Now based in Brooklyn, husband and wife duo Nathaniel Hoff and Jillian Speece of South Bend are playing Tuesday night in Fennville at Salt of the Earth. They’re called The Bergamot--like the essential oil you find in teas and lotions, known to reduce stress and induce happiness.
Journalists and critics have called The Bergamot's sound "pop." But with all of the folk, rock, and jazz influences, it's hard to tell where the pop genre begins. Nathaniel Hoff says, since pop is defined by how well the public reacts to the music, it's hard to pin down. He says, in a way, The Bergamot is redefining what pop means because the music is relatable, but not what you would traditionally think of as pop.
Hoff describes his relationship with Speece as ‘a life in song.’ Unlike some musical couples, they were bandmates long before they were married. Speece says they never would have met if it weren’t for the music…and their high school art teacher Mrs. Gunty.
The two had barely met while attending high school in South Bend when Gunty encouraged them to write a song together and enter it in the Project XL competition—now called the eXceL Awards. Their song made it to the top ten and they got to perform it for a large crowd in Indianapolis.
Hoff and Speece have played under The Bergamot for about six years now. Just last week, they raised more than $34,000 dollars on Kickstarter to produce their fourth album. Hoff says the album will be more socially conscious--focusing on what young people are facing today. A good example is the song "Tones," that talks about how frustrating relationships can be with technology at our fingertips.