Sure, you’ve probably heard of a boy named Sue, but what about a girl named Timothy? The distinctive female forename happens to belong to the equally unique singer of Portland-based indie-pop band Dresses. Comprised of Timothy Heller (vocals/ukulele/piano) and Jared Ryan Maldonado (vocals/guitar), the frock-rock duo have been playing music together since January 2012 and are eagerly anticipating the release of their SideOneDummy debut album, Sun Shy, digitally on September 3 and physically on October 22, 2013.
Though Heller and Maldonado, both 21, lived only two miles away from each other in Stumptown, it wasn’t until discovering they had a bunch of mutual friends in common online that they decided to connect and try to write music together. “She was coming over one day after school and I was really nervous because I had nothing to work on. I had never written with someone else,” says Maldonado, remembering the first IRL encounter he had with Heller. “As she was actually getting off the bus, I wrote the first few lines of ‘Blew My Mind.’ She came in, I played it for her and she loved it.”
Not only is “Blew My Mind” the first song Dresses ever wrote together, but it’s also the first single off Sun Shy and perfectly summarizes what the band is all about, musically: Sunny melodies and dynamic guitars with a lyrical undercurrent forced by bruised hearts and broken dreams. Whether listening to “Back To Life,” a playful tale of new love, or “Tell A Lie,” a refined romp about making every moment count, Heller and Maldonado are able to artfully balance introspection with affection. In fact, writing about love comes easy to the couple, which happens to be dating in real life.
“It’s nice because we enjoy spending time together and I love listening to what she writes and sings,” says Maldonado of the pair’s personal and professional partnership. Adds Heller, “It makes things really easy, nice and comforting. Showing music you’re working on to others can be difficult, but it’s a lot easier to show Jared something personal I wrote because we’re so close.” For now, though, the lovebirds are concentrating on the release of Sun Shy and sharing the beautiful music they make together.