RAA show poster by Random Found Objects
6/9 the Rural Alberta Advantage, Okay, Half-handed Cloud @ Bottom of the Hill, 9pm, $10, a/a
Here’s a reminder, for what will probably be the last ipickmynose presents show, the Rural Alberta Advantage (myspace) are playing a great bill at the Bottom of the Hill this Thursday July 9. Locals Okay and Half-handed Cloud (myspace) are opening.
If you’ve been reading this blog, you know my love of Rural Alberta Advantage is nothing new. In fact, they released one of my favorite albums of 2008, which will be rereleased by Saddle Creek tomorrow, July 7. I saw them twice at SxSW, including an incredible, breath-taking show at Central Presbyterian. They produce driving, often-raw indie folk about Alberta. Mark my word, they will put on a good show.
Okay play broadly folk music, but with some experimental and freak folk elements. When I saw them at the Bottom of the Hill last year, I enjoyed their set.
Okay – Natural (mp3)
Half-handed Cloud is a band I’ve been following for quite a while, since I saw him open for Sufjan years ago. With folk-pop songs for people with ADD, this will be a fun way to start the set.
I have two pairs of tickets to give away. To enter to win a pair of tickets to this show, email contest [at] ipickmynose [dot] com by noon on Wednesday July 8 with “Rural Alberta Advantage” (or “RAA”) in the subject line. Make sure to include your full name somewhere in there–that’s what will be on the guestlist. The winner will be chosen at random from all that email in. I’ll email the winner on Wednesday afternoon. Get those emails in now! It’s easy!
the Rural Alberta Advantage by ipickmynose
I spoke to Nils Edenloff, who fronts the RAA and writes about his experiences growing up in Alberta for their songs, by phone last week from his father’s house in Edmonton. It was the day after their very first Edmonton show and it acted as a homecoming show for Nils. He was obviously still basking in the experience. Despite the interview taking him away from time with his family, he was gracious throughout the interview. We spoke for almost half an hour in the end and I wish I could share all of it here, but due to practical concerns, here’s just some of what we talked about.
Adrian Bischoff of ipickmynose: So you’re back in Edmonton?
Nils Edenloff of the Rural Alberta Advantage: Yeah, it was sort of a homecoming show for me.
Adrian: Have you played there with the band before?
Nils: No, this is the first time we’ve actually been able to make it west of Ontario. So we’ve been [doing] a, sort of, Canadian tour. The Alberta show have been going pretty crazy.
Adrian: Yeah, I bet.
Nils: I never, ever would have expected that when we started this the response would have been so overwhelming.
Adrian: [Have their been] a lot of high school friends coming out?
Nils: It’s funny. I’ve lost touch with a lot of high school friends…It was mostly family and one or two university friends. A lot of my high school friends have relocated to Toronto as well. The other ones I’ve lost touch with I’ve, well, lost touch with, I’ve guess.
Adrian: How does your family…I imagine they are fine with you getting signed and everything, but how were they with it before?
Nils: Oh, no. My family’s really supportive. I think they’re happy to see something come of it, you know? You always want to see your family members do something and have people embrace it, so yeah, they’re all pretty supportive of it.
Adrian: How have things been transitioning to Saddle Creek?
Nils: It’s not like we were going from one label to another. We were going from handling things ourselves–and even still we’re handling the album in Canada here. Saddle Creek is looking after it in the States and we’re looking after it on our imprint in Canada. So in that sense we’re still doing the same sort of stuff ourselves.
But working with Saddle Creek has been really great. They’re so down-to-earth, really low key, and really supportive. I never thought working with a label would be such a really great thing, you know, because you hear horror stories: people getting screwed by the Man, the Label. But, no, Saddle Creek has been really supportive and good to us. So no growing pains. No growing pains.
Adrian: That’s great.
One thing I did notice is that before you guys were offering a lot of yourselves. Mp3s on your website–you know, most bands have one song and you guys had, I don’t know, three or four–
Nils: Yeah, three or four…
Adrian: And you were mailing out your CD for ten bucks, twelve bucks, whatever it was [ed note: $12 Canadian, including shipping]. So it was a very DIY approach and now–how’s the transition been? I notice [for example] you guys only have the one mp3 on the website.
