If married duo Daniel and Lauren Goans sound like the whistling wind, their bodies are the trees. Tall and slender, they sway to a spare, folk sound. On an outstanding performance for NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series, Daniel strums an acoustic guitar while Lauren delicately taps a snare and harmonizes. The packed room is silent.
“It’s really a special experience seeing them,” says Matt Rho, a partner at Shockoe Atelier, which specializes in denim pants.
The Goanses, who perform as Lowland Hum, are based in Charlottesville but play in Richmond often because the music scene inspires them.
Turns out, they’re also inspired by the fashion scene.
“We first partnered with Shockoe Atelier last year when they had us come do a performance in their storefront in exchange for some of their gorgeous pants,” Lauren says. “We were struck by the collaboration and the similarities between our missions.”
The duo adopted a black pants and white shirt aesthetic that was “consistent with the sparseness of our music,” Lauren says. It also made it easy to pack for tour.
“I suppose we hope to communicate something of a visual cleanliness, but a gentle cleanliness,” she says. “Fitzgerald once described someone as not scrubbed, but ‘clean like wind.’ We want to offer a visual to people that might be described that way.”
Indeed, ideas started churning after Lowland Hum met the Richmond drone duo, Lobo Marino, while both were on tour. Daniel was inspired by how Lobo Marino had secured all its gigs in yoga studios.
“It sounded so relaxed, I wanted to know how we could do that,” he exclaims, while trying on various pants in Shockoe Atelier’s 15th Street shop, before hitting the festival circuit in April. “I think we feel confident by becoming more cohesive. One microphone, all white clothes.”
“Is this what you’re looking for,” Rho asks, holding up a pair of undyed, cream-colored pants.
“Exactly,” the Goanses shout, almost in unison.
The excitement is understandable. Lowland Hum has created a back-lighted backdrop for their live shows, where white linen shreds resemble barren trees in an enchanted forest. Lauren says she’ll turn a bolt of unbleached hemp into shirts for Daniel and a shift dress for herself.
“You think it’s too much, a white shirt over white pants?” Daniel asks his wife.
“Nah, it’ll look good,” she says. “Very formal.”
They nod in agreement. The highway will be their next blank canvas, and they can’t wait to get out there.