Fredericton band The Olympic Symphonium is composed of seasoned musicians, each of whom has spent the better part of a decade performing in other acts like Grand Theft Bus or alongside acclaimed singer-songwriter David Myles.
Yet for all of the experience each member brings to the band, together they are a unique entity.
Just not one with any plans for world domination, musically speaking.
“It can always be inspiring to get away and play shows,” Olympic Symphonium bassist Kyle Cunjak says. “A couple of the guys in the band have kids, so we are never out on the road for months at a time or anything like that. The satisfaction we find in writing music and playing 30 or 40 shows a year is enough for us. We will never be a band that is playing 200 shows a year.
“On one hand, it might be nice if we had the opportunity to travel more, but each of us has the chance to travel as a part of some of the other acts that we perform with, which helps get that out of our system.”
The Olympic Symphonium’s fourth record, Chance To Fate, released this past April, is perhaps their finest to date and would have little difficulty finding a wide audience if they were to undertake serious touring. The record showcases their articulate, folk-inspired songs.
Recorded at St. Andrew’s Salty Towers Inn over just four days, it marked the first time that the band welcomed outside voices into their creative process.
“The process of making Chance To Fate was very much like the last three albums, where each of us contribute to the songs and work on the arrangements,” Kyle says.
“We decided to bring Joshua Van Tassel in to mix the record and have a fresh perspective on the songs. Truly, what he did make a world of difference to the album. As soon as he had sent us the first song he mixed, we knew that we had made the right decision to bring him into the process. He helped us achieve a much fuller sound, which in the end helps set Chance To Fate apart from our other records. We never want to get stuck making the same record over and over; Joshua helped us avoid that fate.”
Not only did Joshua mix the 11 songs heard on Chance To Fate, Kyle says that he also helped refine the arrangements of some of the songs. Although some artists might reluctant to allow an outsider taking such liberties with their material, Kyle acknowledges Joshua’s input and ideas were invaluable to the final product.
“We really aren’t too precious of a band, so having that outside input was good for us. It is always great to hear good feedback about the band, but in some ways, I almost wish people were more critical of what we are doing,” he laughs.
Fans planning to head to The Olympic Symphonium’s show at Moncton’s Empress Theatre on Thursday night will not only be treated to a host of tracks from each of their four studio records but will also be given a sneak peak at new material the band has written.
Although the group has no immediate plans to head back into the studio to record the follow-up to Chance To Fate, road-testing new material live is perhaps the best manner to find out what works and what doesn’t work with respect to their still-unrecorded songs.
“We will have three to four new songs to play in Moncton,” Kyle says. “We are basically always writing because by the time an album comes out, the songs are already old to the group. Having a selection of new songs ready helps to keep things interesting for us in the band as well as the audience.”
What: The Olympic Symphonium with Jennah Barry
When: Thursday, Sept. 18, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Empress Theatre, Robinson Court, Downtown Moncton
Tickets are $23, available at the Capitol Theatre Box Office, by phone at (506) 856-3479 and online at capitol.nb.ca