Interview with Three At Home
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Mary: I fell in love with music when I was very small, and learned and performed it in many capacities throughout my childhood. But it probably wasn’t until late middle school, when my piano teacher and the music director of the folk choir I sang in at church told me I should consider a career in music that I really started to think it might be for me. If I hadn’t ended up in music, I might have gone into acting or become a therapist.
Dann: My family was always into music - listening, playing, singing. My dad was in charge of music at a local church, and I learned harmonies and acoustic guitar playing from a mix of that, my parents’ love for the Beatles, and the greatest hair ballads of the 90s. Also, I tell a story of my dad opening for Bob Dylan while he was at college at NYU. Did it happen? Probably. He was the last act of an open mic before the headliner that day. Was it on purpose? Probably not. I feel like I would always be doing some kind of music, even if I brought a guitar to my next archaeological dig.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Mary: I love spending time with my kids, especially now that they’re in grade school and have so many cool things they’re thinking about and trying. They’re really coming into their own! But apart from being with my family, for many years, I was pretty single-minded with how I spent my time. I only did music things and forgot how to have hobbies. The pandemic, especially the first year or two, really forced me to consider who I am outside of music. I’ve gotten into gardening and hiking and anything that lets me be outside more. Taking space away from music keeps it fun and sustainable instead of a constant grind.
Dann: I have a tendency to pack every second of every day with something. Whether it’s music, cooking, spending time with my kids, traveling, or simply watching Ancient Aliens marathons, there’s something going on. I feel like if my brain is always functioning then there might be a spark that helps out a song. Although, it’s usually when I’m waiting for the washing machine to be done that I pick up my guitar and something shows up.
How long has your band been around?
We started playing together in 2016, although we both were playing solo for years before that.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We’re based in Boston, MA. It’s a vibrant but sometimes transient music scene. With so many great music colleges nearby, the city is full of so much talent! We both cut our teeth on open mics around Cambridge and Somerville. You never walk away from one of those nights without new ideas of how to perform, how to play, how to write or arrange. Many of the conversations we’ll have there end up turning into lyrics in our songs.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Our band name is an homage to each of our families. We each live with three family members, so when we go to play a show, we each have “three at home.”
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
We have had some amazing shows that included sing-alongs, encores, and community building, and we have had some challenging ones that involved 100 degree heat, forgotten gear, and audience members driving the beat with terribly timed claps.
One that stands out in particular is a fantastic night in Austin, Texas, when we were at a music conference and a few of our new friends asked a small taco bar if we could put on a show. Ten musicians from all over the world took turns trading one guitar and put on a great show. The taco place LOVED it and we had a nice crowd of passersby who ended up wanting more tacos than they realized.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
The Burren in Somerville, MA is our musical home. It’s a wonderful Irish pub with the most perfect booking and sound team around, and it’s raised our standards for how musicians should be treated. Club Passim is another favorite - that room is historic and such a great spot for people who want to listen to the music.
We would love to play The Sinclair in Cambridge. The sound and energy there is fantastic and we’ve loved seeing shows - including people we know - rock out there.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
We’re still vying to share a bill with Frank Turner or Brandi Carlile.
We’re also not against a huge stage with Foo Fighters or Bruce Springsteen.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Kindness, thoughtfulness, and honesty go a long way in bands and in life. Come as prepared as you can be, and know that it’s ok to ask for help. Also, all of those people who you think are super famous and scary are just people. Sometimes they want to chat about their families or favorite baseball teams and don’t want your elevator pitch.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Get paid in something other than beer. There have been way too many local places who want music but don’t want to appreciate the professionalism of the performers which in turn isn’t a great musical experience, especially for someone starting out.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
We put out a single earlier this year, “Magnificat,” that Mary wrote in 2018 when the #MeToo movement was on everyone’s minds. It calls into question the systemic oppression of women in both religion and government, and it unfortunately ended up feeling more timely than we would have hoped.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Our latest single “Athena” is an absolute blast to play live! It’s super energizing, uplifting, and the lyrics and harmonies are some of our favorites.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
We often start writing songs by sending each other lyrics or voice memos over text. Then, roughly once a month, we get together for one long “work day” and shore together the pieces we’ve been sending back and forth into a (more) finalized version of the song.
One of the best ways to get inspired to write more is by hearing live music. It’s hard to leave a show without new lyric or melody ideas.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Whatever we’re writing, we try to be honest. Usually, our music is upbeat, and the fan favorites are about self-empowerment, community building, connection, and love. Sometimes honesty means writing something really sad or angry, but we never like to leave folks without hope, no matter how dark it gets.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
We’ve never had to really duke it out over anything. Sometimes we might disagree about lyrics or chord changes. And, we have occasionally run into communication struggles when the two of us are exceptionally busy. The wonderful thing is we’ve always been able to talk it through and move forward without a large amount of drama.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We’re in the process of releasing three singles; the third one “Shatter Me” comes out August 18th. We’re also hitting the road the last full week in August with performances in Asheville, NC, Nashville, TN, and Austin, TX, as well as full band shows back in Boston in September and October.