Having long been considered as one of the country’s “must-see” live acts, Vancouver raucous indie-rock duo The Pack A.D. return to Metro Moncton this Sunday night for a performance at The Tide & Boar Gastropub.
Comprised of guitarist-vocalist Becky Black and drummer Maya Miller, the duo’s latest record, Do Not Engage, brims with the energy of their live show while also showcasing an unquestionable refinement of their songwriting skills.
Of course, this is not to say that any of the group’s previous four efforts lacked refinement. The growth heard on Do Not Engage merely reflects the inevitable maturation of their sound and the confidence associated with that.
“I don’t know if I’d call this record more refined in terms of its sound,” Becky declares from a Southwestern Ontario tour stop last week. “In making this record, we actually followed the same process as we did to make each of our prior records. If anything, the biggest change this time around came in the form of the music that we were coming up with. In the past, we have always played around with different genres while on this record, I found the music was a little more psychedelic and a little more pop than anything we had done.”
One of the more prominent features of the new Pack A.D. record is the inclusion of more in the way of choruses in many of the album’s tracks. Becky says that this was not a deliberate move to push the group towards commercial viability but rather the way that the songs naturally unfolded.
“We liked it and so we ran with it. It is not as though we were sacrificing our values and making music that we don’t like. We have never been about making music for other people.”
After having released partnered up with Vancouver indie-label Mint Records for the first few years of their career, The Pack A.D. aligned with Nettwerk Records (Sarah McLachlan) for the release of Do Not Engage.
Acknowledging the important role that Mint played in helping establish the group as a real tour de force, Becky says working with Nettwerk stands to help break the group to an even wider audience.
“I think that any band wants to succeed so when Nettwerk approached us to license the record, it seemed to make the most sense. As a label, they have offices in a few different cities. There is a larger team pushing this record than had we decided to self-release the album.”
But at a time in music when record labels are losing traction in terms of breaking new or established acts, The Pack A.D.’s dedication to being on tour has undoubtedly played a part in their name becoming so well-known across Canada, the United States and Europe.
The Pack A.D.’s show in Moncton precedes a run of nine shows through the United States. Later this spring, they will return to Europe for shows in Germany and the United Kingdom.
In the early days of the group, Becky says that they toured so much as a means to avoid needing to find day jobs. And though some of their early touring days saw the duo living rather meagerly, the group has evolved to a point where they can afford taking some time off without needing to scramble to find day jobs.
“In the early part of our career, we had no means of income if we weren’t on the road. We lived pretty hard for a little while but are seeing the rewards of that hard work now. Looking back, I sometimes can’t believe we lived the way we did but it gives us a better appreciation of everything that comes our way now. We definitely aren’t taking anything for granted these days.”
What: The Pack A.D.
When: Sunday Mar. 30, 9:00 p.m.
Where: Tide & Boar Gastropub, 700 Main St., Moncton
Tickets are $13, available online at www.tideandboar.com
Article published in the March 28, 2014 edition of the Times & Transcript