December 7, 2019

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Royal proclamation

New album from Royal Canoe out next week; live concert recordings in Winnipeg planned for March

It’s still more than a week before Waver, the new record from beloved local indie-pop outfit Royal Canoe, will be released to the public, but the band is revving up the buzz early with the announcement of pair of album-release shows at the West End Cultural Centre.

The back-to-back nights will be March 29 and 30, at the end of Royal Canoe’s tour supporting Waver, and frontman Matt Peters says the band plans to record a live album using bits and pieces from each show. It’s something the band has never done before, but he’s looking forward to paddling those new waters.

"A great thing about doing it at the West End, we have more resources we can dedicate to turning it into a larger show, which will be really fun. I’m sure we’ll have lots of guests, we might have sets, we’re going to try to do an elaborate thing," says Peters.

"One of the great advantages to us doing it at the end of March is we’ll be near the end of tour. We’ve never actually had our album release performance at the tail end of tour, it always feels like it’s at the beginning of tour, so it’ll be nice for everyone in Winnipeg to see the best version of ourselves. Whereas when you’re at the beginning of tour, you’re still figuring things out, getting the hang of things. This will be great, that it’s the end of the tour, and we can celebrate with everyone here."

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Royal Canoe plays at the Park Theatre in 2013.</p>

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Royal Canoe plays at the Park Theatre in 2013.

There is a pattern of newness with Waver, not just in terms of the rollout, but in the creation as well; the six-piece used a new recording and editing program (which, for a band that does a lot of their creative work on computers, is a big deal) and right from the get-go, they put a plan in place to approach writing differently than they had in the past.

For them, this meant breaking up into smaller groups and pulling words, phrases or ideas out of a hat — literally — to help spark some inspiration. They’d write, and then reconvene and go over some of the budding song ideas.

"(We wanted) to just inject a little more spice into the process... Not that it had gotten stale in any way whatsoever, we just are always excited about trying to reinvigorate the process because we’re not, like, a jam in a room kind of band," says Peters.

And sonically, too, Waver is a change of course from Royal Canoe’s often jam-packed compositions. It’s more spacious and more focused; the melodies are clearer and the arrangements are simpler, but it is still undeniably a Royal Canoe record, and has, as Peters puts it, the "requisite amount of weird sounds."

"Throughout the entire process we wanted to keep in mind that we didn’t want to be as precious as we had been in the past... we tend to spend hours and hours and hours, and you add it up and you’re like, ‘Wow I spent 160 hours on this song.’ And then it’s like, ‘Oh we don’t like it anymore,’ " says Peters.

JASON HALSTEAD / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Royal Canoe performs with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in 2017 at the Centennial Concert Hall.</p>

JASON HALSTEAD / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Royal Canoe performs with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in 2017 at the Centennial Concert Hall.

"So we did it just for the sake of doing things differently, but we also didn’t want to clutter the songs, that was a big part of our goal."

Every artist is proud of their newest work, but Peters feels Waver, out Jan. 25, signifies a true shift for Royal Canoe.

"We’re trying to be less precious and to just accept that the musical-industry landscape has changed and so we can do things like record an album and release it two weeks later, there are more tools at your disposal to be direct, to give things directly to your fans," Peters says.

"I mean we worked on this album for a year and the release process took a year, so this isn’t the best example of that, but I feel like it’s a quicker turnaround than it has been in the past for us, and we want to push that even further moving ahead, so that’s really exciting. And we have a lot of fun things planned this year, this is just the beginning of that."

Tickets for Royal Canoe’s West End Cultural Centre shows are $30 ($35 for mezzanine seating) and go on sale Jan.18 at 10 a.m.; visit Wecc.ca for more information.

erin.lebar@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @NireRabel

Erin Lebar

Erin Lebar
Multimedia producer

Erin Lebar is a multimedia producer who spends most of her time writing music- and culture-related stories for the Arts & Life section. She also co-hosts the Winnipeg Free Press's weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

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