Despite only having formed in 2009, Prince Edward Island folk rockers Racoon Bandit have a solid body of work behind it in the relatively short period of time that the band has existed. The group is getting set to release its sophomore record, Into The Hills, on May 3 via the Collagen Rock Records label. The record sees the band explore the fine lines that blur folk and rock together without necessarily leaning too heavily in either direction.
From his Prince Edward Island home, Racoon Bandit member Fraser McCallum admits he is pleased with the way the band’s career has unfolded to date.
“We have made great strides in a short time,” he says. “Since our debut record Campcraft (2009), we have gotten into touring and playing to bigger crowds while developing our sound.”
Helping create their sound is the fact that Racoon Bandit boasts three singer-songwriters, each of whom contributes something unique to the songwriting mix.
While McCallum might reluctantly be considered the “front man” of the band, he is quick to acknowledge the important role that band mates Roger Carter and Adam Gallant play in the bigger role of the group.
“We have three writers with unique voices and influences in the group. Even though I tend to play the front man role and bring in a lot of the songs and do the talking at shows, our rehearsal and studio time is very collaborative between us.”
Among the many talents brought to the table by the various members of Racoon Bandit, McCallum says that Carter and Gallant each bring a wealth of production and recording experience from other musical projects while Gallant, being a sound engineer, also brings much technical and sonic knowledge to the writing and production aspects of the band. McCallum says that while his writing tends to bring out more folk-rock influences, Carter’s writing by comparison is melodically driven.
“Somehow, it all works out between us,” Fraser says. “We tend to be very self-critical. We work hard on our harmonies and dynamics and really aim to be a well-rounded band.”
While promotional efforts behind Into The Hills are just getting started, McCallum is certain that the band will be busy playing throughout the Maritimes in the weeks and months to come. The group is feeling good about its newest record and is eager to spread the Bandit word through this great country of ours. Racoon Bandit is hoping to expand its touring plans through to Central Canada later in the year. If all goes well, the members also hope to have the opportunity to travel coast to coast, provided they can sneak away from their day jobs, that is.
“Being in this band feels like a full-time gig since I manage the group as well,” McCallum says, “but we all work in other creative day jobs right now. The band is not a full-time occupation right now. Scott (Gallant) runs a web company while I work in marketing for the local music industry. Adam runs a studio and Roger owns a vinyl/vintage store. Overall though, we are happy and busy bandits.”
Article published in April 22, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript