By Natalie Jane

The Rifle & The Writer opened for Slo’ Tom and the Handsome Devils at House of Targ on Nov. 26 to give fans a sneak preview of their debut album, Flowers of Chance, slated for release early next year.

The Charlatan sat down with the brother-sister duo before the show.

The Charlatan (TC): Did you grow up in a musical family?

Rebekka Paige: I grew up listening to Barney.

Colby Latocha: I know all those songs still, even now. My first memory of music, especially country, was our father showing us how to play “Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash and “Last Kiss” by Pearl Jam. We were like, “We can play guitar and we can make chords,” but we were like three and four, and we couldn’t at all. It was awful, but that was the first memory I have of trying to make music.

Paige: Our dad used to play [guitar] for us all the time.

TC: Why did you form a band with your sibling?

Paige: We started playing with each other when we were like 12. We started a band and started performing together, and then it kind of just stuck and we just kept playing together. Then we just decided we would form a duo.

Latocha: Rebekka was working on a solo CD at the time, like writing songs and stuff like that.

This was like ten years ago-ish. I was fully against country at the time… and then I kind of got roped into it, and then I learned to really appreciate it. I really love it now.

TC: How would you describe your style of music?

Latocha: I always just say country… and let [people] decide for themselves. I mean, we’re just making the songs we want to make in the style we want to – nothing more, nothing less.

TC: Who influences your music?

Latocha: I don’t know; I listen to everything. My favourite band is Every Time I Die, which is not country at all. I listened to a lot of Holly Springs when I was a kid, and then I was always switching back and forth between Dixie Chicks and Johnny Cash and George Jones, so my musical tastes are very eclectic and varied. It’s kind of hard to pinpoint, but I just appreciate all music.

Paige: We grew up listening to soft rock too… and I love the Dixie Chicks and Miranda Lambert. In my teenage years, I started liking that type of music, and then before that it was the Spice Girls. There’s just so many different genres of music that have impacted what we do.

TC: What inspired your debut album, Flowers of Chance?

Paige: Basically, just like struggling to get by in the music industry, and life happens while you’re trying to do it and while you’re struggling.

Latocha: Our songs are trying to tell the story of what’s happened these last few years. If you’re listening to it, you wouldn’t necessarily understand that’s what we’re talking about. [Flowers of Chance] is based on how you never really know how something’s going to turn out, but when you see something, you see there’s opportunity there. People always thought that of us, that we’re good at what we’re doing – that’s their words, not mine. We wanted to expand on that and see what would happen with music. So, that’s kind of what the album is about, just making music and, for better or worse, all the stuff that comes with it.

TC: How do you want people to feel when they hear your music?

Latocha: When you’re writing music and stuff like that, songs have personal meaning to yourself as a songwriter and as a musician, but when you release it into the wild, so to speak, you don’t really know how people are going to feel about the material. For me, personally, I think catharsis is the biggest driving factor for music. I think if you can listen to a song and kind of relate to it, I think that’s what I want them to feel, and whatever they take from that is their own to take.

Paige: When I’m singing, I hope they feel similar emotions to what I’m feeling, and I just hope that they’re enjoying it and understanding, or making their own opinion, about the song and what it could mean to them.

TC: What are your goals for The Rifle & The Writer?

Paige: Definitely get the CD released. We hope to hit the road next year, so we’re trying to get a tour going. We just want to keep making music that we like, that we’re happy to make, and we’re happy when we’re recording it and performing it.

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