A chat with Wedding Day Rain and author Kelsey Macke (And free stuff!)

Hi friends!I had the sweet opportunity to chat with the husband and wife team, Daron and Kelsey Macke, that make up Wedding Day Rain, an indie-folk band destined for greatness. Daron and Kelsey are two of those ridiculously talented people who can sing and play music and write beautiful words. They’re also really great people. They support causes they care about and are genuine artists. Kelsey is the young adult author of Damsel Distressed, which comes out this fall, but you can pre-order it here!

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Damsel Distressed: Hot girls get the fairy tales. No one cares about the stepsisters’ story. Those girls don’t get a sweet little ending; they get a lifetime of longing

Imogen Keegen has never had a happily ever after–in fact, she doesn’t think they are possible. Ever since her mother’s death seven years ago, Imogen has pulled herself in and out of therapy, struggled with an “emotionally disturbed” special ed. label, and loathed her perma-plus-sized status.

When Imogen’s new stepsister, the evil and gorgeous Ella Cinder, moves in down the hall, Imogen begins losing grip on the pieces she’s been trying to hold together. The only things that gave her solace–the theatre, cheese fries, and her best friend, Grant–aren’t enough to save her from her pain this time.

While Imogen is enjoying her moment in the spotlight after the high school musical, the journal pages containing her darkest thoughts get put on display. Now, Imogen must resign herself to be crushed under the ever-increasing weight of her pain, or finally accept the starring role in her own life story.

And maybe even find herself a happily ever after.

A companion album by Wedding Day Rain, Imogen Unlocked, will be available with the book. Like a movie soundtrack, but for a book! People! You can’t make up this kind of cool.

Imogen Unlocked SM

I sat down with my friends (over the computer, at least) and talked about craft, music, and all the amazing things they have on the horizon.

WDR EP cover 800

Who does the song-writing? Kelsey, Daron, or is it a team effort? Or does one of you write the music and one of you the lyrics?
Daron: It’s definitely a team effort, but we have well defined roles. I will write the music and Kels will write the vocal melodies, then we co-write the lyrics. A typical songwriting session will start with me playing a piece of music I have been working on and Kels will start singing along. Once a structure starts to form, we’ll pen the lyrics.
Kelsey: Yeah. What he said. Hahaha.

Favorite song you’ve written?
Kelsey: One of my favorite songs from the upcoming album is “Unseen,” which we included in our video for the charity, NoStigmas. This song is taken from the point of view of a person who’s been hurting, and has grown weary of fighting. It’s about the desire to just fade away and let the pain go too. I love it because it’s so emotionally vulnerable, and it never fails to hit me right in the feels.
Daron: A song that I have personally written? Hmmm…I have a couple. ‘So Long’ which we re-arranged and released on our self-titled EP. I also have a song called ‘Terra’ which I dig…it’s kind of a love song about the Earth…you know, cuz I’m a tree hugging hippie

Tell me a bit about your favorite song on Imogen Unlocked and why it is your favorite?
Kelsey: HA. I guess I already answered that one! Babe, what’s your favorite?
Daron: That’s a tough question. All the songs we write are our children so they all have a special place/meaning. For me, I think my favorite is a song called ‘My Strength’ because it’s an internal dialogue for Imogen, the main character of Kels’ book. She’s having this moment of talking herself up and telling everyone that they don’t even know what she’s capable of… although, ‘Edge Of The Fall’ could easily take over since it was the song that started it for us.
Kelsey: That’s true. “Edge of the Fall” was the first of the NEW songs that we wrote as Wedding Day Rain and not just as two married people who liked to sing together.

Where do you get your biggest inspiration in writing songs? Kelsey – is that the same place you get inspiration for writing your stories? (Yes, I’m from the South and I called your books stories.)
Daron: I approach songwriting/music from a kind of spiritual place. I just grab a guitar and start playing. Before long a new idea will come through and I start to develop it. I honestly don’t feel like I am doing the writing…it’s almost as if the music writes itself…I’m just the conduit.
Kelsey: I’m inspired by people. The human experience of loving and losing is endlessly inspirational for me. I write to feel things and I write to cause others to feel things too. This applies to all kinds of writing, songs and books and anything else.
Do you like writing or performing/recording the songs better?
Daron: Good question! I like the entire process, but playing live has an immediate payoff…IF the audience likes you that is…hehe.
Kelsey: Yeah! Daron and I have both experienced playing for crowds of ONE single bartender. That’s not as fun…
Daron: But, it’s very rewarding when something you have created has an emotional impact on someone and they let you know about it.

