Hannah and Jamie Rowen, runners and members of indie-pop duo Stray Local

How does running tie into your music-making?

Hannah: Before COVID, we did our “Run Wild” tour from North Carolina all the way to California. We would stop at different run clubs and run with different communities and then perform afterwards. We would also stop at beautiful trails just to experience them. In Colorado Springs, we stopped at Garden of the Gods. We ran through these beautiful trails in Big Sky and Lake Tahoe and Yellowstone. We made videos of our songs that we posted to our YouTube that just had these unbelievably beautiful backdrops.

You moved to Raleigh in March. 

Hannah: This community’s so thriving. We wanted to be able to collaborate with so many of the amazing musicians and producers, and obviously COVID has made it a little bit more challenging to dive in and meet people. But we’ve been enjoying running the trails around here, and we’ll bide our time before we can meet up at venues and collaborate with other artists.

What inspired “Faint Glow?”

Hannah: It started as a response to a personal relationship in my life that was verbally, emotionally abusive. It was in the context of the Me Too movement, and we wanted it to be uplifting and inspiring for people in those situations, to have a voice and to rise up against that feeling of oppression and kind of re-identify yourself. So we pulled inspiration from my personal experience but wanted to make it so that anybody listening could hear it through their own personal lens and feel inspired.

One lyric says, “I’m putting up a smoke signal,” and the music video includes people releasing colorful smoke bombs. 

Hannah: [It’s about] burning down something and then rising from the ashes. The smoke signal in the lyrics is basically saying, here’s the warning, this is it, I have decided to make a change. I feel like those colorful smoke bombs have a different meaning, and that’s the beauty of working with Honey Head Films. They brought their own narrative story to the project. In the video, there’s five vignettes of people who are talented in their own way, and to me, each colorful smoke bomb is illuminating their personal, unique, creative essence—essentially saying, something that would have been invisible is now visible, and that we should appreciate everybody and see them for who they are and not just make a judgment for prejudices. 

How can people stay up to date with what you’re doing?

Jamie: The Instagram handle @StrayLocal is for the band specifically, but we also have the @StrayLocalTrackClub handle, which is our running world. And we’re ambassadors for Brooks Running, the shoe company, so we do a lot of stuff in collaboration with them.

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