See Pistol George Warren’s new video at http://www.northernlife.ca/news/lifestyle/2013/08/27-pistol-george-warren-sudbury.aspx
By Laura Gregorini
There’s a party on stage and everyone is invited. Consider this an exclusive invitation.
Pistol George Warren radiates such enthusiasm during live shows that fans and critics agree its energy is infectious and chemistry, genuine.
The genre-bending band from Sudbury released its latest album in June 2015 to much fanfare, although there’s little doubt any other response would follow in light of its track record - two albums, two EPs and performances that have put the musicians on the Canadian indie scene radar.
Oceanpur 9 is a conspiracy theory tincture of soulful retro fun, or what Exclaim.ca calls “an adventurous, otherworldly experience.”
At the album release party, the band was impressed to see fans singing along to the newly released songs.
“Press is nice but it’s even better to know that someone listens to the album, that’s the best vibe,” says lead vocalist Maty Ralph also a Laurentian University graduate, before a sound check at the Northern Lights Festival Boreal.
The crew had a busy summer – Northern Lights Festival Boreal, River & Sky Camping Festival, a southern Ontario tour and then to Winnipeg’s Fire & Water Music Festival, travelling together in a 15-passenger van.
PGW appeals to a diverse audience, from indie music fans to those with a soft spot for retro tunes. Each of the eight band members brings their own musical taste to the table, creating a sound difficult to categorize but full of heart and soul.
“A lot of what inspired us to learn music was to keep our older traditions,” says Ralph who absolutely loves the ‘golden oldies’.
Drummer Steph Duchesne listened to the Talking Heads and “a lot of my drum beats on the new album are heavily inspired by that.”
“We recently learned Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel as a cover and we feel that is a good example of what we’re doing,” says Ralph. “It’s soulful but it’s also very new wave pop.”
Staying friends is just as important to singing on key for the members of PGW.
“It’s tough going on the road with people you don’t get along with,” says Duchesne, who studied music at Cambrian College. “Each time we end up playing a show or hit the road, you’re excited because you’re spending that time with people, away from home and you feel okay about it.”
Although there are some hiccups along the way, nothing serious has come between the friends.
“It’s a balance because a group identity strengthens but individual identity weakens when you are part of a group,” says Ralph. “You still want to maintain your individual identity and maintain who you are but come up with a group identity that lets everyone be who they are, and shine in their own way.”
Duchesne and Ralph think the band has achieved that balance. Every rhythm is traced back to a musician, and every beat is just as important as the next.