We Three strongly advocates for full disclosure with family and friends.
The McMinnville, Oregon pop-rock sibling trio of Manny Humlie (guitar, vocals), Bethany Blanchard (bass, vocals) and Joshua Humlie (keys, drums, vocals) boldly eradicates internal barriers of shame and guilt on their revelatory new single, “Secrets,” via Palawan Productions.
“This year made you have to understand yourself. It didn’t give you a choice but to tell those secrets. There was almost no way around it; it needs to be normalized sharing these really dark secrets that you want to keep covered,” said Mannie Humlie, who wrote the track in July.
“Why do we not share them? It’s because it’s not normalized, and it’s because you’re going to lose friends. You’re community’s gonna get smaller; you’re going to be made fun of, and you’re gonna be seen as an outcast.”
Backed by personal courage and sibling solidarity, We Three divulges the small steps people take to shroud their everyday struggles and true identities from others. A thick cloak of swirling synths, somber piano, soft drums, thoughtful bass and radiant electric guitars add a protective, emotional layer throughout “Secrets.”
In response, Manny Humlie cautiously admits, “Look I’m scared of it/So I’m wearing shirts that really don’t look good/But they cover it/Got a grey Nike/That doesn’t let them see that I’m staining it/It’s on the inner left side/Just below the number five, so it hides a bit/Keeps it secret.”
“We really need to normalize that it’s OK that your friend group gets smaller; that people stop talking to you, and that you just get a tight-knit group that wants you for you. I think the older that I get I’m realizing that’s just a part of life no matter what. I would rather share exactly who I am and have the people around me love me for that than to have to constantly be putting on faces,” said Manny Humlie.
Coincidentally, We Three beautifully conceals those faces in their exquisite video for “Secrets,” which features the band dressed in simple pastels while performing inside a lofty Portland, Oregon ballroom. A pack of masked dancers interprets the track’s melancholic mood through a series of slow, fluid movements. Each dance symbolizes individual worries from people aching to share their own truths.
“We wanted this concept of everybody being super put together, but it’s also kind of dead. Like even when you’re up there, it’s awkward and uncomfortable. It’s not real, and it’s lifeless. For the dark abyss part, there’s more life there even though it’s the sad portion of it,” said Manny Humlie.
For the “Secrets” video, We Three worked with director Derich Hartfeil and producer Lauren McKean in conjunction with Fortem Films. They also invited Marchant Ballet Company dancers to elegantly perform throughout it.
“That moment when they were all dancing, we got some B-roll. They were just doing their own thing, but it was so cool because they were interpreting it in their own way. As the music is pushing and pulling on the beats, there was one spot where they jumped into the chorus, and boom, they all hit it together in their own way. It was like these opposites coming together,” said Joshua Humlie.
Dear Paranoia, Sincerely, Me
“Secrets” is the band’s first new single since releasing their introspective, therapeutic sophomore album, Dear Paranoia, Sincerely, Me, in May. Co-produced with Keith Sommers, the contemplative 16-track album takes listeners on a highly personalized journey as We Three “deals with trauma from a child to an adult” and chronicles the lingering challenges of insecurity, anxiety and loss.
A haunting, deep-toned intro, “Dear Paranoia,” serves as a reflective salutation for the band’s cathartic sonic letter. In a sense, it’s the first liberating exhale as a series of buried emotions and thoughts are released with each successive track.
“We’re such sponges when we’re kids, and we take everything personally, and we hold on it, even if it’s not the truth. It’s coming to terms with realizing you don’t need to keep all that. There are things that you can say, like ‘I appreciate that I was taught that, but that’s toxic, and I don’t need that in my life,’” said Manny Humlie, who recorded the project over six months with his siblings and Sommers.
“The whole album is dealing with situations where that’s happening, and going, ‘This makes me feel so good; this makes me feel so normal. But why do I feel so guilty? Why do I feel like if I be my true self people aren’t gonna love me for who I am?’ As we started to analyze what it was talking about, we realized it’s about dealing with paranoia.”
Within that sea of paranoia, We Three dives headfirst into an underwater cavern of solidified anxiety on “Nightlight,” as twinkling piano, deep bass, propulsive electronic drums and waltzing synth engulf listeners.
Manny Humlie encouragingly sings, “Let’s open up here for a change/And tell ‘em things you tuck away/And say the things you never say/Tell ‘em that you miss your mom/And tell ‘em that you’re not that strong/You’re sleepin’ with the nightlight on/To try and keep your demons gone.”
“We haven’t touched on anxiety a bunch; we’ve done a little bit here and there with a few tracks. This one is really about being anxious in these social settings because you’re trying to put on a different face and you’re trying to be the perfect person. You’re trying to make sure everyone likes you, and when you get back home by yourself you’re like, ‘Who am I?’ When in reality it should have just been like, ‘I miss my mom; I’m not that strong,” said Manny Humlie.
Once they tackle anxiety, We Three obliterates deep-seated doubt on “Overdose,” a peppy ode to replacing pessimism with optimism and self-confidence. Dreary synths, rhythmic bass, vibrant electric guitars, pounding drums and clicking cymbals move listeners closer to the final chapter.
Manny Humlie openly sings, “I had a dream I went out/I overdosed on my doubt/Yeah, it was real/It was strange/Had nothing but doubt in my veins/I could feel all of the pain/Like when I’m awake that don’t change/But it didn’t seem to be bad/It kind of felt good not being sad.”
“There’s something about the lyrics on ‘Overdose.’ I love how vague they are, and the descriptions are mysterious. It’s very dreamlike and metaphorical, but then I connect to all the lyrics. The bassline is also my favorite,” said Bethany Blanchard.
After purging a whirlwind of toxic emotions, We Three breathes a final sigh of relief on “Sincerely, Me” as airy synths, clanging percussion and deep, distorted vocals affix the album’s closing signature. It’s the proverbial weight being lifted off sunken collective shoulders after years of paralyzing self-doubt and nagging second guesses.
The Elsinore Theatre and Beyond
We Three will celebrate the release of Dear Paranoia, Sincerely, Me with two livestream shows Saturday at The Elsinore Theatre in Salem, Oregon. The band’s virtual performances will replace last year’s originally scheduled “Dear Paranoia” tour, which was cancelled once the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“With this show, we’ve had so much time to prep and create something that we’ve never been able to do before. It’s at this massive theater, and it’s the biggest production we’ve ever brought to a show,” said Bethany Blanchard.
For their “Dear Paranoia” virtual shows, We Three will perform tracks from their growing catalog of albums, EPs and singles before virtual fans worldwide. They’ve been hinting on TikTok about potentially sprinkling several new tracks throughout their set.
“I think we want to give people this big, epic livestream that they can enjoy and get them excited to watch us play. It will be a virtual show, but times 10,” said Manny Humlie.
After Saturday’s livestream shows, We Three will consider releasing additional new material later this year. It’s likely “Secrets” will be the first of several new highly anticipated tracks to come.
“It’s all kinda up in the air right now. I feel like we can’t commit to anything at the moment. All we can commit to is there will be a lot more music. What actual format it will be in isn’t totally set in stone yet. We’re just sitting on a lot of music, and there are a lot more songs for people to hear,” said Manny Humlie.
Saturday, Jan. 23 | 3 p.m. ET and 8 p.m. ET
Tickets: $15 and up, including VIP packages