Nils: Yeah, well, for the longest time–I’m just a really big supporter of the power of the internet and making sure that music gets out there and the internet has been really, really good to us. And a lot of people have gotten behind us and that’s helped us a lot. I guess, in a certain sense, there’s a bit of give and take. If Saddle Creek is helping us out and they’re [saying] ‘we only want one song floating out there’–[chuckling] I know most of the songs are floating out there anyway. It’s not like the songs aren’t out there and available for people to find.
But that being said, if they just want to put the one single up, we’re kind of cool with that. I guess they sort of know about this sort of stuff than we do.
Adrian: Though you’ve done pretty well for yourselves so far…
You are doing…one last [DIY] thing is how you’re phrasing it, the 7″ project.
Nils: Oh, yeah, we’re doing this Kickstarter project. One last grand gesture makes it seem like we’re going to change our philosophy. I don’t necessarily agree with that. I think the way we’ve come about this and the type of band we are and [how we've] promoted ourselves, we’re not going to change who we are. I think we’re going to try to be as accessible as possible and making sure we bring the show to the people and give 100%…I don’t think that’s going to change
Adrian: Do people from Alberta want you to be…I don’t know how to ask this question. Are people disappointed you left? Do they want you to come back? Is there this weird, sort of, loyalty thing they’re playing with you?
Nils: Um. Well it’s funny talking to people now, meeting people, coming here now, [who'll say], ‘I’ve been putting on shows for twelve years: were you ever in a band before you moved to Toronto’?. No, not really other than a high school band that never played any shows…I haven’t really encountered anyone that’s been like ‘You gotta come back! Why’d you leave?’
I think a lot of people we’ve met, there’s been this general pride in Alberta. Like, I totally identify with what you’re saying, you know. And they’re happy for it.
And if I had to leave to realize what I loved about where I grew up and what effect Alberta had on me, then it’s probably for the best. It can be seen as a good thing…No one’s been like ‘I hate you for leaving.’
If I hadn’t left I wouldn’t feel the same way; I’d probably take for granted the things I now appreciate. And I never would have met Paul and Amy. Without those two, I’d probably be playing songs in my room. So it’s probably all for the best that I had to leave for this to happen, I guess.
Adrian: I can relate to that. I definitely feel differently about my hometown which is Pittsburgh–
Adrian: Yeah, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania I definitely feel differently about it now that I don’t live there.
Nils: See, that’s the thing, when you’re living in a place, it’s like, man, same old same old. I’m done with this. But when you leave you look on it a little more fondly. You realize that you’re a product of all the experiences you had in that city. They compounded to make you who you are. You’d probably be a different person if you’d grown up in San Francisco, you know.
Adrian: Yeah, definitely.
Nils: I’d probably be a very different person if I grew up in Toronto and, who knows, maybe I’d have no desire to stay there.
Adrian: A lot of the Rural Alberta Advantage songs and lyrics are putting down into songs these experience and memories you’ve had. Do you have an endless sort of that or do you think your songs are going to change at some point?
Nils: So, looking at the second album, there are still a lot of songs that we’re working on that still have those Alberta references that we’re really happy about. That being said, I don’t think I could do it forever, you know. It’s going to reach a point where it’s going to be–I’m going to have to move on and do something else. I think right in terms of the album we’re thinking of, it’s going to be a continuation of the Alberta stuff that Hometowns referenced. That’d probably end with the second album and at that point we’d probably see what else we can do. We’d probably move and, you know, show people we’re not a one trick pony.
A lot of people have asked about that because they feel like we’re sort of painting ourselves into a corner in a way. And the way I see the songs, they don’t necessarily need to be about Alberta. I guess, personally, that’s what I know, that’s where I’m writing from and what I’m drawing from. That’s not to say they needed to be about Alberta; I could write lyrics from a very honest place because it’s something I feel strongly about–I believe in what the songs are referencing. In that aspect, I don’t think the honesty that we’re trying to produce or writing about, I don’t think that will ever change. I’d like to believe that will always be there: the sincerity that we’re delivering with the music, whether it’s about Alberta or on to different topics. That will always be a common thread in the songs.
Adrian: Well, thanks so much for doing this
Nils: No problem. I’m glad to do it, man.
Nils: Well, I’ll see you on the 9th.