Jeremy Dunham and Kerrine Gifford hail from South Carolina. This musical duo brings a fresh and inviting blend of elegance and mood as they combine Kerrine’s enchanting cello with the rustic roots of Jeremy’s acoustic guitar. Add some foot driving percussion textures with the simple, yet emotionally hard hitting songs filled with heartfelt tales and whimsical Southern Charm, and you get the indie folk/Americana known as Sweet Sweet.
Jeremy says he started listening to and buying music as young as seven years old. “My dad had a great collection of records,” he recalled. “It was a variety of stuff ranging from The Stones, Zeppelin and Moody Blues to folky songwriters like Dylan, Cat Stevens and Neil Young. He and my brothers all played instruments, as well as a few of my aunts and uncles. So I was raised with a lot of music around me.”
Jeremy picked up the guitar around the age of 12 and taught himself how to play. He said he was immediately attracted to writing songs and trying to invent new chords and progressions. “By the time I was finishing high school, I was pretty obsessed with everything music. I love how it can move you and mess with your emotions. So whether I’m writing, performing, recording or just listening, I always hope it invokes those spirits.”
Getting It Together
Over the past two decades, Jeremy has led a handful of musical projects, rocked out in bands, written and recorded solo albums, played a slew of instruments, and recorded/produced for a variety of projects. “I love where I am now though,” he said. “Sweet Sweet has brought me back full circle, to my roots. I want to make songs that invoke those same spirits in others the way my dad’s old record collection did in me.”
Kerrine started playing cello in middle school and continued through college. As soon as she picked it up she was convinced She’d never put it down. “After many embarrassing years of being an orchestra nerd, I decided to branch out and joined my first band at the age of 18,” she recalled. “I was hooked! I was able to be more expressive and come up with my own style.” She played with a few other projects along the years before joining up with Jeremy and forming Sweet Sweet.
“Around 2010, Jeremy and I started making music together in various other projects,” Kerrine said. “We built a strong connection through those. A good friend of ours asked us to put something together for their wedding. During that time, we realized that we had something special as a duo. So we decided to start a project, and Sweet Sweet was born in 2014. We wrote our first song, “Remind Me”, and it really took off from there.”
No Pumpkins Involved
Contrary to popular belief, their name has no connection to the Smashing Pumpkins song, even though Jeremy says that he loved that song when he was a teenager. “We wanted the name to reflect the sound of our music as well as emphasize that we are a duo,” Kerrine said. “The word sweet kept coming up when brainstorming names, so we just doubled it up. This has led to people asking, and we enjoy arguing over, who is Sweet #1 and who is Sweet #2? Just to let you know, it’s me, of course.”
Jeremy said when writing songs for the duo he will typically start the writing process alone and map out the foundation for the song with chord progressions and melody ideas. “I usually have a couple of these that I’m working on at a given time. Some may have the start of lyrics but it’s really not my strong suit and I think they turn out better when we write the lyrics together. So, I’ll play them for Kerrine, and from there we’ll decide which song to develop and write lyrics for. All of our songs vary in lyrical content, but overall we like to tell stories. Some of the stories are autobiographical, some are about our friends, and some are fictional,” Jeremy told me.
On The Horizon
The pair have been touring on and off over the past year for their first EP release, In Tandem. “We’re really excited to hit the road next summer (July 2018) for the release of our debut full length,” she said. Jeremy told me that they have a new full length album project in the works as of this interview. “We’ve narrowed down 10 songs that we’ve been writing over the past year and a half or so. Some are finished with demos and some are still somewhere in the writing process. A couple of the songs are either written or co-written by Michael Hucks, a kind of silent member of Sweet Sweet, who has done everything from video production to occasionally performing with us, to now writing with us. We’re really proud of what we have so far, and ready to finally put it together and show everyone. Tracking on the record officially starts next month and is set to release in April 2018. We haven’t settled on a title yet, but we’ll have that soon as well.”