SW Sounds: The Pairs

London folk band The Pairs have released their debut full-length album, Noise.

Siblings and friends since birth release debut album amid local buzz

London folk band The Pairs released its debut full-length, Noise, on November 15. From left: Renee Coughlin, Steve Plimmer, Hilary Watson, Noelle Coughlin. (Supplied by The Pairs)

SW Sounds is a weekly feature that profiles a southwestern Ontario artist and their new music. Listen for it Mondays on Afternoon Drive between 4:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on CBC Radio One.

Twins have a special bond. So, too, do lifelong best friends.

So when you have both of those bonds in the same band, that can do wonders for the music.

London folk band The Pairs is made up of longtime friends Hilary Watson and twin sisters Noelle and Renee Coughlin, with drummer Steve Plimmer rounding out the quartet. After steadily building a following with a busy schedule of local shows and Ontario folk festival appearances in the last year, the band just released its debut full-length album, Noise.

How did the band come together?

HW: The band came together about a little over three years ago now. The three of us girls are lifelong friends. We've known each other since birth. Our parents were really good friends and we grew up singing together. We were all in London at the same time, looking for things to do with our lives. We all had a joy of making music, but also finding healing and connection through music. We were all writing songs, so we decided to start singing on each other's songs, and we became The Pairs.

Tell us a bit about your new album.

NC: This is our first full-length album, and it's titled Noise. It's kind of an emotional journey, to be honest. There's strong narratives in each of the songs that take us through life's challenges, the hopes we have in life, and the hilarious moments in life. The idea behind calling it Noise is it encompasses so many different things: those internal messages that we consistently talk ourselves in and out of, how to fit in the world and different anxieties that we may feel. There's also the noise of society around us, and the messages that are being projected onto us from the outside. And then there's also the noise that we make as we're trying to figure it all out - the literal noise as we're fumbling our way through life and awkwardly crashing into things (laughs).

HW: Making mistakes.

NC: Yeah, making mistakes and just trying to fit.

Tell us about the lead single, 'Did I.'

RC: 'Did I' was written after one particular band practice. I think all three of us use songwriting as a kind of therapy. We're really cognizant of developing good communication strategies with each other, even through those more tense moments. We've all tried to develop these self-reflective practices of asking ourselves 'what did I say there to trigger someone?' or 'what did they say that triggered me?' This song was a way of asking 'did I do something here? Could I have perhaps caused a bit of this tension?' 

It's really just about taking that moment of self reflection and trying to find peace and harmony with loved ones and people in general...cuz' that tension and that fighting just kinda sucks. 

This interview was edited and condensed. Listen to 'Did I' as part of The Pairs' SW Sounds Profile:

London band The Pairs is about to release its debut full-length album this weekend. Three of the four Pairs joined Chris in studio to share the story behind the album, and its lead single. 8:02

If you know of an artist or band with new music that we should be featuring on SW Sounds, email or reach out on Twitter, @cbcafternoondr.

More SW Sounds:


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.