Staylefish (14 novembre 2007)

Entrevue de Val avec Dreddy

STAYLEFISH est un groupe qui fait sa place dans la riche scène musicale ontarienne. Présentement en tournée avec KEEPIN 6, le groupe sera de passage à Montréal dimanche le 18 novembre a The Pound (377 Richmond) pour une autre présentation de PunkMeUp. Val a eu la chance de s’entretenir avec Dreddy histoire de vous présenter cette jeune formation qui est une découverte incontournable à faire pour tout fan de ska!

[VAL] How are things going for you guys? You've been on tour for a while now…

[DREDDY] It’s been going great, we’re yet to play a show where the reaction wasn’t extremely positive. We’ve gotten our name out in a number of places we never dreamed we would, and can’t wait to get back to them all and see how the music’s spread.

[VAL] You've been to Winnipeg, Calgary, Thunder Bay, etc.. How do you manage to tour like this, don't you guys have jobs or go to school...? Any sacrifices you had to make in order to do this?

[DREDDY] Some of the band members have seasonal jobs, others work part time and the one band member still in school was off the last semester, so things worked out perfectly. However, at other times all band members have but school or work on the backburner if necessary, since STAYLEFISH is everyone’s priority. Touring at this stage always includes sacrifice, but rocking peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a couple days is a fair trade off to play shows and see the country.

[VAL] I know some members formed the band (in 2002) and others joined in at a later stage, how did it all start?

[DREDDY] The genesis of the band was a talent show at the high school of original members Dereyk Goodwin, Chad Kivisto, and former member Trevor Blumas. The band went through a number of line up changes, but with the addition of the last two members, Jay and Johnny Duwyn, both formerly of PINK BELLY, the current (and hopefully final!) core line up was complete.

[VAL] The album Audible Addiction had quite a successful response, are you satisfied with the results so far?

[DREDDY] Sorry to use a cliché, but it has to be said: Satisfaction is the death of desire (also the name of a sweet HATEBREED album, pick it up, kids.) We were of course extremely happy that Audible Addiction has had such a positive response, and are going to continue trying to get it heard everywhere. That said, we definitely would like to see the next release exposed to a far wider audience and have the opportunity to do the same with our live show.

[VAL] What's the best thing about being in STAYLEFISH? What's the worst?

[DREDDY] The best thing about being in STAYLEFISH is getting that feeling that probably 1% of the world gets to feel: when you create something that seems to take a life of its own and ends up being a product that you can be unbelievably proud of – and then seeing other people enjoy it just as much. The worst would probably be how obvious it makes it that we don’t want to do anything else (office buildings are like kryptonite to STAYLEFISH… Halloween stories for us consisted of ‘One dreary winter morning in cubicle 52....’)

[VAL] You independently released your first album Utopian Theory in March 2004, and now your latest album Audible Addiction came out in October 06, so about a year now. For a young local band, STAYLEFISH is quite productive - what do you think is the key to your success? What has worked best for you? Why did you choose to do it all on your own? Have any labels shown interest in working with you guys in the future?

[DREDDY] It’s really difficult to pinpoint definitive reasons for success (VANILLA ICE... what the hell was that?) However, we think our strengths lie in songwriting, determination and our love of live shows. The type of music we play is pretty different, and that’s going to catch the listener’s ear first off. Then if you have good songs and put on a good show, people are going to enjoy themselves. With both of those, you’ve just got to put your head down and work at getting out there.

After Utopian, we finalized our line up and knew we could make a much better record. If a promising label had come to us and offered to put it out, we well might have gone that route. However, we were focused more on making that record we knew we could make and we’re pretty happy with the results. Knowing we could make something we were happy with on a shoestring budget instills you with confidence, for sure. We do have a number of labels that want to hear the demos of our new tunes, which we’re working on right now. So we’ll see!

