Canadian rock and rollers The Sheepdogs get ready to hit the road across the UK with The Temperance Movement.
National Rock Review recently caught up with the band’s lead singer Ewan Currie to discuss their new album, their influences and their forthcoming UK tour.
NRR: Thanks for taking the time to speak to us here at National Rock Review, we really appreciate it.
Ewan: No problem.
NRR: You recently released your new album “Future Nostalgia,” which is really great by the way, we really like it.
Ewan: Thank you.
NRR: Could you tell us a little bit about the album and your inspiration behind it?
Ewan: Sure man. I mean I wish there was like a cool story about a life changing incident or something, but we just tried to make an album of songs that we’ve written over the last few years. We did it out in the woods because we were sick of the studio environment I guess.
Our last record, we made it in a very music industry filled town ‘Nashville’, and so I think we just wanted to do something where we could just stretch out and do it kind of relaxed and on our own terms and all that kind of shit. It’s sort of the most boring answer but it’s kind of the truth.
NRR: I really like the album title “Future Nostalgia”. It’s quite an interesting album title and I was wondering where that came from?
Ewan: Ah well, initially it’s a line from the show “Mr Show”. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Mr Show?
Ewan: It’s a comedy show from the 90’s with Bob Odenkirk and David Cross that I’m a big fan of. Anyway, I think music is so innately tied into nostalgia for people. I know for me it is, if you hear a song it can really take you back to a certain point in time, whether that’s like being a kid and you are with your parents in the car or like maybe it’s getting your first kiss with your high school crush or something like that.
The power of music to sort of tap into memory, and feeling and this whole sort of nostalgic quality, that’s kind of like … ahh yeah and you know it’s kind of nice but it’s also a little bit bittersweet and melancholy. That’s an area of music I’ve always found very interesting.
NRR: Speaking of nostalgia, I noticed you’ve also released the album on cassette.
NRR: That’s quite cool, you don’t see many bands release music on cassette these days.
Ewan: My car has a cassette player in it, so I can rock out in the car. Yeah, I don’t know obviously people listen to it primarily on a computer or on their phone, and then quite a few people do the vinyl thing which is great but you know it was a fairly inexpensive format to do it in and I thought it had a kind of a cool old school charm.
NRR: Obviously, you have a got a very retro sound. Who would you say are your musical influences?
Ewan: You know it’s all the stuff that we listen to. I can’t really say just a few bands because it’s just all of them. We love to listen to you know like the hard rocking guitar riffs of ZZ Top or Thin Lizzy, but at the same time you know we love melodically driven music in the vein of The Kinks or The Beatles, but we also love soul music, we like country music.
You know it’s a real mix of things that we try to put together. I guess the trick is to just sort of like take a stab at whatever style that you want to do but try to do it comfortably in your own voice and make sure it’s not too much of a stretch you know. So I don’t typically sing about being from Alabama or any of that kind of shit you know, I’m well aware we are from Canada. We just try to be honest and have a good time.
NRR: Can you tell us a bit about the band and how you all met?
Ewan: Sure, the three original dudes, we were just kind of like in that sort of young man, nineteen year old’s getting sick of school and not really enjoying where we were at at the age of nineteen and figured you know we’ve got to do something to make ourselves cooler and make life more interesting.
We just started working away, we were super bad, we just started jamming with basically no experience at all and we just stuck with it and many years later, we keep trying to get better, and we still are improving and we are studying the music that we love and trying to learn from other people. It’s the best job in the world, I can’t wait to come and rock.
NRR: The Sheepdogs were the first unsigned band to make the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. What did that feel like?
Ewan: It felt pretty fucking good. It was a bit of a mind fuck because it was so out of nowhere and it was kind of who the hell are these guys. I think it was the same month or week that Amy Winehouse died so a lot of people were pissed about that, which was kind of funny, no disrespect to Amy.
Yeah man, it’s a pretty wild thing to have gone through but once all of the hullabaloo dies down, it’s back to the same shit that we always try do, which is to play good rock music and all that kind of stuff.
NRR: I believe you toured Europe at the end of last year. What was the response like over here?
Ewan: Yeah it was great man. We had a really great show in London, also in Europe as well people go nuts for it and Spain. I think everywhere we go there’s people who want rock and roll music and it seems like that over in the UK and Europe there’s a few more hardcore people for it.
I don’t know if it has anything to do with the radio formatting or something. I just love that wherever we go we are able to find those people, that it’s like they are junkies for it, they want to find the old style rock and roll. They are not really interested in the new stuff necessarily they are looking for that old time shit you know.
NRR: You are about to go out on tour with the Temperance Movement over here in the UK at the end of this month. What can the fans over here who have not seen you before expect from your show?
Ewan: Man it’s going to be great, we love opening. You know we are going to try and come out and give you the best damned forty minutes that we can, you know like high energy. There will be lots of harmonies, there will be lots of guitar solos and jamming. Basically we want to come out and just take the energy up in that room and get people ready for the Temperance Movement man, it’s going to be awesome.
NRR: Which is your favorite track to perform live and why?
Ewan: You know, we have a song called ‘Southern Dreaming’ which is harmonized guitar licks and it’s kind of in a melodic kind of country style and it just feels real good to play that song.
NRR: I saw some footage on Facebook recently of you guys swinging from a chandelier on the ceiling it was titled something like ‘Late nights in Saskatchewan’. Is that a typical night for The Sheepdogs?
Ewan: Yeah, that’s the average night. Sometimes it’s crazier than that, other times slightly less. Do you guys have chandeliers in England?
NRR: Yes, we do.
Ewan: Ok good, we might have to bring a few backups.
NRR: What else do you have in store for the rest of this year?
Ewan: You know we are going to keep on the road. Probably try and go back to America and maybe elsewhere and summer festival season is always busy for us. You know we are always working on new music, so even as we speak now I’m outside of the studio that we are working at in Toronto. So we are already trying to craft up some new stuff for ya.
NRR: It all sounds really good, we are looking forward to having you over here and we will see you at the O2 Academy in Newcastle with the Temperance Movement.
Ewan: It’s our first time in Newcastle, so I’m looking forward to it.
NRR: Thanks for taking the time to speak to us and we will be seeing you very soon.