Posted On 06 Jun 2019
Toronto rock band Run Coyote recently put out their latest album called “In Shadowlands” on April 26th via So Sorry Records.
This collection showcases the band’s unique blend of surf rock and western swagger with lyrical influence from spaghetti westerns and film noir.
Run Coyote is made up of brothers Sam (vocals/guitar) and Jake Allen (guitar), Amanda Grant (vocals/bass) and Jeremy Ramos-Foley (drums).
Connect With Run Coyote Here- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify
Learn more about Run Coyote in the following All Access interview with the band here:
Thanks for your time! What is on tap for the rest of your day?
Thanks for chatting. Today I’m working out plans for a fall Run Coyote tour and taking my toddler son to circle time at the library. Later tonight I plan to work on a new song.
Now that we are into the 5th month of the year, how would you say that 2019 is treating the band so far? What have been some goals this group has had this year? How close are you to reaching them?
This is an exciting year for our band – we’ve just released our new album ‘In Shadowlands’ with So Sorry Records! The response to the album has been great and we just got back from an East Coast tour that included playing at FLOURISH Festival – which was incredible! The goal for the year is to get ‘In Shadowlands’ in front of as many people as we can. I’m really happy with this album and I’m eager for people to hear it.
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? Was it hard to think of a name that you could agree on? Has anything surprised you about this musical journey so far?
Most of us are family, so playing in the band together grew out of that. It’s tough to come up with a band name, but whatever you pick eventually loses its original meaning and just represents the band. With “Run Coyote” I don’t think about running or coyotes, I just think of the band – similar to any name, I guess. The howl of a pack of coyotes is very spooky. Our grandma told me a story about hearing coyotes howling on the barn bridge at the family farm one night and that has always stayed with me – they sounded eerie and distant, but they were very close. So that word and a spooky pack or family stuck. Adding an action word gave it more energy. As far as surprises go, I think I was naive to all the noise out there you have to cut through to reach people.
How do you think your hometowns have influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group? If not, what do you think does influence this group?
Jake and I grew up in London, ON (Jake is still there) and I love that city because my family and friends still live there and I have great memories. In my early twenties London had a very active, supportive, and eclectic music community. Everyone would go out every night. It would be the same people at the folk show who were at the experimental drone-jazz show who were at the punk show. It opens your mind to a lot of sounds and encourages you to get out there and do something. I was inspired to write songs to perform them for this community.
I always like to ask bands if you all hang out socially apart from the music? In other words, when you aren’t working on music, do you guys enjoy hanging out for fun?
We enjoy hanging out together – even better when we have the whole family together. At big family gatherings there’s a lot of music, card games, table top hockey, and more music.
Let’s talk about your recently released album, “In Shadowlands.” What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you about the overall process? How did you celebrate the release of it?
I wanted to write an album that answered a question in my mind: is it possible to mix the sounds and themes of Film Noir and Spaghetti Westerns with moody, late night rock’n’roll? The songs came together around this general idea and developed into the concept of western noir. I’m always surprised by how long it can take to make an album. I want to do the next one really fast.
We’ll be celebrating the release all year with our friends across the country.
How do you think your first single out from the album, “The Chase” prepared listeners for the rest of the album?
“The Chase” sets up some of the story and musical themes of the album. It features the record’s central narrative – a conflict between an anti-hero/femme fatale and a detective. The song mixes rock’n’roll with spaghetti westerns and is a lot of fun to play live.
While it’s hard, can you pick out a few favorite songs on this album and talk about the inspiration for them and how they got to be on this album?
Album opener “Yellow Roses” was the first song I wrote for the album and the first song to answer the question I mentioned before. I was really proud of how it turned out and that led me to go in the same direction with the other songs on the album. “Yellow Roses” is a song about unrequited love.
