Exclusive: An Interview With The East Pointers

By: Kat Harlton

Celtic-inspired trio The East Pointers were recently in Toronto promoting their latest album What We Leave Behind. A blend of traditional and pop music, the album pushes the boundaries on Celtic music stereotypes.

Produced by superstar East Coast-native songwriter/producer Gordie Sampson, Guitarist Jake Charron says it’s hard to describe their sound to new fans, but that “For a person who has no idea what folk music is, you can say a band like Mumford and Sons and that at least points them towards acoustic instruments. We obviously don’t sound like that, since we play our acoustic instruments in sort of a more poppier style, but it gives them an idea”. Fiddler/Singer Tim Chaisson jokes that they’re more “Mumford and Sons than Red Hot Chili Peppers” but that really it’s “roots music at it’s core, with elements of contemporary and folk.”

As far as what inspires their sound, Banjoist Koady Chaisson lists some of their successful predecessors “I’d say Natalie MacMaster, she gets a lot of shout-outs from this band, but she deserves them. Her and Ashley MacIsaac were kind of the first two to craft the musical scene in North America from that genre, with The Rankin Family as well.” Tim shares that he looks to high energy artists and songwriters for inspiration “I’ve looked up to people like Tom Petty and James Taylor, I also love the band Phoenix, they have such a high energy show, and we try to incorporate that feeling and make ours as much of a dance party as possible.”

It’s this inspiration and dedication that has seen the group collecting a steady stream of accolades since the release of their debut album Secret Victory including, a 2017 JUNO Award for Traditional Roots Album of the Year as well as a 2016 Canadian Folk Music Award for Ensemble of the Year. The band recently won four Music P.E.I. Awards including, Group Recording of the Year, Roots Contemporary Recording of the Year, Song of the Year and Touring Artist of the Year.

The East Pointers 2018 - low res (photo credit Jen Squires) copy
Photo: Jen Squires

Jake shares that the trio have been touring internationally for the past few years, and that a lot of songwriting gets done on the road.”Sometimes when we’re putting a song together, I think of bands like Fleetwood Mac quite a bit.” Tim jumps in, “We’ll take a riff and then just work on it, we do a lot of co-writing as well.”

To my surprise, the band is set for Japan soon, which according to Tim has a “very small percentage, but a large amount of people within that percentage who actually like Celtic music.” (you learn something new every day)

For more on The East Pointers, tour, merch etc be sure to check out: http://eastpointers.ca

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