Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland are the husband and wife team behind Whitehorse, a rock band with an ever-evolving sound. The Canadian duo’s latest album, Panther in the Dollhouse, is a blend of glam rock, folk, blues, and heartfelt lyrics. The talented couple is taking the stage and kicking off our series of shows at Baby’s All Right for the month of October. They took a break from touring to talk to us about how they met, their favorite cities to stop in, and a thrilling, upcoming performance involving Neil Young. Catch the rock n’ roll pair in Brooklyn on October 4th and read the full interview below:
We saw that you recently celebrated 11 years together. How did the two of you meet? Has music always been an important part of your relationship?
Luke: We met in the Toronto scene. Melissa hired me to produce a record for her. Our relationship remained strictly professional for WEEKS! We spent the next seven years playing in each other’s bands and making records together, as well as doing freelance work together for artists like Sarah McLachlan and Canadian roots titans, Blue Rodeo. Whitehorse became an official thing in 2010.
You just kicked off your North American tour, are there any stops you are particularly excited about?
Luke: Goshen, Indiana is a small town in Amish country. There is a small venue called the Ignition Garage and they were among the first venues in America to make us feel really welcome.
Portland Oregon’s Doug Fir Lounge is also a blast in a totally different way. It’s in the Burnside hood, which is the cool side of Portland (most of Portland is pretty cool though)*. They have a great hotel, lounge, and restaurant connected to the venue. Can’t lose.
Brooklyn. We make our records between Brooklyn and Toronto. Our spiritual home triangulates somewhere between Bed-Stuy, Toronto, and Winnipeg (my hometown). All of those places will be a blast. The tour finishes in Toronto at the storied Massey Hall in December.
*Editor’s note: Dr. Martens US Headquarters is located in Portland 😉
What inspired you to write Kicking Down Your Door?
Melissa: This song was written as Syrian refugees were pouring into Canada and at the same time, Donald Trump was first announcing his plans to build a wall between Mexico and the US. This song is an attempt to empathize with those fleeing violence and poverty for a better life. What do our borders really mean when it comes to humanity? We don’t claim to know, but it’s something we think about a lot and it’s come up in our songs, especially Kicking Down Your Door.
That’s four, but there you go.
Tell us about your first pair of Dr. Martens.
Melissa: I bought my first pair of 8 hole cherry Doc’s when I was in grade seven. Grunge was in full effect and Doc’s were an essential part of the equation.
What’s next for you?
Luke: We’re just about to induct Neil Young into the Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. We’ll be playing Neil’s songs, to Neil. This will be an indescribable thrill for us and will probably make his skin crawl.