One night we were leaving rehearsal and it was starting to get stormy out. Our drummer, Jeremy, pointed up to some trees shaking in the wind and said, “you should write a song like that.” “Private Eye” opens with the line “Trees twistin’, steam risin’ / Silhouettes in headlights” and centres around a murder mystery. I like the idea of having conflicting perspectives in the same song. The pre-chorus (“Private Eye I fool you…”) acts as a theme for the anti-hero/femme fatale and the chorus (“A life lead in shadows…”) is the theme for the detective/private eye. These characters are the centre of the conflict. To go with this story I wanted to write a jarring guitar riff that could work for a late-night spy thriller.
I love driving at night. I’m really drawn to all of the lights and reflections on the highway and their contrast to the pitch black surroundings. One night we were driving home from a gig and the moon was really glowing, inspiring the song “Night Rider.” I liked the idea of the highway as a liminal space between work and family or where the character had to be and wanted to be – and even how that could change. I had the chorus, outro, and a verse or two and Amanda Grant, our bass player and singer, worked with me to finish it. She brought a different perspective and added a freshness to the song that I’m very happy with. Collaborating on writing can be scary for me, but Amanda always makes my work better – she has great ideas and pushes me.
Generally, how do you go about writing your music? Do you write together or separately?
I write most of the songs. Usually an idea floats around in my head for awhile and I’ll write bits down and record things into my phone. I visualize the songs in my head like little movies and then try to convey them through words and sounds. Amanda collaborates on some, helping draw out the whole picture. Then I’ll make a demo to see if the sounds in my head fit together. I usually record rhythm guitar, bass, and vocals. Maybe half the time a lead guitar riff. I’ll send that demo to the band and then we’ll get together and work on the whole arrangement with everyone’s parts and ideas. The arrangement is very important and we’re really into dynamics.
How has your sound grown or changed over the years? What has remained the same?
Everything is more focused now. We’ve developed our sound based on our interests. We know what we’re aiming for and we talk about it. In the case of ‘In Shadowlands’ it was moody, late night rock’n’roll with Spaghetti Western and Film Noir sounds and themes. We’re still a four-piece rock band with guitars and drums, and we still have most of the same influences.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
I think we’re happiest when a new song comes together – writing and in the studio. I love making stuff. I also love performing, it’s amazing to have a connection with an audience and really act out the songs.
Where can fans see you perform next? What do you think makes for an ideal show for this group? What has been a favorite show of yours in the past?
Our next show is in Toronto on June 27 at Burdock – our hometown album release show. We’ll have another tour this fall.
An engaged audience makes an ideal show – it strengthens the connection and energy in the room. My favourite recent show was FLOURISH Festival in Fredericton, NB. It was a great weekend of music, art, and community. Everyone was very supportive and friendly, and all of the music and art was awesome. The venue was packed for our set and everyone seemed really into it and so were we. There really is a “next level.” It’s a thrill to perform for people.
How has social media impacted this band? How often are you all on your different sites interacting with fans?
I have a love-hate relationship with social media – I’m on it every day.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how you all think being musicians and in this band still gives you the most joy in life today? Do you find that your music is an escape to all the current events?
Our new album is inspired by Film Noir, which arose during anxious times in the 30s and 40s with the depression, WWII, etc. The characters’ search for justice and stability in trying times feels very relevant today. Politicians are more frustrating by the day and I’m very concerned with the Climate Crises. The environment should not be treated like a political game, it’s extremely important to our future. Music is an escape in some ways, but I also feel like our music is a reflection of our anxious time, even if it’s fictional.
What musicians would you love to work with in the future? What artists have really been inspiring this group and your music since day 1?
Today I’m really into Tom Waits, Chet Baker, and The Weather Station. It would be really cool to sit in on a Tom Waits recording session. I’m excited by the new Misha Bower and Aldous Harding albums – I’d love to work with them. Since day one I’ve always loved The Beatles and Bob Dylan. Run Coyote is also really inspired by Sammy Salvo’s song “Mushroom Cloud,” Ennio Morricone, Timber Timbre, and Lee Hazlewood.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
There’s no main message of our music. Each song is like a mini movie. I hope people can close their eyes and see the ‘In Shadowlands’ world. Mostly, I hope people find something meaningful for themselves.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about this group?
I’d like to thank people for listening and ask them to share our album with a friend they think would enjoy it.