd you play?
RH: I played center; Lorraine was a power forward. We'd be singing on trips to games, like up to Prince Rupert [British Columbia].
What'd you sing?
RH: Oh, choir songs… The "wim-oh-weh" song ["The Lion Sleeps Tonight"], Van Morrison's "Brown-Eyed Girl," Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'."
Was music a career for you?
LP: We had a lot of music in the home. I remember writing a ninth grade essay on music therapy… I grew up in a time when girls were encouraged to go into science. So I went to university for kiniesiology [the study of human movement].
So how did you get into kids music?
LP: It was a very organic evolution -- [Robyn and I] met at Girl Guide camp, went to high school together, took piano lessons, duetted together. Then we went to separate universities, and after that, Robyn came back to Vancouver teaching elementary school. I'd worked at the Vancouver Aquarium, and was asked to do something for kids. So we wrote five songs, and volunteered to play at the BC Hospital, and just played those five songs over and over.
We started small -- we borrowed money from our parents to produce our CD, and recorded it in our living room. And from that came CDs and a DVD and a TV show and the deal with Nettwerk.
RH: My husband is a musician, and a producer of our albums with us. [Lorraine and I] were at a bar, listening to him, and we were talking about how we should write kids music.
Lorraine probably told you the five-song story [Ed: at which I laughed, because, yes, Lorraine, with whom I talked first, had indeed mentioned that]. We borrowed money from our parents and had a year to pay off the loan -- we did it in 3 months. And here we are ten, eleven years later… it's crazy.
Do you specialize in the songwriting process?
RH: Everybody I know writes songs differently. We come up with themes for an album, brainstorm ideas, play around with song ideas. We work with a team, including my husband. Rhymezone has been very helpful for us [laughs].
The creative part is so much fun. That's the great thing about having Nettwerk behind us. They do the back-end, which when you have young families, like we each do, is great, and with our teaching background, that's not our strength.
LP: We're creatives, so, [yes], that's the nice part about Nettwerk, they can work on the back end.
What's the most energizing part about being in the band?
RH: That's a tough call -- all are fun. I like watching the kids, meeting them afterwards. Seeing them dance.
LP: The messaging is key -- not preaching, but energizing, watching the audience and family and friends.
Also, being best friends. If we want to go further, reach our dreams, we can push each other. We're friends first.
That's somewhat unique.
LP: Yes… when we called our parents to ask to borrow money to produce the first album, they must have been shaking their heads. Now we're new parents -- Robyn's got a five-month old, and I've got a one- and three-year-old -- and the grandmas are watching the kids.
What are your memories of recording Wave Your Antlers?
RH: I remember having a sling carrier, recording with the new baby. I also remember recording "Go Freeze" while sweating buckets. Favorite songs like "Old Toy Trains"… "Little Light" reminds me of my daughter.
What's it like recording Christmas music offseason?
RH: Well, we spent April and May writing songs, and recording in May and June, so between that and planning everything, I've dubbed 2014 the "Year of Christmas."
Even though it's a Christmas album, there's still a lot of music with an "active" bent, like "Chris Moose."
RH: Yes, connecting kids to nature [the other theme the band focuses on] was harder to connect to eh album. But for the album's original songs, we talked a lot about [the movement idea], how to do that in live shows for songs like "Chris Moose" or "Go Freeze."
RH: Right now, we're all Christmas. But we're going to be writing for a new album in the spring. 2015 is going to be amazing -- we have big dreams, big plans.