The MusicNerd Q&A With Mounties

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As tempting as it may be to refer to Canadian band Mounties as a super group, they are too modest to allow such a title to be bestowed upon them.

The group is comprised of three Canadian music power houses: Eclectic singer-songwriter Hawksley Workman, Limblifter’s Ryan Dahle and Hot Hot Heat vocalist Steve Bays. Although it could be argued that any one of them could have delivered an album as potently catchy as Thrash Rock Legacy, the combination of these three phenomenal talents have surpassed even the most modest expectations.

Mounties are on tour across Canada now. Check out their website to see when they might be playing in your neck of the woods.

I spoke with Mounties Ryan Dahle last week about how the group came together and how sometimes having no plan is the best plan.

Who came up with the idea of the three of you guys getting together to make music when you each respectively have your own careers?

We were all fans of one another’s music and weren’t really shy about hiding the fact. When you meet other musicians, you always say to one another how we should do something together but more often than not, nothing usually happens. Hawksley made it happen though. A year or two after the three of us met, Hawksley flew out to Vancouver and we began recording.

Did you go those initial sessions expecting them to turn into being a full-fledged band with fleshed out songs?

Going into those first sessions, everybody agreed that it would be way more exciting to create something at that moment based on the fact we were working together as opposed to working on an idea that someone brought in. Over the years, each of us has learned that creating something in the moment can be really productive if you’ve got the right players. Before we knew it, we ended up with 50 songs and Hawksley declared that we were a full-on band.

Listening to the record, you can sense that energy and excitement in each of the songs.

I have never seen guys like Steve and Hawksley create songs as quickly and as well as they do. The best part was, we didn’t elaborately plan out any of these songs. We didn’t go back and touch up mistakes or parts that were out of tune. All of the vocal tracks were the first, second or third take. We were flying by the seat of our pants the whole time but hearing that we had been brought somewhere that we had not been to musically was really exciting for each of us.

Spontaneity is something that is sorely lacking in music these days. People are more concerned with getting the perfect take rather than leaving a blip or bum note in a finished product. To me, the bum note has way more soul than a perfect take of a song.

A lot of music is very much premeditated these days. There are so many results of thumb that musicians go into the studio believing that are all untrue. They all span from what they think their role to the arrangement is. This record was done in two one-week blocks where we were just constantly writing down ideas and bouncing things off one another. We were completely caught up in the excitement of what we were doing. All of the music on this record comes from a really pure place because we didn’t go in with the mindset that we had to have a certain number of songs done.

In light of the fact you each have projects on the go outside of Mounties, do you see this group being relegated to something you just pick up when each of you happen to be free? Or would you like to see it being something a little more permanent?

I think that each of us feel as though the band could be a priority because it is all very exciting to us. It is more a matter of each of us blocking off the time to do this. Once you have the time blocked off, it is fairly easy to keep it blocked. So far, scheduling hasn’t been difficult at all considering each of us have careers otherwise. I feel a big part of that is the experience that each of us has had in the industry. We are each pretty effective at taking care of shit. It has been a really great experience so far.

An abbreviated version of this interview was published in the March 20, 2014 edition of Here Magazine