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Mounties band a mutual-admiration society

By Joe Leary

Move over Broken Social Scene, the Mounties are the latest Canadian supergroup. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)

Move over Broken Social Scene, the Mounties are the latest Canadian supergroup. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)

Mounties, a new Canadian supergroup featuring Hawksley Workman, Steve Bays and guitarist Ryan Dahle, rocks the Commodore Friday night in support of their debut album. Joe Leary spent 24 Seconds with Hot Hot Heat singer Bays.

24: How did you three team up?

SB: We originally met backstage at a live audience taping of ‘Q.’ Hot Hot Heat and Hawksley were both performing and I had invited Ryan Dahle to come hang, seeing as we were working on a Hot Hot Heat record at the time. Turns out we were all big, big mutual fans of one another, and weren't afraid to gush about it, so we started hanging out as buds whenever Hawk was in town. We all shared a lot of the same values and sense of humour and it always felt like I could be myself and not have to pretend to be cool. They are both freaky weirdos and it’s always such a positive experience being around them. Eventually we got together to try to write some songs, but within the first day it was clear we weren't writing songs for our solo careers. From day one there was an identifiable sound that felt to us, at least, totally fresh from anything else out there. We weren't planning on starting a new band, but it basically just happened.

24: You’re currently involved in a number of musical projects. How do you manage your time?

SB: It's crazy! I'm basically always working on something. I try not to think about it too much or I get overwhelmed. I also co-write, produce and mix for other artists, so it's a busy life. I'm lucky to have such a supportive wife and a handful of good friends. I try to make sure fun is always a top priority... otherwise what's the point?

24: Seeing as how you’re working with other accomplished artists, is the song-writing process different in this group?

SB: We are never sitting around the table with acoustics and a pad of paper, not that there's anything wrong with that, but we like to simply mic up our instruments in our studios and hit record. We improvise and jam throughout the day and late night and just write as we go. We'll listen back to it and usually run back out to the mic to overdub more vocals as the ideas come to us. It's extremely fast how it happens and we enter every session with a blank slate. The time consuming part is simply editing and mixing. It’s sad how many great ideas have to end up on the editing room floor. We do all the mixing ourselves as well ... that's a big part of our sound.

24: What’s next for you personally?

SB: I've been working with a few artists (as producer/mixer) that I'm really excited about. One of them is Hawksley's solo record. We were working on it out in the middle of the Ontario wilderness during a long record-setting snowstorm — just totally locked away for weeks. It's a really crazy record.

24: Is there still more in the tank from Hot Hot Heat?

SB: I can't speak for the live show, but we've finished a record that Ryan Dahle and I produced/mixed and I can't wait for that to come out as well. It's a really special record. I don't think it's at all what people are expecting — and that's a really good feeling.


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