Hope you’re enjoying your Canada Day! And my celebration of homegrown artists. Up next: The husband-and-wife duo of Josh and Katie Pascoe, collectively known as Fresh Breath. The alt-country couple have already showcased a handful of videos with me: Time For A Change (read all about it HERE), Tomorrow Today and Make It Together (find out more about them HERE). Speaking of together, they both took some time to share their thoughts in response to my thoughtless questions. Read on:
Introduce yourself: Name, age (feel free to lie), home base, other details you’d like to share (height, weight, identifying marks, astrology sign, your choice).
We are an alt-country duo from Kingsville, ON, Canada! Together we’ve been touring around the nation, spreading Peace, Love & Fresh Breath. Katie, born in July (with the moon in Cancer) & Josh, born in September (with the moon in Virgo) both bring in some serious creative & organized vibes. Back in December 2018 we made a bet together to see who would grow their hair for the longest time. Katie obviously won for longest strand, but Josh ultimately took the ‘W’ and to date still hasn’t cut his locks! Together we reside on a small crop farm.
What is your musical origin story?
We met through a mutual friend, back in 2003. We were both just learning how to play guitar and we gravitated towards each other at a party. Soon after we started jamming together more and writing songs. We actually made a pact to be called Action Jackson, signed an “agreement” handwritten on a piece of foolscap paper and folded it up to place inside the body of Katie’s Epiphone Jumbo acoustic. We never even told anyone about the name, but quickly after changed it to Fresh Breath and forgot about the pact hiding inside the guitar. We’ve been together ever since!
What do we need to know about your latest project?
We released Time for a Change on June 12 along with a music video. It is our third single release this year. We’ve had this one lined up and ready to go since late November 2019 and have been so eager to get it out there! It’s totally out of our normal comfort zone when it comes to songs (Katie thinks). It pulls you right into a modern country vibe, without apologies. We really went for it in the harmonies with this one too. The music video features us in our own home setting, which shows a sort of vulnerability & inside look to where the song was actually crafted.
What truly sets you apart from other artists?
I (Katie) think it’s the connection we have as a couple that sets us apart. The interaction between us on stage or during a performance. The way we can read each other through music and expression creates a uniqueness that is all our own.
What will I learn or how will my life improve by listening to your music?
We like to refer to ourselves as inspirational rockers sometimes … so yeah I guess it would improve by hearing some of our positive messages, mantras & stories. There’s so much to be grateful for and it comes through in our music. A lot of our jams are positive and wholehearted, so hopefully that would rub off on you & inspire the listener.
Tell us about the first song you wrote and / or the first gig you played and what you got paid.
Actually one of the first gigs we ever played was together, kind of. We were at a small local patio and I (Katie) was playing a set of originals (and maybe a Bobby McGee cover), with her friend Sarah (conga player). I suddenly realized that we wouldn’t have enough material to cover a couple of sets worth. So I called Josh up from the small crowd and had him play a song to stall a little. Josh played us a couple of covers (Pearl Jam’s Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town … and maybe Wonderwall!?). Sarah & I ended up playing our same set over again to fill the time. Katie’s mom had to fight to get our pay, and in the end I don’t think we ever did get it!
What living or dead artists would you collaborate with if you could?
I (Katie) would love to sing a song with Joni Mitchell. She’s always been one of those artists that every time I hear her voice I get all giddy and bouncy. She makes me wanna sing better and inspires me a lot. Also Jimi Hendrix because … Little Wing is my soul song.
What artist or style of music do you love that would surprise people?
We both have a funny background of music interests. Josh used to listen to Boyz II Men a lot and is really into ’80s music. Where Katie used to listen to rap, like Master P, The Fugees & Ma$e, and is really into heavy metal & alternative music. We both jump around to all genres really and that’s probably why our music can sometimes be hard to specify.
What are your favourite songs / albums / artists right now?
Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit just released a new album called Reunions. It’s been on repeat in our house for a while. Also we often circle back to the latest Chaka Khan album, Hello Happiness … that album is a jam!
How about some other favourites: Authors, movies, painters, you name it.
We are all in on funny movies — some that might make the top 5? Probably The Big Lebowski, Big Fish, Almost Famous, Wayne’s World & August Rush. Plus any Schwarzenegger movie (for Josh).
Who would you be starstruck to meet?
Paul McCartney, Stevie Nicks, Dave Grohl, Bonnie Raitt (Katie’s picks, she sometimes calls herself a #fangirl when it comes to other musicians).
What do you drive and why?
We drive a 2017 GMC Savana Cargo Van. It’s a modest little grocery getter converted into a full on camper van. Complete with double bed, toilet & sink! We bought it for touring to save on hotel expenses and to build on our #vanlife street cred.
What skills — useful or useless — do you have outside of music?
Josh is a licensed machinist and used to make stainless-steel jewelry and wedding bands. He can also juggle. Katie can drive stick — car / tractor / whatever — but would rather be riding in the passenger seat.
If I had a potluck, what would you bring?
Something vegetarian! We’re both veg for almost two years now. So a salad or veggie app, for sure.
What current trend or popular thing do you not understand at all?
TikTok … hahaha. We have no idea what that’s about but are bracing ourselves just in case we take the plunge!
Tell us about your current and/or former pets.
We have a new puppy, Ruby! She’s a Cairn Terrier that’s full of life. Keeping us in our toes daily and testing our patience. Her predecessor was our beloved labradoodle of 14 years that we sadly lost earlier this year. It’s been really hard to move on after losing a pet like that. She was a huge part of our lives. But we’re happy to have Ruby with us to give us a sense of purpose, especially lately while we’re home.
If you could have any other job besides music, what would it be and why?
We’ve talked about opening up a small cafe before, featuring local art & music. Maybe serving up some fresh local vegan fare & specialty coffees. Or maybe we’d have a dog kennel / care facility on the farm. We’re not afraid of exploring our options really, but music is our #1 choice and desire for sure.
What’s the best advice and/or worst advice you were ever given?
Josh’s dad always told us that “it doesn’t matter how much money you make, it matters how much you enjoy your life. So if you’re miserable at your job but making a lot of money. You’re not necessarily putting yourself ahead of the person who’s happy with their work but making less.” That always resonated with us. Life is so uncertain, and you just can’t bank on anything that might cost you your happiness right now or ever. That’s something we’ve taken with us and consider daily.