For a duo that’s only just dipped their feet in the waters of Canada's experimental dreampop scene, Vogue Dots are on their way to being one of the country's next east coast breakaways. Babette Hayward and Tynan Dunfield make music that has a tangibility to it as much as it has a sound, radiating thick synth-filled textures, airy vocal layers, and saddened, sexual consistencies on their new EP, Mauka.
The twenty-something Halifax-based New Brunswick natives have lined up the release of Mauka to follow five months behind its sister EP, Toska, which was put out last May. Unlike Toska’s sound, which the band describes as “at its most mild, boredom, and at its most intense, anguish,” Mauka evens out the scale, offering less melancholia and more melodrama. “Mauka is more uplifting than the last [EP],” they tell me over a pint at a dim-lit, carpeted pub decorated with tacky relics of the mid-nineties, where they played a show just a few nights prior. “It sounds dreamy, but in a drugged-out way, not in a wishing-and-hoping kind of way.”
Tynan and Babette are both sound technicians by day, so it makes sense that they have an ear for things that sound really good. But despite their solid sound and success so far, the group’s only been playing together and recording for just over a year. The band became a thing when they locked down some gold at Babette’s parents’ cottage during their first real project together. “We were sort-of friends, but we were still sort of new to one another,” they tell me, playfully revealing the origin of Vogue Dots. “We stayed at the cottage in Belle Isle, and we were kind-of getting to know each other at that time too. As we started to complete songs, it painted this picture.”
When listening to Mauka you can’t help but envision yourself on a sailboat at night, drinking whisky and pomegranate juice, playing a game of Kill-Fuck-Marry before taking off all your clothes and diving into the ocean. So, if that sounds as paradisiacal to you, there’s no doubt you’ll be spilling liquor and getting down to your skivvies to the sounds of Mauka on an imaginary schooner in no time.
Though they may be the newest talented musicians on the Canadian block, they already have local genre trailblazers like Ryan Hemsworth and Rich Aucoin whispering sweet encouragements in their ear. Hemsworth gives his nod to the unassuming duo, as an artist who’s the same age, from the same place. “Vogue Dots kind of sound like Halifax, but kind of don’t – it’s a pretty good place to sit,” he says. “Their songs are saturated with those charmingly dreamy/folk elements, but I think Babette and Tynan are more than ready to break free into the world.”In the same vein, indie-pop wonder, Rich Aucoin, compares their sound to that of Beach House. “Vogue Dots are some of the best landscapes of synth and vocal samples I’ve heard in a while, with a sweet emotive voice leading you through the tour.”
It’s not risky to prophesize the impending blowup of these guys, but Tynan and Babette maintain the fact that they’re still just getting used to everything, fumbling on overmodest answers during our interview and alluding to pre-show anxieties. “Ultimately, we want to be able to put out music, sell records, and have a good show,” Babette tells me before Tynan chimes in with a facet of their five-year plan: “I’m just thinking it would be nice to have a live set and relax, and not panic.”
They’ll soon be heading back to the Belle Isle cottage to rekindle their creativity at the musey headquarters, but not before the world gets to hear the sweet coos of their latest lovechild, Mauka. “We’re just excited for people to hear it. It’s been so long.”
Hilary Windsor has never had whisky and pomegranate juice together, but she's pretty sure it would be delicious - @HilaryWindsor