Santee was founded by Heather and Joshua Loepp, a brother and sister duo hailing from Sioux City, Iowa. Heather and Joshua grew up side-by-side, building forts, giving each other haircuts and forming “bands”. Very young and very short, their first great idea was to form a choir with their youngest brother and some neighborhood stragglers. With only a few in their dusty lot, Heather gave up when she could not find an alto to complete their sound. The two went on to create a Doo-wop group, cunningly dubbed “the Doo-woppers”, which had one song and a long run. When they became teenagers, a dark cloud had settled over the duo, and “Brain Band” was forged--- a black metal tour de force which yielded the hit, “They Won’t Stay Dead”.
It wouldn’t be until much later that the siblings would create Santee, the honest-to-god band that would become the manifestation of their combined creative power.
The Loepp family left Iowa and made the essential American journey out West. The siblings witnessed mysterious landscapes never before beheld by Iowan eyes. The mountainous panorama of Washington State had a huge impact on their imaginations, and their spirits stirred at the sight of the icy Puget Sound. Not only were they changed by the Evergreens, but the local music produced by them.
Their hearts were stolen by NW indie-rockers Modest Mouse, Built to Spill and the quiet genius of Elliott Smith. Heather began writing her own songs, singing and playing guitar. Her first songs would make it on into the first stage she would take up.
In 2008, SANTEE was born. The band is named after their mother’s Native American tribe, the Santee Sioux.
Heather’s old friend and first love, Joel Myers (of Derek Kelley and the Speedwobbles, Abraham), offered his McCartney-esque brand on the bass, adding a level of sophistication that urged the band to raise the bar. Then came the young gun, virtuoso, Conor Sisk (of New Faces, Brite Futures) on the drums who reigned in the cacophony of their sound with grace and professionalism. Santee eventually earned one of their greatest accolades in the form of Spencer Kelley (of Basemint, Wallpaper) who’s Wurlitzer invoked a whimsical beauty that balanced the band’s otherwise dark ambience.
Santee has crafted a unique take on NW Indie Rock, blending their affections for Modest Mouse with the sad country heart of Patsy Cline, while preserving a holy reverence for the Beatles. Heather’s deeply personal lyrics backed up by the band’s skillful harmonies deliver an emotional experience--- and look into her nostalgic world of dreams and stories that convey a stunning piece of Americana.