Interview: Couldn’t Be Happiers

We’ve featured Couldn’t Be Happiers a few times recently on these pages and I’ve really found myself loving their music – I decided to have a chat with them to find out a little more. It looks like they will be releasing some more music soon so if you’ve been keeping up with the duo like I have, then make sure you check it out!

By Jane Howkins

You recently released a new EP titled Songs for Butchie Vol. 1. What can you tell us about the EP and where can it be purchased?

The EP is the first volume of our full-length album, Songs for Butchie. Vol. II will be released on December 3, and Vol. III will be released on February 3. Butchie was Jordan’s father’s nickname. He died of cancer on November 3, 2020. He was always our biggest fan. Near the end and in his hospital bed, Jordan’s sister played him music from her smartphone. He was confused and only half-awake, but he wouldn’t request anything but Couldn’t Be Happiers. We named our first album Songs for Butchie to honor him. 

Songs for Butchie Vol, I is live on all streaming platforms, but it can also be purchased currently on iTunes and our Bandcamp page at https://couldntbehappiers.bandcamp.com/album/songs-for-butchie-vol-i.

Have you got any plans to release a full-length album anytime soon?

This is it! It’s just the first of three volumes.  When we release our physical version in February of next year, it will contain all three volumes. 

What is the writing and recording process like for you?

The writing process is a circus, but a beautiful one. In fact, the only thing we ever fight about in our marriage is songwriting. That comes from this place where we each care so deeply about the song and getting it right that we’re willing to fight for it. We’ve gotten good at realizing when the other won’t budge though, so we get to capitulation and compromise faster. But it’s a circus for other reasons. For example, we’ll write about anything. Treehouse is a good case-in-point. It’s about a couple surviving the end of days brought about by climate change. The brainstorming sessions for that song got super weird. We love it.

About recording, we have been lucky to work with a producer who knows how to get the best out of us. We trust Doug Davis at FlyTrap Music Production like family. When we recorded Lightning and Thunder, we went in to record our vocals thinking we would sing light and airy since the song was a waltz about pivotal moments in the lives of its characters. Doug had a different idea. He wanted the vocals to be hard, expressive, and pointed. We didn’t hesitate. The result was amazing and never would’ve been so without him.

Do you plan to release any singles at any point in the near future?

We’re focused on these next two volumes of Songs for Butchie for now.

You’re based in North Carolina. What is the music scene like there at the moment and are there any local band/artists you can recommend?

One thing we love about the local Winston-Salem, NC music community is the comraderies. The one-upmanship you might get in bigger, more competitive markets is so foreign to us. We’re all trying to make and distribute our art, so on balance we tend to possess a “rising-tide-lifts-all-boats” attitude.

Right now, Clay Howard is all over our radar. Not only has he been supportive of us and offered us great advice on marketing, but he’s an immensely talented songwriter, guitar player, and vocalist. He probably has a more nuanced description of his music, but we call it blues rock. He’s a prolific writer and is always releasing something new. You won’t be sorry if you head over to www.clayhoward.com to check out his music.

What/who influences you most as artists? What have you been listening to recently?

Jodi loves Taylor Swift. Not only is she one of the best writer-performers in the pop industry, she has overcome an enormous amount of mainstream hate from folks who are negative just for the sake of it. She’s remained undaunted, channeling that hate to get better and better and better. Meanwhile, Jordan has been reaching back into his own musical past and re-listening to a lot of Robert Earl Keen. These two artists are worlds apart, but that disparate interest is why our own style is so authentically us.

Has the pandemic hindered your work much?

As performers we’ve been super cautious. But it hasn’t hindered us as writers. Lightning and Thunder is a direct product of the pandemic. An Italian doctor on the news one night was discussing how Northern Italy had been ravaged by the virus. Here in the U.S. it hadn’t really hit yet…but it was coming. He told the reporter, “I feel like you’re living between the lightning and thunder.” We were.

Do you have any tour dates lined up?

We are keeping it light right now while we finish the album. We should have some exciting things happening in 2022.

What can people expect from one of your gigs and why do you think people should come and see you perform live?

An energetic and interactive night of storytelling. It’s a true introduction and invitation into our lives that we’re sure everyone can relate to. Energy wise? Jodi will glow and Jordan will glower. It’s a balance that works on-stage, in our writing, and in our lives.

Any last words for the fans?

Thank you so much for all your support of Volume I. The response has been flattering and heartwarming. We think you’ll like the next two volumes just as much.