Thursday, November 15, 2007

Interviews:: Wayne Petti of Cuff the Duke + concert shots

Yesterday was chock full of Cuff the Duke. In the afternoon we chatted with Wayne before heading down to Richard's to see them play. For anyone who hasn't bought their new record - Sidelines to the City (review), stop waiting. It's a great combination of Canadiana, roots and rock that should be getting a lot more attention.

HH:: Sidelines of the City is really an interesting combination of sounds. On the surface it’s more rock heavy, but you actually use a lot more acoustic and you guys add a distinct roots-y feel with the nice lap steel work and strings. So I’m wondering what was the band’s goal when you went into the studio for this release?
WP:: Foremost, we wanted the songs to be natural. On the last record, we tried to write songs a certain way and we wanted to make sure we didn’t do that again. It really allowed us to just write. I’m glad you noticed the subtleties. I think that resulted from just writing what we felt. Before we used the acoustic as over dubs, but having Dale in the band let me really focus on the acoustic. He’s such a great guitarist. It’s funny that you think it’s more rocking, and other people have said the same thing because when we recorded it and I used mostly acoustic, I thought it’s the least rocking record yet.

HH:: Lyrically the record seems to focus on more, for lack of a better word, accessible topics – like family and the cities you lived in – and you add some immediate mental triggers like mentioning the Elvis. Was this intentional, or just a result of the mind set you were in when you wrote the songs?
WP:: A bit of both really. Again, I just wanted to the songs to come naturally, and I really wanted to avoid over analyzing things. On the last record, the songs that people seemed to identify with had a story; and I started getting into old folk songs that told stories, so I kind of just felt it was time.

HH:: Now, not to talk about something band, but because of the injury you had a lot of talented friends help out on drums for this record. Did that make recording process more challenging or just more interesting?
WP:: Made it pretty exciting, once we got over the fact that Matt wasn’t available. We kind of just started thinking about who would fit the song. It was like, wow Jason would be perfect on this. Or Nathan. The cool thing was Matt wrote a couple of the parts, one handed, so he had some input. But they guys really had freedom. I don’t know, I guess we had lemons and made lemonade – or whatever that saying is.

HH:: Now you guys worked with Paul Aucoin on this record. How much did he influence the end result and how important was it to you guys to work with someone who knew you and your sound?
WP:: It was really important. This record was by far the most open. We talked very openly, very candidly about each arrangement and we had a vision for each song that we opened up to Paul. That really let him focus on capturing sounds.

We were all on the same page, but he really helped us capture the sounds of the room. We recorded in a huge room, and for the first time we recorded a few songs just off the floor. That was really cool, and helped because the drummer would just show up and we’d start playing the song and we’d just start recording. It was so different from last time, because we had played the shit out of songs, so we got into the studio and we would be concerned with how it didn’t sound like it did live. It was really pretty cool to have the songs be fresh and exciting.

HH:: Well I guess that begs the obvious question. You've been touring across the country giving fans a taste of the new material. How have you found the reaction, and how are you enjoying playing the new songs?
WP:: Really good actually. It’s amazing, but at some of the shows people have been singing along, which is great. I mean, the record is out, but hasn’t been out for too long so it’s kind of a surprise. So yeah, the reaction is great.

HH:: Speaking of the tour, you are out there with Land of Talk right now - who recently had a terrible excursion to Europe and expressed gratitude at being home in Canada. Your new record is laced with Canadian sounds, influences and references, so I just wanted to ask you if cracking the bigger US market something you guys think about or if a Canadian band needs to crack the bigger markets?
WP:: Sadly I don’t think you can. You’d need a lot of radio to get more exposure to get the music. We’d need to have three or four songs on the radio for the four of us to make average salaries, but at the same time you want to write about what you know. I didn’t want to say Saskatchewan and be like… “Wait, will an American station not want to play it”. You can’t be concerned with who cares. I mean fuck that. People will listen to the record and decide if they like it and don’t, but we have to live with the record for our entire life. We are proud Canadians sure, and Neil Young sang about Northern Ontario and people still embraced his music.

HH:: I actually think that with the internet, people get to hear the great Canadian music that is being made and can actually make it across the border.
WP:: It’s amazing the amount of music coming from Canada. I think this is the greatest time in Canadian music, well ever really.

HH:: Now, just one last question. You guys have really worked with Hayden a lot over the years – playing as his backing band, and being the first release on his label. How has he helped you guys and how important is it to have your label head actually looking out for you and being someone you trust?
WP:: Pretty amazing actually. I was a huge fan of his and he was actually a fan of our first record. He came to a few of our shows, but you sometimes meet a musician and they are that cool musician, but not with him. He’s so down to earth and such a smart guy and so good with the business side of the industry. I’ve learned so much creatively as well as business wise. He’s a great friend and really, since we are on his label, he’s a great business partner.


As for the show, both Land of Talk and Cuff the Duke killed it. I could type out some descriptions, but this was a show I went to as a fan and really just soaked it all in. I snapped a lot of pics, some I added here, but most I just uploaded to the ole facebook site.



Posted at 3:08 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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