By: Kat Harlton
I’m at Toronto’s legendary Horseshoe Tavern where I meet Vancouver Island, four piece rock group Band of Rascals for the first time. Consisting of Marcus Manhas, Sam Trainor, Malcom Owen-Flood and Sean Marcy, the group recently released their latest EP Tempest, containing six new heart pumping tracks including the single “Holler” (a personal favorite of mine).
Blending elements of hard-hitting modern rock with the vintage aesthetic of southern blues (think Kings of Leon and The Black Keys) the sophomore EP, is an in your face rock album with thick layers of guitar and slamming drums that underline soaring rock vocals. Talking with the band it’s clear that their sound is inspired from many different genres and artists, but as Trainor points out that it’s their collaboration as a team that creates the final product.
“This album was much more collaborative compared to the last. Generally lyrics get bounced off the group. Most of this album was written in a room with all of us just coming up with parts and mashing it up. Holler and Altitude started off as voice notes”
The task of taking those voice notes and turning them into something cohesive wound up in the hands of famed producer Eric Ratz, who not only helped the band hone their sound, but as Manhas puts it “helped us work through some mental blocks as well. He told us that the music business is done in steps. You work towards something, then you move up to the next block. It kind of laid out the road-map for us a little more clearly I think. Just made it seem way more achievable and helped make smaller goals seem more attainable.”
They reached one of those goals when they recorded at iconic studio The Warehouse, home to music by AC/DC, Billy Talent, illScarlet, Metallica, Muse and Slayer. For Manhas the studio created a lasting impression “Being behind that board, and knowing that The Beatles and Aerosmith have been there is surreal. It’s a big compound, with a huge gate, there’s a courtyard and gardens, it’s pretty crazy.”
They hit another goal when they found management and hooked up with Paquin Entertainment after playing Ottawa Juno Fest, which Malcom says was always the vision “We went there with that intention to connect and move forward, to go back to the levels thing that Eric taught us. I remember after we finished playing, we met Grant who’s our agent now, and we instantly clicked.”
Moving ahead the band says they are going to keep working towards those smaller, more attainable goals in hopes that they turn into something bigger. Armed with an amazing management team and already working with music legends I see no reason why Band Of Rascals won’t succeed.