It has been quite an eventful past couple of years for Cape Breton rock duo The Town Heroes. Comprised of Mike Ryan and Bruce Gillis, the group’s acclaimed sophomore record Sunday Movies earned the band an unprecedented five Music Nova Scotia Awards, in addition to a trio of East Coast Music Awards.
Earlier this month, The Town Heroes – performing at Moncton’s Tide & Boar Gastropub on Saturday, Nov. 27 – released their eagerly anticipated third record, Please, Everyone, the making of which should have been a triumphant, celebratory process.
But as Mike Ryan looks back on the making of Please, Everyone, he shares that the recording process fired out of the gate with barely a whimper.
“We don’t tend to stray too far from home during the winter, so, given the awful winter we had last year, we decided to make the record then. The night before we were due to begin recording, we went into the studio, got everything set up and levels checked so that we could breeze in the next morning and hit the ground running,” Ryan says.
“We arrived at the studio bright and early – 8 a.m. – only to discover the work coming from two construction sites located beside the studio were going to keep us from doing anything. The jackhammers being used were literally shaking the entire studio. It was an anti-climactic start, to be certain.”
The Town Heroes spate of unfortunate luck didn’t stop there, however. The duo also had to contend with the typical winter flus and colds that inevitably found their way into their lives.
“Just before I was due to record my vocals, I caught a cold, which ended up pushing the recording process back some,” Ryan laughs. “It was a comedy of errors in some respects, but the process was still a lot of fun still.”
To help being Please, Everyone to life, The Town Heroes enlisted the help of Jon Landry, a member of Nova Scotian band The Stanfields. Ryan says bringing another opinion to the table was essential to ensure the group wasn’t being limited by their choices.
“As a duo, there are only two opinions that can be introduced at any given time. It can be good in some ways, but bad in others. Once we find a way of doing things that we are happy with, we tend to stick to that pretty closely.
“Some people see working with a producer as just listening to everything they have to say when in fact, a good producer should just try to bring out the best in what you’ve got, which nicely sums up what working with Jon was like. He came in, listened to what we had and started suggesting we subtly change the direction of some of the material that could make the songs better.”
With less than two years having lapsed between the release of Sunday Movies and the band’s newest effort, one might wonder when the band might have enjoyed some down time, especially in light of their routinely heavy tour schedule.
Ryan says that the group has consistently worked hard, but acknowledges that with people’s attention spans seemingly getting smaller and smaller with every passing year, he and Gillis were eager to avoid losing any of the momentum that they had earned over the last two years.
“I feel it’s safe to say that in today’s music world, everyone just wants to stay afloat and keep the train moving forward. We had some great press and things happening with the band; it seemed like more people were coming to the shows and paying attention to the band. Going back into the studio so quickly to make Please, Everyone was definitely us looking to capitalize on what we had built and hold onto people’s attention,” Ryan says.
“Canada is so big, it’s admittedly hard to maintain momentum throughout the whole country. That is why we try to be active in as many different outlets – social media, blogs, and video among them – as we can. All of these small pieces of the puzzle add up to the bigger picture.”
What: The Town Heroes
When: Friday Nov. 27, 9 p.m.
Where: The Tide & Boar Gastropub, 700 Main St., Moncton
Tickets are $12. Advance tickets are available online at tideandboar.com.