On Saturday, Ashlanders took refuge inside Oberon’s against flurries of snow and warmed themselves with the sound of live music from alternative folk duo Dravus House. Band members Elena Loper and Cooper Stoulil performed an enchanting set of songs that merged seamlessly with the arboreal accoutrements of the venue. Loper’s gentle voice twinkled with the same warm glow emanating off of the light-adorned trees, and the interplay between Loper and Stoulil’s guitars created a natural, earthy bed of sound.
Dravus House, based out of Seattle Washington, have been playing, performing, and writing songs for two years. “I grew up in Los Angeles and moved [to Seattle] three years ago,” Loper said. “I was singing in bands down there and started to write and play guitar, performing at open mics.”
Loper and Stoulil met through the burgeoning open mic scene in Seattle. Stoulil runs an open mic at Seattle’s Fremont Abbey, and was first introduced to Loper when she performed there. “She came one week,” Stoulil explained, “and we chatted and became Facebook friends.” Later, Loper moved into the house that Stoulil was living at. “We started jamming, booking shows, and she asked me to play on some songs,” Stoulil said. “It kinda just slowly evolved into what it is now.”
Dravus House are currently touring the West coast in support of their upcoming debut album, set to be released digitally in April. To record the album, Loper and Stoulil made regular trips to Brickyard Studios in Bainbridge Island. “It’s this cool little farmhouse tucked away in the woods,” Stoulil said. “Elena really dug the sound of how it was recorded. We went over for a day originally before deciding to record the whole album, just to see what it would be like.”
The process of recording took almost a full year to complete, and served as an escape from everyday life for the pair. “We would be able to go or get work off for like a couple of months or so to be able to go out there,” Loper said. “It just made it fun kind of getaway as well.” The pastoral setting of Bainbridge Island had a considerable effect on the atmosphere of the recording process. “The surroundings are very beautiful and lush and green on the island,” Loper continued, “It definitely made for a very magical recording experience to be surrounded by that.”
Although the recording process was lengthy, Dravus House found an opportunity to reflect on the band’s sound as a whole. “It was very long and drawn out,” Loper explains, “but it gave us a lot of time to write and play new stuff, but also think about what we wanted the sound as a whole to be like.”
So far, crowd reaction to Dravus House’s new music has been positive. “It’s been really fun and kind of a gamble, because it’s our first shot at this- like booking things out of town,” Loper said. “But I feel like slowly we’re sort of building a community outside of Seattle, which is really beautiful.”
Even in the midst of preparing for the release of an upcoming debut album and building a network outside of Seattle, Dravus House have their sights set on continued artistic expansion. “We’ve definitely been talking about booking more dates out of town,” Stoulil said, “and it’s probably a good time to start discussing another recording project.”
Dravus House’s self-titled debut album is available for purchase at live shows, and will be available on major streaming platforms in April.