[VAL] You all have different backgrounds, where do you find inspiration for your songs? Does anyone have pre-determined roles in terms of songwriting? Have certain bands have had more influence on you than others?

[DREDDY] There’s definitely no set topics or influences for a songs – they run the gamut from the music industry to relationships to the good old herb. Whatever someone’s feeling at the time is fair game for a song. The lion’s share of songs consists of ideas brought in by Chad or Jay, which are then fleshed out by the whole band.

The two musical influences which are easily picked out are Bob Marley and Sublime, simply since one is arguably the originator of rootsy reggae, and the other put a spin on it that we love. However, many more artists in similar genres (e.g. Peter Tosh, Burning Spear, the younger Marleys, Slightly Stoopid and Pepper) have also had a large influence on us, along with countless hip hop acts and rock bands.

[VAL] You have three singers and three guitars - how does that come into play as far as songwriting goes?

[DREDDY] Hell, more talent to draw from. Naturally, it can pose a challenge, but in situations like that the end result is always worth it – if it does take longer to finalize a part, that length of time is reflected in it’s quality and often unusual nature.

[VAL] You had the opportunity to play Warped Tour last summer; can you describe your experience? Did you enjoy it?

[DREDDY] Honestly, saying we enjoyed Warped Tour would be like saying cats enjoy catnip. We’d almost have to say that no, we can’t explain it because it was indescribable. Playing it was wicked, but it was more the vibe of the whole thing that blew us away. A field full of tour buses and vans, mingling with people that have done what we aspire to ten times over, and most of all the excitement of all the kids just hanging in the air.... holy shit.

So in summary...fuck yeah we enjoyed it.

[VAL] From our point of view the Ontario music scene looks pretty active; in the last couple of years, we've seen a lot of bands emerging and making it big (BEDOUIN SOUNDCLASH, THE FLATLINERS, ILL SCARLETT immediately come to mind). What can you tell us about the Ontario music scene? What kind of response does STAYLEFISH receive in your hometown?

[DREDDY] The Ontario music scene is definitely going strong and we’d even say growing stronger. This definitely applies to Ontario, but also Canada as a whole: Canada has never been like the States where the goal is to sell a billion records and get loaded that way. The way the industry works here combined with artists’ attitudes, it’s been more about an amazing live show while playing the songs you feel like playing. Now that the music retail industry has pretty much crashed, those attributes are more attractive to the industry than the guy with that one catchy song that sold those gazillion records and make the label a mint. Expect to see lots of labels, major or minor, Canadian or American, giving Ontario a lot more notice. The one thing to remember, though, is that this is nothing new, Ontario’s been putting out kick ass bands for a long time. You’ll just be hearing more about it now.

In London, the response is amazing. It was the growing crowds at home that made us realize that we had something good going, and gave us the confidence to start touring with the attitude that what we do is strong enough to stand up with anybody else’s music.

[VAL] It looks like you have a lot of support in Ontario, one of you even have a sponsor, Los Cabos drumsticks! Can you guys actually make a living from making music right now?

[DREDDY] HELLS no. However we have worked hard and are lucky enough to make enough to finance our continuation of recording and touring. And that’s something to be really grateful for at this stage, with the hope that our continued recording and touring gets us to a point where we can make this our sole career. Dereyk does have endorsements with Pearl Drums, and Los Cabos Drumsticks, however that is used more as a foot in the door for publicity and industry support rather than as a money making venture.

[VAL] You seem to do a lot for your fans - the tour video blog, the whole entire album that was up on to listen to, radio shows, etc., how do you relate to your audience? How would you describe the typical STAYLEFISH fan?

[DREDDY] Another great thing is how easy it is to relate to our audience. We love music, we love partying and we love meeting people. Since our fans are exactly the same, it’s a sweet deal. We hate bands that try to separate themselves from their fans and portray themselves as up on some pedestal – its way more fun chilling and partying with everyone.

