Edmonton-based indie rock trio Scenic Route to Alaska recently released their new album Tough Luck via popTrip Records. At the beginning of March the band launched their North American tour that includes dates across Canada and the US including a stop at SXSW.
SRTA worked once again with famed producer Howard Redekopp (Tegan & Sara, The New Pornographers) at the legendary recording studio The Warehouse in Vancouver to produce an album that picks up where its heralded predecessor left off. The new album succeeds in capturing the band’s tight and dynamic live sound with an organic and honest production that’s instantly engaging but begging to be heard again and again. Tough Luck sees the band effortlessly weaving catchy vocals and memorable melodies through rich arrangements and promises to build upon the impressive pile of accolades and accomplishments from their last release. The new album also features the single “Slow Down” which hit #1 on the CBC Radio 3 Top 30 late last year.
Tough Luck comes on the heels of critically-acclaimed Long Walk Home which has amassed almost 2 million streams on Spotify and garnered the trio 2 nominations (Recording of the Year and Best Rock Artist) at last year’s Western Canadian Music Awards and won them 4 awards (Album of the Year / Group of the Year / Pop Recording of the Year / Indie Rock Recording of the Year) at the 2017 Edmonton Music Awards. They also enjoyed radio success with their single “Love Keeps” having reached #1 on the CBC Radio 2 Top 20, #21 on the Canada Alternative Rock Charts reaching an audience of over 4 Million people through commercial radio plays. The band also received placement for their single “Coming Back” in TV Spots (Edmonton Tourism & Global News) and in a new BBC show Clique.
On stage, Scenic Route to Alaska’s energy is palpable and the fun contagious. Always locked in with a syncopation that can only stem from a collective history, the band bounces from ballads to bangers with ease, leaving a lasting impression on any kind of audience in front of them.
We had the opportunity to catch up with Bassist Murray Wood to discuss songwriting, inspiration and what’s next.
Kat: Can you talk about the inspiration behind your latest album ‘Tough Luck’?
MW: The album is generally inspired by the ups and downs of life on the road. Over the last couple years we have been touring more often than not, and that comes with a bit of a learning curve. Most of the time we’re super happy and easygoing about the whole experience but it can be lonely and challenging to maintain meaningful relationships back home. Most of the themes of the album revolve around these conflicting emotions and we feel like the general musical vibe also supports that.
Kat: What is your songwriting process like?
MW: Our process is always a bit different but this album came with a bit more self-inflicted pressure. We had decided, long before we had written the songs, to commit to recording a new album in August of 2017. We figured we had lots of time but after months of touring and racing around all summer for festivals, we let most of our free time slip into much needed downtime. The process then became much more organic because this limited timeframe for writing kind of forced us to trust ourselves and each other more than we had in the past. I think this resulted in the album being a bit more of a snapshot into where were as people and musicians at the time, since it feels like it kind of all came together very quickly. Trevor Mann writes all of the lyrical content but the music, production and forms are all very collaborative.
Kat: Could you speak a little on your musical idols or role models?
MW: Our collective role models would be mostly classic bands like The Beatles, The Band, Led Zeppelin, Howlin Wolf… We grew up playing in an blues, R&B, classic rock cover band that would play everything from Elvis to Spinal Tap so we definitely had a lot of old school influence from the very beginning.
Kat: What’s on your playlist right now?
MW: We’ve been listening to a lot of Dr Dog, Phosphorescent, Tame Impala, Andy Shauf, Big Thief, Vampire Weekend, Peach Pit, Half Moon Run… plus all the classics of course!
Kat: Have you ever been given any advice in regards to your music career that you felt you really connected with or made an impact?
MW: We were fortunate to have a lot of musical mentors around the Edmonton scene that we are very grateful for. One of the biggest things people kept on saying was that the biggest difference maker would be to just get out on the road and make it happen! For a long time we were kind of just expecting things to happen, when the obvious thing to do was just to make it happen on our own. We couldn’t get an agent to book us, so we just booked our own (kinda bad) cross Canada tour and did that again and again, trying to make the most of every opportunity we had. Eventually things got easier and we picked up some team members along the way but that mentality still hasn’t really changed just because our goals have grown. Every time we have some new crazy idea we try to find ways to make it happen regardless of the obstacles in the way. Just this year we essentially forced ourselves into the Australian and American markets and now we have laid some groundwork that should make it easier to do it all over again!
Kat: What can your fans expect from you next?
MW: It’s hard to say exactly what will be next, since we’re in the middle of a nearly 3 month tour and just put out the album last month but I guess we’re working hard to make the summer and fall as busy as possible. We’ll likely be slowing things down a bit to take the time to refine aspects of our show and work on songwriting. We might even get together with other artists to start some collaboration projects. Hopefully we’ll also be heading south to follow up on our first USA and Australian tours!
For more info on SRTA please visit: https://www.scenicroutetoalaska.com