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This article was published 7/6/2016 (1256 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Winnipeg royalty is making a return to the airwaves this fall.
Known for their driving beats, enigmatic lyrics and eclectic sound, Winnipeg-based Royal Canoe is officially back.
Three years after the release of their Juno Award-nominated album, Today We’re Believers, the six-member group will be releasing their latest LP, Something Got Lost Between Here and the Orbit, on Sept. 16.
"It’s the most focused thing we’ve done," said keyboardist and vocalist Matt Schellenberg, referring to the upcoming album. "It’s a description of our lives, musically, in that I think the music and lyrics are very honest."
The band has been busy since its 2013 release of Today We're Believers. It toured extensively throughout 2013 and 2014, and after a short break, hit the road again last September. Visa issues forced them to cancel their U.S. tour dates last November, but they resurfaced this February and played at SXSW in Austin, Texas, in March.
Frontman Matt Peters said the disconnect from being on the road for nearly three years helped form the theme of Orbit. "Getting back, and feeling like I’m getting older, the go-to social networks I had in the past aren’t available anymore," he said. "It’s easy to crawl inside yourself in those moments. It’s about coping with that, trying to find new relationships, friendships and new senses of home in things that are different from the past."
Referring to communicating through technology, and even the band’s own creative process, Schellenberg said the album title refers to what is lost along the way. "There’s a tangible thing that gets lost from the original intent, the original message," he said. "...It’s in reference to that little piece that’s lost and remembering that."
In terms of sound, Schellenberg said Orbit is "a little less indie-rock" compared to its predecessor, and draws its influences from soul and R&B while focusing on rhythm and vocals. Describing the creative process, Peters said they often start out with a basic drum-loop recording.
"It might be 20 seconds long and it repeats for two minutes, but it’s so simple at the beginning," he said. "It’s mostly a feeling that we’re all gravitating towards."
After building it "vertically" and adding more layers, Peters said they take that initial feeling and add to it with songwriting.
"It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut when you’re going to the same well and expecting something different," said Peters. "The more you make the creative experience feel like something new and fresh, I think the more you can expect from it."
The band was joined by co-producer and mixer, Ben Allen, who’s resumé includes the likes of Gnarls Barkley, Animal Collective and Deerhunter. "We really tried to go even further into the idea of taking natural, organic sounds and distorting them, mutating them in our laboratory of pedals," said Peters. From there they would turn them into "something that has a distinct and separate musicality to it outside of that original acoustic sound."
Believers has a more "positive-Winnipeg, praise-anthem," sound according to Schellenberg. But with Orbit, Peters said it’s, "not negative, not pessimistic, but it’s more realistic. It’s a little more hungover."
Coinciding with the announcement of Orbit, the band posted an album teaser video to their YouTube account last week. The video features snippets of new material while runners covered in body paint raced through the streets of Winnipeg.
According to Peters, one of the challenges that came with this album was carrying over their distinct sound from previous work.
"As a human, you’re going to be exposed to new things and it’s only natural to step somewhere new – hopefully it’s forward and not backward," said Peters.
"It was a really great balance, we’re still sounding like Royal Canoe, but we’re also still progressing."
Royal Canoe will be touring with Plants & Animals this summer. While the Montreal indie rockers play the Good Will Social Club Friday, Royal Canoe isn’t part of the bill. Schellenberg and Peters said there will be a Winnipeg show sometime in September.
Updated on Tuesday, June 7, 2016 at 9:38 PM CDT: Correction: Today We're Believers was not Royal Canoe's debut album.