An Interview With Teenage Electronic Rock Duo ‘Semblance’ And Their LGBTQ+ Activism
Meet Semblance, the electronic rock duo made up of two of the coolest 17-year-olds, Maeve Gorman and Connor LeFevre. The duo met online, hit it off, and began trading demos, despite living over 100 miles apart. Within their first in-person meeting, they wrote their first cut of their debut EP, I Love You, which is due out early next year. Maeve, who recently came out as lesbian to her family and friends, and Connor, who grew up with two gay fathers, are both heavily involved in LGBTQ+ activism. They are currently facing the struggle of teenage self-discovery, and their music is an expression of that inward journey toward self-love and acceptance. I had the privilege of interviewing the incredible duo.
I think the big question everyone is wondering is how did you two meet online and what was it like meeting in person?
Maeve: I had placed an ad online for other musicians that were serious about pursuing music since I already knew it was what I wanted to do. I was struggling to find other people my age that had the same mindset. Connor was the first person to respond and we started writing almost immediately, and we decided to just stay a duo for simplicity’s sake.
Meeting in person for the first time wasn’t really that big of a deal, honestly. We had already been sending demos back and forth and talking about other ideas by the time we had our first practice.
Connor: I was looking for bands to join as my local scene didn’t really interest me enough and eventually I found Maeve’s ad. We immediately hit it off and we just went full-steam ahead sending demos back and forth.
Meeting in person was actually super normal and uneventful — we had done Skype calls and had already gone “into each other’s minds” so-to-speak during the writing process.
So why electronic rock? What about that genre intrigues you guys?
Maeve: Alternative rock was the genre that revived my interest in music. I grew up listening to classic rock and 80s pop, and when I was much younger every style was exciting for me to play. But after a while, everything seemed boring and similar so I wasn’t really playing much music or listening to it, besides what was on the radio. But when I found Moving Mountains, I got so excited about their sound. From there, it just kind of snowballed to trying to find as much music as possible that I wasn’t already really familiar with. We didn’t necessarily choose our sound consciously as much as we just wrote and experimented with sounds until we were like “Ooo yeah, that sounds cool.”
Connor: I have been in mostly metal bands up until forming Semblance. When I was going to festivals and watching videos of other drummers online, I was slowly gravitating more towards the electronic/alternative rock scene. I found it to be the next natural evolution in my sounds and where I wanted to be. Since Maeve wanted to go that way as well, we connected perfectly.
Maeve, how was the coming out process for you? How did that affect your music and your self-identity?
Maeve: Coming out was almost a joke for me. I had worked myself up to tell my parents, and when I was sitting across from my mom to tell her, I was clearly distressed about what I was trying to say. Then she just asked me “Are you gay?” which wasn’t exactly how I had imagined the conversation going, but I just nodded my head and she said “Okay.” I don’t think it’s affected my music at all though, because it’s not as if there’s a rule that says, “Oh, you’re gay? Welp, you gotta play moody indie music,” or anything like that. And I wouldn’t say it affected my self-identity as much as it just helped me come to understand what that is for me.
Connor, what was it like growing up with two dads? How did that affect your self-development?
Connor: Well, my life was very interesting as a child due to my parents. I was relentlessly bullied because of who my parents were. Growing up with two gay dads, coupled with the fact that everyone I knew was also gay, I originally believed that I was gay myself. But I wondered why I would get flustered and “weird” around girls. So eventually I realized I was straight, and I had to almost come out to my parents as straight, which is kind of funny to think about.
Do I think this experience has affected my self-development? Definitely. I have had pretty awful self-esteem my entire life because of it, and I think these experiences had driven me to where I now lie within the art I create and the art that I enjoy.
Semblance just released their new single “Angel.”
What’s it like being teenagers in the music industry? Are you often discredited?
Maeve: I wouldn’t say we’re discredited exactly, but we definitely do get the general low expectations of a “teenage band.” People expect a certain type of music and quality of music, and then when they hear us they’re almost always shocked. I’m still kind of trying to figure out how to take that — on one hand, I’m glad they think we’re really good, but on another hand, they weren’t expecting much from us. It’s also hard trying to get people (mostly adults) to not have the mindset of “oh that’s cute, you have a band and you want to try and pursue music.”
Connor: I definitely think it’s a case where people, mainly adults, treat us like children. I’ve found that people at first will be hesitant because, as Maeve said, they almost always have a preconceived notion of what the music will be, and how good or bad it will be. I feel as though I get more criticism from people our own age though, as adults will usually just tell us that what we are doing is great.
Music is obviously a very powerful experience for many. How do you each of you view music’s impact on your life?
Maeve: I mean, if I didn’t have music I wouldn’t know what I’d do with myself. It both occupies my time and keeps me sane.
Connor: Without music, I would definitely not be who I am; I believe that music, in a sense, saved me. What I mean is that music gave me an outlet to pursue and put my time into. Without it, I wouldn’t know what to do. It’s the only thing I’m good at.
What can we look forward to with your new EP and your upcoming projects?
Maeve: We’re mostly trying to establish ourselves and take any opportunity to do so. We’re so excited to finally get our music out there and we also can’t wait to just get on stage and perform the new songs.
Connor: You can look forward to the culmination of our time and effort. We are always writing and can’t wait to set foot on the stage.