Northern Roots Rock, Rock-Pop, Rock, Indie Rock
Rusted Root, Augustana, Kings of Leon
Trevor from Canadian band Jubilee Riots recently done an interview with me. Here’s that interview.
Jubilee Riots Interview:
(CW)1. Your band started out life as Enter the Haggis, having released several albums and touring internationally, even being part of a concert/documentary feature on PBS under that name. With all of the band name recognition you had built up that must have been a really tough decision to undergo a name change? And what were some of the reasons that went into that big decision?
(Trevor)Yes, it was difficult. We started talking about a name change in 2004 with the release of our album, Casualties of Retail, and every album thereafter, but never went through with it. As musicians and a band we’re interested in many different styles of music and the name Enter The Haggis always felt like it painted us too one-dimensionally, stressing our Celtic music influence above all of our other influences. We’ve been recording and touring for quite a long time and at a certain point it seemed like some big changes were necessary to get us excited about what we’re doing again; to reconnect us with our original motivation for being in a band.
(CW)2. Sticking on the band’s name theme for another minute how did you pick the name Jubilee Riots?
(Trevor)We wanted something that implied energy, didn’t suggest a specific style of music, and that was a nod to our geographic roots. The Jubilee Riots were an actual historical event that took place in Toronto in the 1800’s. They also involved Toronto’s Irish community, which ties in to our musical roots as we got our start playing mostly Celtic music.
(CW)3. When someone leaves one of your live shows what is the one or two things that you hope they take away from it?
(Trevor)I hope we make an impression on them, whether it’s the songs themselves, the variety of instruments we use or the performance itself. As a songwriter it’s most fulfilling when someone comes up to us after a show and comments specifically on a lyric that stood out to them.
(CW)4. It’s interesting how for your latest album, ‘Penny Black,’ the band decided to center the songs found on it around stories that you received from fans. How did you take the over 500 pages of letters you received from fans and turn them into songs for on the album?
(Trevor)Our previous album, The Modest Revolution, was inspired by one issue of a Toronto newspaper so we’d had some experience taking specific text content and turning that into songs. Turing the letters into songs was easier than turning newspaper stories into songs because the stories that people sent us were more akin to the subjects that you’d typically hear in pop music – themes like love and loss, etc. It was also more difficult in that we felt some amount of pressure to do justice to these personal stories that our fans were so passionate about. By necessity we took creative license, changing the names and places and putting in some of our own personal experiences. There was always the question of how the person who wrote the letter was going to feel about the final product going on in the back of our minds but the songs seem to really be connecting with our audience now that we’re playing them live, which is fantastic.
(CW)5. What is the best memory the band has from playing a live show?
(Trevor)After being on the road for about fifteen years it all starts to blur together. Some of the most impacting memories happened near the start of our career because we were in our teens and everything was new to us; seeing Canada and the US coast-to-coast for the first time, traveling in a rusty old van with no A/C, learning how to play our instruments. We used to sneak into each other’s hotel rooms to do pranks, stealing all of someone’s clothes or booby trapping it with firecrackers – I can’t believe we had that much energy! These days our idea of a good time is going back to our hotel rooms and reading the newspaper. Touring is still fulfilling to us but we’ve got more going on in our home lives so that takes a lot more of our focus.
(CW)6. Are you out on tour now?
(Trevor)Yes! As I write this our bass player, Mark, is navigating a crazy snow storm on the way to Cleveland. We should have put the snow tires on last time we were home.
(CW)7. What’s your favorite thing to do that has nothing to do with music?
(Trevor)My wife and I love traveling and have covered a good chunk of the world between us. That said, we’ve got two little boys at home now so most of our time is spent joking around with those guys. If we REALLY want to party we’ll drink wine and play Scrabble.
(CW)8. Who’s your favorite band to see play live?
(Trevor)Hey Rosetta! and Matt Mays, two fantastic Canadian acts.
(CW)9. What’s the best piece of advice someone ever gave you related to music?
(Trevor)If you make a mistake play it twice!
(CW)10. I call this my soapbox question. Is there anything we missed that you would like to get off of your chest before we end our interview?
(Trevor)We’re heading over to Ireland in April and are inviting our fans to come along with us for the tour. We have a package set up with a tour company that includes airfare, hotel and bus. We’ll be traveling around the country together with fans, taking in the sights and playing shows. People can find out more info at http://www.jubileeriots.com