"This year will involve a trip, possibly not relaxing," says Mark Grundy, guitar and vocals in Heaven For Real. "Definitely not relaxing. Probably grueling, involving playing in front of people, or maybe in front of no people but playing anyway. Cutting our teeth."
Immediately, the band---made up of Scott Grundy, Mark's twin, who also plays guitar and sings, and Nathan Doucet on drums---starts joking about band retreats when faced with the prospect of a tour. They talk about an all-inclusive in Mexico, and the more they talk the better it's sounding.
"That's what Beat Happening did," says Mark. "They all moved to Japan and started a band there."
"I don't want to move anywhere," says Scott. He reconsiders. "Well maybe... I know an awesome turtle farm in the Cayman Islands. I'm being serious."
The disclaimer is appreciated because Heaven for Real is a silly bunch. They play off each other, giggling and cracking jokes, coming up with new genres with which to describe their band (baby jazz and crackle and pop both being frontrunners) and generally being buds. Live, their performances agitate--- and have a pleasantly unsettling effect---as the Grundy harmonies worm into your brain creating an itch you can't get to.
"[Scott and I] kind of started the idea of doing a thing where we both played the same instrument a while ago," says Mark. "Then Nathan moved back and we saw him at a Halloween party---we loved his costume and he liked our costumes and then we were a band."
"I was Count Dracula...Count Chocula, actually," says Doucet.
"I was a female Jason---Jasonette," says Mark.
"I was a pathetic Zorro," says Scott. "I couldn't cut out the eyes."
"No, but you were the pathetic Zorro," says Mark. "You owned that."
Heaven for Real also play off each other live, twin guitars working together over Doucet's alternating thunderous and delicate beats. The harmonies soar, then halt, creating something complicated and wonderful. There are elements of jazz, especially live, Mark might play an unexpected chord and Scott will start laughing. And anyone who has ever been transported by classic sibling bands like the Louvin Brothers or the Everlys knows the harmonic power of two similar voices working in tandem. The fact that they're related---and play together in Quaker Parents---could account for why such a new band is already so cohesive.
"Mark and I would kill each other if we were in a band by ourselves," says Scott. "That's why we have to have Nathan there."
"If we're referring to you as twins and my objective experience of working with you both," says Doucet. "I think the first thing is an instant cohesion, so I'm not really waiting around for you to figure something out because most times you can just start looking at each other and start playing."
"I don't like to look at him," says Scott.
"No, we don't like to do that," says Mark. "That's because his eyes look like mine and it freaks me out." "Mine are a darker brown," says Scott. "Mine are darker," says Mark. "It's not a competition."
On the horizon the band is recording (and may have a cassette out for Saturday's show) and putting out a Craft Single on Andy March's cassette series. Their philosophy is to write constantly, and Mark Grundy takes a different approach for Heaven for Real than he does for Quaker Parents. In this incarnation, the songs are like short stories. It's not overly personal, but it's refreshing, as it handily sidesteps any overworked songwriting tropes.
"Between Quaker Parents and this it's a lot different," says Mark. "This is more based on specific thoughts of a character, with the other things it's a bit more reflective. In Quaker Parents, I'm writing about something that comes from my world, maybe more abstract but it's about my experience. But with this I think its a lot more about how a character is perceiving it, instead of how I would. It's a good way to expand on ideas you've had or things in your world that you aren't even ready to be associated with yet."
"It's all about doing it," says Scott, "and going with wherever the pen is going to take you."
Heaven for Real
w/Old and Weird, Organ Magic, The Lauras
Saturday, March 2, 10pm, $5
Gus’ Pub, 2605 Agricola
Watch Heaven For Real perform "Owner" live in The Coast lobby. Shot and edited by Heather Rappard.