The Canadian Rock Band, THE SHEEPDOGS Discuss Their Upcoming Album, “Future Nostalgia” Due Out On 10/2, Being On The Cover Of Rolling Stone and Much More!
Posted On 01 Oct 2015
Tag: All Access, All Access Music Group, Artist Interview, Bad Lieutenant, Badfinger, Canada, Dina Alone Records, Future Nostalgia, Hall & Oates, Help Us All, Jack White, JUNO, Learn & Burn, Ontario, Patrick Carney, Project Runway, Rolling Stone, Shamus, Stones Fest, Stony Lake, The Black Keys, The Sheepdogs, Thin Lizzy, Tim Gunn, Vance Powell
On October 2nd, Canadian rock band The Sheepdogs will release their highly-anticipated new album “Future Nostalgia” via Dine Alone Records.
Following up on their last album, which was produced by Patrick Carney of The Black Keys, this collection brings the band back to their 70s rock-inspired roots. This collection was mixed by Vance Powell (Jack White) in Nashville.
Over their impressive career, they have racked up many JUNO awards in Canada, and were the only unsigned band to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone, and were the stars of a themed Project Runway episode.
Learn more about this talented group of musicians in the following All Access interview:
You are about to release your third album entitled “Future Nostalgia”. How has the band grown in these 3 records? What about the band dynamics?
This is our 5th album (we had 2 other albums released before Learn & Burn). We’ve made records under all kinds of different circumstances – some cost a bunch of money, others were made for nothing. Sometimes there were expectations and other times there were none. We’ve tried to learn from every experience and keep the elements we felt made for good recording and getting rid of those that made things difficult.
Tell me about recording “Future Nostalgia” in quiet Stony Lake, Ontario. Why did you choose this setting for the album? What was the best and hardest thing about recording it there? Besides a collection of 18 new songs, what else did the group take away from that recording experience? How long were you there?
We really liked the idea of being someplace outside of our regular lives. It took away the usual day to day goings on and distractions, and allowed us to really zero in on just making a record. It was a beautiful and peaceful setting and that meant we were relaxed and inspired to have fun making music. Recording in a non-studio environment can present a variety of challenges – we basically created our own studio from scratch, which is no easy feat, but those sorts of challenges can spark some interesting results.
We were there for around 3 weeks and because we all lived together, taking turns making dinner and doing dishes, it really enhanced the feel of a brotherhood. Hopefully you can feel that in the music.
What are some stand-out tracks from this new album?
I’m pretty fond of “Bad Lieutenant” – it’s got a cool sinister sort of groove and a badass piano solo from Shamus. Also I quite enjoy “Help Us All” with its horns and crazy synthesizers. It’s definitely a crazy tune that covers some ground we haven’t before.
What did it mean to the band to be the first unsigned group to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone? Were you surprised by that?
It was certainly a surprise, we were at a crossroads in our career and the boost from the contest was like a shot in the arm.
Can you talk about playing at Stones Fest?
Stones fest and the various other fests that those dudes do are a blast. You get to sing a classic tune backed by a great band of great dudes and party with a bunch of cool musicians, actors and whoever. It’s a blast. We’ve met some cool people through those fests.
How’s your current tour going? What have been some favorite venues and/or crowds?
So far so good. We started with a bunch of shows in Texas and despite the blazing heat (we’re pasty Canadians) I feel like we’re playing as good as we ever have. So far my favourite tour stop has been Cleveland. We hadn’t been in 3 years and the crowd was stellar. It’s good to know we have fans in a great rock n roll city like that.
What musicians have continued to inspire this group year after year? Is there anyone that you would still love to work with one day?
We listen to a ton of old music – lately it’s been Thin Lizzy, Badfinger, even Hall & Oates….we don’t really care what’s cool or the hot new thing. We just like music that rocks, has a good groove, good melodies, harmonies, you name it.
Looking back, can you remember first starting this group? How did you come up with your band name? Does anyone actually own a sheepdog?
We’ve been a band for 11 years and I can still remember the day we started like it was yesterday. It was a real conscious decision between Ryan & I to do 2 things – 1) do something new with our lives & 2) meet new people. Nobody has a sheepdog, but the name comes from an old band Ryan & I had called the Sheep, while Sam was in a punk band in high school called Dog. We just put the two together.
How did you get to be the stars of a themed Project Runway episode? What was that experience like?
That was part of the Rolling Stone competition. It wasn’t exactly our favourite thing, filming TV is a pain in the ass. Tim Gunn was cool though.
Why do you think Dine Alone Records is a good fit for your music right now?
Major labels aren’t exactly killing it, so we’ll try an indie, and the president is our manager.
As a big Black Keys fans, I have to ask what it was like working with Patrick Carney on your last self-titled album? Would you like to work with him again on a future project?
Pat is a great dude and definitely had a deft hand guiding our self-titled album. I loved working with him but I’m just a bit too much of a control freak when it comes to music. I write the songs and I have a strong vision of where I’d like to take them. Pat helped our music sound big and badass, and we tried to keep some of those elements while introducing more of what I think is our style – big rock riffs along side sweet melodies and harmonies.
At the end of the day, what do you hope listeners take away from your music?
I never feel more free or alive than when I’m listening to some music that really speaks to me. It’s the greatest feeling and it’s why I got into playing in a band. I hope that we can make somebody feel that way too. I want to make music that is fun to drink beers to, fun to drive on the highway to and music that just lifts you up.