A hazy spin on traditional Americana music, folk-rock duo Smoke Season’s sound is a product of the polar-opposite personalities of the band’s two members.
“I’m a dreamer and Jason [Rosen] is an adventurer,” says vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Gabrielle Wortman. “And so there’s this very dream-pop element to a lot of the things that we write, but then there’s also a very grounded Americana element. I think that Jason is bringing this Americana vibe, and I’m bringing the dreamy, more textural vibe.”
Wortman and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Rosen both came to Smoke Season—which formed at the end of 2012—from other musical projects: Wortman is the lead singer, songwriter and producer for electro alt-rock band Tempest, and Rosen is the former keyboard player of pop-rock group Honor Society. They met when their respective bands were both rehearsing in the same space. One night, the two of them “happened to write an entire song in one sitting and that song ended up being our first single,” Wortman says.
“It was a very organic convergence,” Rosen adds.
Wortman says their experimental sound ended up “being smack-dab in the middle” of their own musical styles, “because on our own we pull in different directions … but together we end up meeting in the middle.”
A duo in the truest sense of the word, Rosen and Wortman share lead vocal duty equally, and their atmospheric songs are woven around the beautiful harmonies they create together. New to being in a band with two lead singers, Wortman says the focus on the intertwining vocals “ended up really defining our sound.”
Smoke Season has released one album so far, an EP titled Signals, which came out in March 2013. Simultaneously delicate and ethereal but warm and woodsy, that first record was an “introduction to our own band,” Wortman says. Conversely, the duo’s upcoming EP—which will be released in February—will “really show the definition in the direction that we’re going,” she says. “It’s definitely more precise; our sound is definitely defined now.”
What hasn’t changed is Smoke Season’s exploratory nature. Both originally from New York City, Wortman and Rosen eventually moved to the West Coast, where “both of our characters and our artistic senses really expanded,” she says. Inspired by the “powerful allure” and the “sense of adventure and wonderment” of the old West, Wortman says, it “really holds a lot of our dreams because it’s the location where we’ve been able to live our dreams.”