Driven by the mantra that excellent art transcends categorical boundaries, new folk duo Mr. & Mrs. Something are capturing the attention of listeners inside and outside the Church with the delicate harmonies on Setting Sail, their debut album produced by Mitch Dane (Jars of Clay, JJ Heller). The duo–comprised of husband and wife Bino and Chelsea Peck–are worship leaders at Seattle’s Calvary Christian Assembly, yet the pair is just as at home performing their original songs at coffeehouses and pubs. TSO recently had the chance to get to to know the couple better, and we talked about everything from their eclectic musical influences to the story behind their most ambiguous band name. So, without further adieu, let us introduce you to Mr. & Mrs. Something…
TSO: How did you originally meet?
Chelsea: We met while we were in college at Azusa Pacific University. We were Resident Advisors on the same staff and became good friends. After about a year, we started to become romantically interested and began dating.
TSO: When did your interest in music begin for each of you individually?
Bino: We’ve both loved music as long as we can remember. When I was really little, my brothers and I would challenge each other to see who could quickly recognize melodies from different movie soundtracks. I enjoyed piano lessons growing up and taught myself guitar later on, but it wasn’t until I was 14 that my oldest brother, Jerome, encouraged me to step away from just learning how to play other people’s songs and write my own. Attempting to write music opened up a whole new world of approaching, appreciating and exploring music for me.
Chelsea: I started singing songs around the house when I was really young. I’d make up the songs as I’d go along and even got frustrated that my mom didn’t know the lyrics or melody when I asked her to join in. I grew up singing in kids choirs and church choirs and started playing the clarinet in fifth grade band. While I thoroughly enjoyed all that, it wasn’t until we had been dating for a little while that I started to become interested in writing and performing original music.
TSO: Is it challenging working as a singing/songwriting duo and also being married?
Chelsea: Challenging isn’t the first word I’d use to describe it. Are there challenges? Of course, just as any marriage will have challenges and any singing/songwriting duo will have challenges. However, the fact that we, as a married couple, get to experience the adventure of being a musical duo is actually incredibly refreshing and rewarding. Rather than having to leave each other for band practices, we get to practice together. When we travel for music, we get to travel together. Having married each other partly in order to experience life together, I’d say we have a pretty good deal.
TSO: Your moniker originated from the name of the duo Bino was formerly in with his brother. Where did the “Something” part come from?
Bino: The Something Bros. started as my brother’s project, where I’d just accompany him on the songs he wrote. As such, we went by his name, Jerome Peck. Later on, he felt like my contributions had grown to more of a collaborative effort and wanted the name to reflect that. So, on the fly at one of our concerts he said, “We are the … Something … Brothers.” The audience loved it and we loved it, so we stuck with it.
TSO: Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
Chelsea: Our musical influences are all over the place. They range from Jars of Clay to Jimi Hendrix, Petra to Pink Floyd, Brandon Heath to Bob Dylan … We could probably go on all day and still not cover them all. Over the last few years, though, I’d say The Avett Brothers, Sara Groves and Thrice have been the biggest influences on us. However, it seems like every time we hear a new band that we’re impressed with, something they did that we liked will surface itself in our music whether we notice it or not.
Bino: We both grew up near water. Chelsea comes from a big sailing family in Seattle and spent many of her family vacations on a sailboat. I grew up in the San Diego area near the beach. When you spend a lot of time in and around the water, it’s hard not to notice some similarities between the ocean and its Creator. Both are beautiful, powerful, untamable, unpredictable and far from being fully known or understood. They can each bring down the strongest of adults or lift to new heights the weakest of children. But amidst all the uncertainty and danger, there can be such grace and joy. One of my favorite song lyrics—which comes from a Thrice EP dedicated to water—says, “But grace can still be found within the gale. With fear and reverence, raise your ragged sail.”
TSO: You have a clear vision to reach people outside the four walls of the Church. Why do you feel that your music transcends musical genres and can translate well to unbelievers?
Bino: Part of the reason is that our musical influences come from both inside and outside the Church. Whether we’re performing in churches, bars or anywhere in between, we’ve noticed that our music has been well received as it encourages and challenges people in many walks of life.
Chelsea: In our songwriting, we purposely try to avoid using words that are used only in the Church. That effort has lent itself to communicating themes about God and life in ways that can resonate across genres. Our hope is that God will use that to make Himself known both inside and outside the four walls of the Church.
Fans can purchase Setting Sail from iTunes here.
For more info, visit www.mrandmrssomething.com.