What’s your process? Do you do it all together or work separately then come together?
Kelsey: When we’re writing the actual song, like, Daron is strumming and I’m singing, we’re almost always together.
Daron: However, since we have roles that each of us is more suited for, we often come up with ideas individually then bring them to the table.

Kelsey – what’s Daron’s strongest contribution to the band? Daron, same question about Kelsey…
Kelsey: Daron’s ability to create guitar lines that are as evocative and expressive as spoken words has always been one of his most amazing qualities. (A quality that I experienced the first time he ever played for me.)
Daron: Kelsey’s biggest contribution is her vocal melodies. She’s a fantastic singer and has great melodic ideas that she brings in. I also like to think she helps balance me lyrically. I write more lyrics from a more abstract perspective…she’s more literal…it balances out.

How long has this now-realized dream been brewing for you, both individually and as a duo?
Daron: Oh jeesh. I’ve been making music as long as I can remember. We’ve both been involved in other projects, but as a duo we’ve been singing and playing together for 10 years or so. It wasn’t until the past couple of years that we really started to focus on writing for us.
Kelsey: Yeah, it was about two years ago that we found some focus and really became Wedding Day Rain. I’ve mentioned before that I had dreams of being a teenage acoustic-pop star. That dream died a painful death, but what grew up in its place is a dream that we’re realizing together. I am so VERY proud of the record we’re putting out in October.
Favorite song of all time?
Daron: Impossible! I think your favorite song can change from day to day. Whatever song has the most impact on me in a given moment is my favorite.
Kelsey: So hard. I don’t know if I can pick one favorite song of all time, but if I absolutely had to, I could probably say U2’s With or Without You (which we mashed up with The Fray’s Over My Head (Cablecar) a few months ago.)

Check out the youtube clip here.

Favorite singer/band? (Yes, you can have a top three)
Daron: This may surprise you, but despite the kind of music I write with Kels, I like to listen to heavier music. There is a new band called KXM that I’m currently listening to. I also like Shinedown…big vocals and good melodies.
Kelsey: My favorite bands change with the seasons. Currently, I’m loving Bastille, Two Door Cinema Club, and Passion Pit.

Do you want to put an album out with every book or will you just put out more full-length albums? I think I speak for all of us when I tell you, a four-song EP is only a tease for us superfans. 😉
Daron: Superfan!? Aw…thanks Angi! Ya know…I think it would be pretty cool if we could do that. It depends on a lot of factors though. We hope that the marriage of story and music really adds depth to the experience. If people like the art, then I don’t see why we couldn’t do this kind of project again.
Kelsey: WE LOVE you Angi! I don’t know what things will look like in our life next year, but like Daron said, if this works and if people are into it, I think we’d both definitely consider other, similar projects.
What’s next for the band after Imogen Unlocked?
Daron: Wow…I haven’t really stopped to consider that. We could do what we do every night…try and take over the world. Just kidding… we might take a moment to breathe and see where this crazy thing we decided to do takes us.
Kelsey: Yeah. Kidding. Right. HAHA.
We want to make music that we’re PROUD of and we’re doing that on this record. We’ll probably take a beat over the holidays, and see what’s brewing. But once the record is out, we’d like to tour with it for a while before we go back to the studio.

I hear you’re putting together summer plans. Tell me about your tour and how we can help make it happen. And Daron, tell us about your sponsorship.
Kelsey: Well, we’re hoping to take a program about teen mental health issues into places like community centers and library programs, and we’d like to make those programs FREE for the communities. But touring costs money, and we’d love to have help from people who believe in our message of hope and creativity so that we can offset the costs.
If everyone who loves the work we’re doing just donated $5, we’d be in business. For more information, click here.
Daron: We’re raising money until the end of July, we’d appreciate it if you’d take a look and consider sharing it with your friends.
As a guitar player, it’s kind of a milestone to have the endorsement of a guitar company. I discovered Breedlove Guitars almost by accident. I was shopping for a backup acoustic guitar to my old standby and I bought a Breedlove on a whim…I loved it instantly. I reached out to Breedlove and they welcomed me into the family. Thanks Sami!