There doesn’t really seem to be a typical STAYLEFISH fan – at first it was largely kids our age but now there’s a wide spread. The newer listeners seem to include a lot of younger kids but, pleasantly surprising to us, more mature listeners also seem to be digging our sound. In terms of gender that’s always seemed to be pretty even. What we’ve realized is the typical STAYLEFISH fan likes to have a good time – which is great because we’ll party at any excuse we get.

[VAL] You've been to Montreal before, the last time I think was last June with SUBB. How has Montreal treated you so far? You were in Quebec City not long ago with MUSTARD PLUG / JOHNSTONES. How did that go?

[DREDDY] Montreal’s been consistently amazing to us. Being an entertainment hub like Toronto, music fans are always searching out new shit; the first time we went to Montreal, there were already people who knew the music. Adding to that the fact that there’s a thriving ska/reggae-rock scene with a good following (thanks in no small part to the wicked Union/Stomp label) there, Montreal is pretty much always going to be one of our favourite places to play.

We loved Quebec City – playing with an incredible line up like that and then getting to see this gorgeous centuries-old city was obviously a win-win. We were also glad to get our music heard there, and plan on returning for sure.

[VAL] I heard you guys got to see a bear at the beginning of the tour, around Sault-Ste-Marie is that correct? Do you guys share a lot of other activities as a band; like that time you went hiking?

[DREDDY] The bear count at the end of the A Damn West Tour (The Adam West Tour, get it? We loves our Family Guy) was three actually…along with some mountain goats, lots of deer and a couple wolves. We’d recommend that road trip to anyone, insanely gorgeous.

Yeah, the way we figure it is we’re geting to visit all these places that a lot of people will probably never see, we might as well take the opportunity to check the coolest parts out right ?

In QC we snuck into the Château Frontenac grand hotel and went cruising up the floors – if you’ve ever seen the movie The Shining then you’ll have an idea how creepy that place is. Also, crushed in an elevator with bejewelled millionaires, high and trying not to laugh while they look scared is always good times.

[VAL] What can people expect from STAYLEFISH for the months to come?

[DREDDY] Well right now we’re working on material for our new album, which will be out in 2008. Kicking live shows as always, with the bonus of new tunes popping up every now and then – we’re sharing like that. Main concentration is definitely writing incredible songs and getting them to the widest audience possible. And as always, more pimpin’ style from Dan, terrible jokes from Chad, lessons on how to rock out on stage from Jonny, and indecipherable Trini-talk from Dreddy.

[VAL] Any funny anecdote from shows, cities, tour that beats the bear story?

[DREDDY] Too many to list – this is a fun one though; on the way back from Banff, we stopped off to eat at a Denny’s probably around midday. Jay wonders out loud if it’s windier than we thought because there’s a car outside swaying and rocking…until a head pops up in the backseat. Yeah, there’s a couple getting it on in a Denny’s parking lot at midday. Gets better though, just as we’re finishing breakfast, the female half of the love fest gets out, gets into ANOTHER car, and peels out. Moral of the story: if you want to catch your significant other cheating, apparently the first place to check is outside a breakfast food chain in the middle of the day. Who knew?

[VAL] Any last words?

[DREDDY] Thanks a lot for talking to us, see you and all the party people on Sunday!

Merci a Dreddy d’avoir pris le temps de répondre à nos questions, et on vous invite à être des nôtres dimanche!

PunkMeUp présente:

KEEPIN 6 avec
@ The Pound
All ages! Portes à 16h30

Pour se render à la salle :
Metro Lucien-L’Allier (ligne orange) + autobus 36 direction Ouest : descendre au coin de Guy et Paxton
Metro Place-St-Henri (ligne orange) + autobus 36 direction Est : descendre au coin de Guy et Notre-Dame
Metro Lucien-L’Allier (ligne orange) ou Guy-Concordia (ligne verte) + autobus 57 direction Est : descendre au coin de Guy et William

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