Married, with drum kits


Arts-Chris-Gee-I-am-Machi-1I Am Machi prove married people still have fun – and play in bands together

Chris Gee
The Gateway (University of Alberta)

EDMONTON (CUP) — For some, marriage and settling down signals the end of their youth — meaning there’s no more play and only time for grown-up things.But for new Edmonton husband and wife duo I Am Machi, their adventure is just beginning. While married life has its responsibilities, Nathan and Jileane Stokland have found a way to embrace it while making sure their day always has a healthy dose of music.

“After I get home from work, we kind of weave music into stuff we have to do,” Nathan says. “Like, clean the house and then practice or … ”

“We make sure to pretty much practice at least a half hour a day,” Jileane adds. “Like, at the minimum. Our Saturdays are like, ‘Hey! We get to sleep in and then practice and then have breakfast and maybe practice again!’ It’s the thing we look forward to — our after-school activities.”

After being invited into their home, the two show me around the house, which Jileane apologetically explains “smells like cat pee everywhere.” Luckily, their practice space seems to be devoid of any feline odours.

The small room in the basement is presumably where Nathan pumps out his infectious guitar riffs, while Jileane formulates intricate, pounding beats on her drums. With Nathan also providing the band’s warm and punchy vocals, I Am Machi plays multi-dimensional, soft-to-heavy energetic pop-rock songs, and it’s fascinating how all this melodic noise can come from a band of just two people.

But you have to wonder if it’s I Am Machi’s style of crunchy but emotional cacophony that makes the band work so well for the couple. Being married and living together means there will inevitably be some disagreements between the two, but playing loud music together has proven to be effective therapy.

“Part of what makes music together so cathartic is like, ‘Hey, we got in a fight yesterday — let’s go beat the crap into our instruments for a half hour and then talk about it after we get some of our energy out,’” Jileane explains.

“If you have a fight with your band, you can go home and deal with it later. But we practice downstairs and you leave and you’re still upstairs,” Nathan continues. “So I don’t know, the good [and bad] times are all together.”

“If you have a fight with your band, you can go home and deal with it later. But we practice downstairs and you leave and you’re still upstairs … So I don’t know, the good [and bad] times are all together.” – Nathan Stokland

The duo have a special musical dynamic that’s unusual for couples, and this interesting connection also extends to Nathan and Jileane’s activities outside music. Typically both homebodies, the couple can often be found within the depths of their home doing other less conventional married couple activities.

“We’re both kind of old souls trapped in young bodies. We don’t really like to go out a whole lot. And we get ‘people’d’ out really easily. So the ideal day is spent playing video games with no pants on. We have what we call ‘spa days’ which are sans pants avec whiskey,” Nathan says.

“We’ve come to terms that we are both old men. I am not necessarily a man, but I’m an old man at heart. I like slippers and sweaters and blankets and all that — but also a good pipe and big mug of coffee,” Jileane laughs.

Whether it’s through their band or just normal, everyday married life, the distinct chemistry between Nathan and Jileane is unmistakeable, and truly defines what it means to be partners.

“We spend a lot of time together and we’re pursuing music together, and it’s important in both of our lives. It’s just something we love to do together,” Nathan concludes.

“I don’t know if it flourishes our relationship or makes it grow, but yeah.”

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