Upon meeting the band, who may or may not have walked straight off a Canned Heat album cover, it was apparent that The Sheepdogs are setting out to bring us back to the rock ’n’ roll fervor the world experienced in the ’60s.
Upon meeting the band, who may or may not have walked straight off a Canned Heat album cover, it was apparent that The Sheepdogs are setting out to bring us back to the rock ’n’ roll fervor the world experienced in the ’60s. Playing some of the biggest festivals around like Coachella and Bonnaroo this summer, the Canadian boogie rock band is set to tour all around the U.S. this fall to promote their upcoming self-titled album, which is being produced by The Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney. We had the chance to talk with tranquil frontman Ewan Currie at Osheaga about being one of the biggest up-and-comers in rock ’n’ roll today.
Playboy.com: You have an album coming out soon.
Currie: September fourth! We made it down in Nashville this past January. Sometimes people think that making an album in Nashville means session musicians and steel guitars, but it’s all us, we did it all ourselves. It’s a big rock community now in Nashville; there are a lot of pretty good studios and things happening down there, music-wise. We recorded at a place called Haptown Studios, which is run by a guy named Roger Moutenot from New York who’s done stuff with people like Elvis Costello and Lou Reed. We banged the record out in two and a half weeks; we had just come off the road so we were pretty sharp and ready to make a record.
Playboy.com: And when you buy an album in advance we see that you get a beard comb?
Currie: Yeah, it was something we had always talked about, but I don’t remember why. We’re always thinking of crazy things to give away. That was found by one of our merch guys, who had come across this mom-and-pop company that makes this hybrid bottle opener/beard comb thing, so we put in an order for however many we needed to get. It was the biggest order they had ever received. I like to think that we rejuvenated this little company. [laughs]
Playboy.com: Your band is becoming more synonymous with the rock revival after signing with Atlantic Records. How do you feel about the integration of computers and other gadgets in music that’s happening of late?
Currie: I don’t know; in a lot of instances I don’t think it makes music sound better. If you think about it, Stradivarius instruments are still prized for their sound and tone. Those violins are still held pretty highly, and they’re not trying to find a way to make new graphite violins or something like that. Their beauty is still such a basic thing. [Technology] makes it easier to do certain things, and it has given rise to all of the DJs and sample things, but it just doesn’t interest my ears at all. The advancements have made it incredibly easier for us to make music; we used Pro Tools to create the last album. It doesn’t sound as good as tape does, since tape is so expensive and so cumbersome, but technology didn’t give [the album] anything that wouldn’t have already been there.
I bought myself a cheap version of Pro Tools four and a half years ago and it meant that I was able to record an album on my computer. We didn’t have to hire a studio. We were flat broke when we recorded our album Learn & Burn so we just had to figure out how to make an album on our own and we did it.
Playboy.com: You just won three Juno awards for Rock Album of the Year, Best New Group and Single of the Year, but many Americans will know you for being the first unsigned band on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine. Was that a blessing or a curse?
Currie: It was great to win, but if we just put our feet up, we wouldn’t be anywhere. You can’t be like, “Well, let’s call it a day, won that!” It was this great opportunity but we still have to seize on it. That’s why we’re doing this big tour this fall. We got to get out and play for people to prove that we’re not just some American Idol-esque competition winner. We’re a legitimate band with good sound and tasty jams and that kind of stuff, so everyone should come and check us out.