Owls By Nature recently released their brand new album The Forgotten And The Brave – our review of which can be read here. We caught up with them to find out a bit more.
Hi! Thanks for the interview – can you introduce yourself and tell me a bit about the band?
Hello everyone, my name is Ian McIntosh and I play in a band called Owls By Nature and we are a band of five charismatic hardworking sweaty musicians.
You recently released your new album The Forgotten And The Brave – how did you approach the writing and recording process for it?
I write everyday it seems like, I can’t put the guitar down. So it wasn’t like I sat down and said ok…. time to write an album. I had a bunch of songs already written after Everything Is Hunted came out and we were actually putting a lot of the new material in our tour sets and just shedding the tunes. So when it came time to hit record I did throw a few last minute songs in the mix but most of them were road worn and ready to get laid down. We recorded the album in Edmonton at Red Panada Recorders with our producer Jay Sparrow.
We approached the album differently then the last, we wanted to craft an album that flowed and was tied together consisitently throughout and I think we accomplished this by deciding at the outset which tools we would use to build it. By tools I mean instruments, we went into the studio with a list of gear we were allowing ourselves to use and nothing else. If we wanted a different sound and we didnt have the tool to make it too bad, deal with it, or invent and improvise and explore a way to do it.
Were there any tracks that were more of a challenge to get down?
Overall it was quite stress free, Freddy and I laid down the drum tracks with rhythym guitar in the first day and the rest was down hill. I remember hitting the wall vocally a couple of days, maybe too much boozing the night before. Thats normal though, if we werent getting what we needed we called it and worked on other stuff and I came back later.
Which one are you most proud of?
I love them all really, I think the songs are my best so far. BUT, if I had to pick one it would be Wrigley Field – it’s an honest story song and I think it came out perfectly. I have a strong love of slowed down heartfelt folk songs so I’m biased.
Do you have any interesting tales from the studio?
Oh dear… Everyday in the studio for me is so compressed I don’t take time to internalize the antics. I’m sure the other guys or our engineer Brad could tell ya some neat stuff. I vaguely remember a lot of laughing, crying, sweating and screaming though so that’s a good sign.
Moving on to performing live, how would you describe an Owls By Nature gig to those who haven’t seen you yet?
I sometimes say on stage if you (the crowd) gives me an inch I’ll give you a mile. I leave everything on stage and so do the rest of the guys. We practice a lot at getting our harmonies tight and playing the best we can, we are there to put on a show and take that privilege seriously. We are honest with our music, no bullshit. Just a band of guys who will bleed for you.
What would you say the best show you’ve ever played has been?
Probably The Rolling Stone Weekender but it’s hard to say because we have played lots of great shows that leave me asking what I did to deserve something so incredible in my life, we have been really lucky.
And perhaps the strangest or weirdest?
We played at a womans prison in Germany for the inmates. That was strange but also really awesome! They were allowed to smoke if they watched the show so we played to a basement full of smoking women. We won them over though, we were all dancing at the end and they got us to sign weird things they could find cause we couldnt give them cCD.
What has been your best experience in the business?
I have seen all of Canada, and lots of Europe and the states playing music with my best friends playing shows for the best people in the world. Everyday I can do that I am happy.
And what’s the hardest thing about being in the business?
It’s incredibly difficult to keep going through some of the failures and hardships. I have seen lots of bands come and go, friends who just decided to throw in the towel. Sometimes I wonder why I keep trying, and feel like quitting. Everytime I feel that way, a great show, a kind word from a fan or something finds it’s way through the shit and picks me back up and reminds me that I’m doing this for the right reasons, I love it.
Finally, what does 2015 have in store for Owls By Nature?
Working on booking a solo tour of canada and europe for myself. Also working on getting the mixing and mastering together for our new record due out next summer and a subsequent tour. Also getting a documentary we have been filming going and hopefully available for then too. And as always, writing and playing with the band.