Gutter a good place for Haggis
It forced me to slow down. I have been fighting my throat for three years, no alcohol and all steam. My voice had no stamina. We would have to alter the set list so that I would not have to sing on multiple nights. Luckily, we have more than one lead singer.
I had a vocal polyp removed and could not sing for eight weeks. I wrote a song a day so that I wouldn’t go insane. Within a few weeks, I could tell that the vocals coming easier to me and I was able to do things in fewer takes. I didn’t have to worry about if I was going to make it through the recording of the tracks. Some of the vocals on this album are raspier than on previous records, but that is by choice.
You say that the fans have stuck with you when you tried new things. What would a longtime fan expect to hear that is different on this album?
It’s not that we picked a new genre and went with it. We hinted at some directions in the past and then we went with it. We have progressive rock tendencies that we just indulged ourselves in a bit. The last song is seven minutes, and it’s more of a jam with a three minute instrumental. It is out there, as is “Suburban Plain.” It has this Paul Simon African vibe to it. They’re not huge departures, but it does sound different and you hope you progress.
Was a lot of this cut live? It sounds very immediate.
Thanks. We wanted to record all together. There’s not a studio out there that can fit five guys at the same time. We did go in with more songs that we needed and then settled on 15 tracks.
We went to a cabin in Toronto and did pre-production, and we took a lot more time preparing to go into the studio. Because of that preparation, there is less editing and less stitching together sound. We took the time to make it come together better.
You have some of the more rocking reels I’ve ever heard. I loved “Murphy’s Ashes.” Do you improvise those jams in the studio or are they written out in advance?
Thanks! “Murphy’s Ashes” is pretty written out beforehand in terms of the melody, and then the band improvises on. It is an intense, heavy tune that people like to play live.
Did you road test any of these songs before recording the album?
We did that more with an album like "Soapbox Heroes" where we toured for a few months and tried some things out. We did debut a few songs live, but most of these were done fresh in the studio.
How has the album been received?
We have been bouncing around the Top 10 World Music charts on iTunes since the last album came out. Apple is great about supporting new independent music, so we have no complaints.
How has the economy affected the band? Some folks report that the downturn is good for live music because people want to escape a bit. Is that what you are finding?
Some of the vendors tell us that things are bad. The Canadian dollar is falling against the American dollar, which helps us when we bring the dollars back home here. The price of gas is a huge help to us with it falling.
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