COWPUNCHER, JASPER LEGION, DECEMBER 14, 8 P.M. $15
Jasper freelancer Queralt Castillo Cerezuela caught up with Cowpuncher’s Matt Olah<> and Ryan Kelly to talk about their new album, their roots and playing small towns.
Matt Olah: Cowpuncher is another term for a Cowboy. Kinda like the lowest of the low cowboy. A cowboy rode a horse. But a cowpuncher was on foot.
Ryan Kelly: And some of us have cowboy boots on our feet, rain or shine.
QC: In Ghost Notes you told us you were raised on rock ‘n’ roll. All of you?
Matt: I didn’t bother asking. I was touching on my experience with growing up in logging towns. Some people think of small town life as simple and idyllic, but there is often a darkness there.
RK: In my case ma and pops took turns choosing the cassettes we’d listen to during family road trips. Dad played classic rock and mom loved musicals. I chose the rock. There’s too much darkness in musicals.
QC: Let’s talk about your new album, just recorded and about to be released soon. When are you planning to present it and where? Tell me about the recording process. The best and the worst moments.
Matt: Actually, I don’t think we will be releasing it soon. We are going to sit on this one for bit. We will likely release it towards the end of 2015. As for the recording process, this is the first time we worked with a producer, which was the smartest idea we’ve ever had. We had about 8 songs ready and a couple of ideas when Derek (Derek Downham our producer) arrived. We spent a few days at our rehearsal space doing pre-production, running through the songs, with Derek tightening them up and making adjustments to the arrangements. Then we moved into the studio. We ran all of the songs in the studio for a few days and ended up being able to keep most of the material live off the floor. Then Derek added his magic to it. He added some keyboards, gongs, noises and what he calls ‘distorto vocals.’ He went for a wall of sound approach. There are lots of layers that are buried underneath the songs.
“It sounds like diving onto a runaway stagecoach and getting the horses under control before the whole thing flies off of a cliff.”
QC: A word to define the new album. What is new? Are we expecting more rock ‘n’ roll or more country?
Matt: Hustle (the title for our new album). This album is heavy and fast. Lots of rock anthems and sing alongs. It is sweaty and punchy and all rock ‘n’ roll.
RK: Definitely Hustle. It sounds like diving onto a runaway stagecoach and getting the horses under control before the whole thing flies off of a cliff.
QC: As a musician, I know it takes lot of time to write a song. How do you do it?
Matt: This is actually our 4th album. The trick to having lots of material to work with is to always be writing. Prior to pre-production we spent months working on the songs, rehearsing upto 4 times a week.
RK: Exactly – it’s a very direct approach. We have a tried and true method of writing. The band descends into Matt’s basement and we stand in a circle with our instruments. It’s a sharing circle. Someone brings up an idea and the group hammers it out.
QC: First time in Jasper? What do you expect to find in such a small town?
Matt: Heck no. We’ve played Jasper a bunch of times now. It’s a super friendly town and people like to have fun and party. Looking forward to heading back.
RK: We try to come to Jasper at least once a year. It’s beautiful and we love the crew at The Legion!
QC: Three things you do before a show?
Matt: Vocal warm ups, pee and stretch.
RK: Hit the can, get a beer and stretching.
QC: What is your worst nightmare as a band?
Matt: Bad roads and moose.
RK: Pray for the traveling bands.