Biggest influence in your musical career?
Daron: I’m a guitar player first, so my main influences are guitar players. I would say that Eric Johnson, George Lynch, and Michael Sweet are the guys that have the most influence on my style and writing.
Kelsey: I’m weird in that I listen to a lot of music that isn’t exactly what we MAKE, does that make sense? Growing up, though, my favorite music was the vocal powerhouses of the 90s. Whitney and Mariah were my LIFE.

Do you wish as bad as I do that this interview could’ve been in person? Because I REALLY wish that.
Kelsey: Oh. I totally wish that more than you. I’m working on a teleportation device in ALL my free time.
Daron: I KNOW! Technology is cool though…it allows people to interact and become friends when you haven’t met them in person.

Let’s talk about your self-titled EP, that’s available now, song by song. Tell me a bit about the meaning/inspiration behind each song. I’ve included a review of each song.

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Kelsey: So, something we haven’t really had the opportunity to talk about yet, is that all of the four songs on the self-titled EP are sort of, carry over songs. These are all songs that Daron and I wrote separately, before we began to make music together. These songs are a few years older, and didn’t really have a place on Imogen Unlocked. And we knew that if we didn’t release them before the IU record, they’d likely never be part of our fresh stuff. The exception to that is the song “Sinking” which, I did write about eight years ago, but which was re-worked and re-arranged with Daron to give it a punch and make it work for Imogen Unlocked. “Sinking” will be on the full-length record, but it won’t be like this. This acoustic version is an exclusive to the EP.

Sinking (review by Angi): This song is so powerful. Kelsey’s voice is like a bell on this track, so pure and clear. You can feel the emotion coming through the words and each strum of the guitar. I’m excited to hear the other version of this song on IU.
Daron: ‘So Long’ is a personal refection. It’s about realizing that you have a lot of growing to do and acknowledging the fact that we all trip and stumble on our journeys.

So Long (review by Angi): Great track! I think this song covers a topic everyone can relate to, outgrowing your old self and the hard journey that can be.
Kelsey: “Love Goodbye” was written when I was leaving the high school version of my self behind. I went through a hugely transformative period right around the time I graduated high school (who didn’t?) and this song was about being unafraid of letting go of the things you’ve loved for the sake of becoming who you need to be.

Love Goodbye (review by Angi): By far, my favorite track. and that’s saying something, because I really enjoy the harmonies and music of WDR. But the words of this song hit me in the heart every time I hear it. It never lets up or eases back from the emotion. It’s rare for a song to never lose it’s effect on me, but this is definitely one of them. It also has a strong melody and hook. Basically – a perfect storm.
Daron: ‘Truth And Love’ – This song is about lost love. Knowing that something was right for a period of time…then something changes. In the aftermath, you wonder how you could be so close to someone and then pretend like neither of you ever existed to each other.

Truth and Love (review by Angi): This is the “poppiest” song on the EP. It sounds like a happy, little, Jack Johnson-type tune, but the words are heavy. I mean, heav-eee. There’s a great yin and yang to this song. And my favorite of Daron’s guitar riffs lives in this one.

Thanks so much Daron and Kelsey! I can’t wait to hear the full length album this fall, and of course, hold that gorgeous book in my hands. Make sure you check out the Trevolta link below to help with WDR’s summer tour. You WANT to see these talents in person. I’ve included all the links to find Kelsey, Daron, and WDR. Also – they are such great people, they’ve going to give you stuff, too! All you have to do is comment on this post and you’ll be in the runnin to win a free digital copy the WDR’s self-titled EP.
Websites:      Damsel Distressed                   Wedding Day Rain

Twitter:          Kelsey Macke            Daron Macke               Wedding Day Rain

Facebook:     Wedding Day Rain

Instagram:    Wedding Day Rain

Youtube:       Wedding Day Rain

Tour fundraiser:  The Damsel Distressed Tour

Daron’s Breedlove sponsorship:   Breedlove

Don’t forget to leave a comment here for your chance to win the Wedding Day Rain EP! Drawing on Wednesday, May 28th!