While they did have the chance to kick back on Manitoulin time, the nine members of Pistol George Warren, as well as their audio technician, David MacKinnon, used the working vacation as an opportunity to “whittle into existence the atmosphere (we) wanted to create” to record their second full-length album. Mindemoya, named affectionately for the town it was created in, contains 12 tracks done in their signature style.
The laid-back vibe of the Island served as an ideal backdrop for the alternative country band, perhaps better described as a “travelling gypsy medicine show.”
“It was a really great environment to do an album,” Stephany Saroka, vocalist, said. Everything about the experience, from paddling into the waters from the discomfort of a tippy canoe to the campground owner's daughter offering up her voice for a group vocal piece, contributed to the inspiration.
“We were in love with this location like it was a person,” Maty Ralph, vocalist, said.
While everyone had the chance to enjoy the week-long getaway, it was hardly all fun and games.
Guitartist Jon Danyliw said everyone contributed “serious work” to the project over the seven days they spent there.
“I find it really productive to isolate yourself from your real life,” he said.
It allowed all nine musicians to forget about their jobs and other responsibilities, and truly be musicians for the week. Having the studio set up the entire time also offered the opportunity to record when the mood struck — an uncommon luxury for the artists.
“It was very organic,” Danyliw said. “The recording process felt very natural; a lot like our music.”
Out of the process came an album, as planned, but something else, perhaps even more important, came from it.
“It definitely set a tone ... of collaboration for the band,” Ralph said.
That attitude of contributing has stayed with the group now that they've returned home, and has crept into all that they do. Ralph, Saroka, Danyliw and vocalist Jen McKerral agreed that the group shares many visions and plans for the future, and even for the moment.
“We all want to play better shows and make better music,” Danyliw said.
Ralph added that they all have “the mutual desire to entertain.” They also share an interest in making the most out of every experience — when they tour, visiting new places is a priority. Together, the guys and gals of PGW have seen cities, parks and some of the province's sweetest locales.
“Touring helps us with our sense of adventure,” McKerral said. “It makes it feel less like work.”
They have a busy summer planned, with intentions of bringing Mindemoya on the road. On June 8, they're having a hometown kickoff for the album at the Towne House.
In the meantime, pick up a copy of Mindemoya at pistolgeorgewarren.bandcamp.com.
Posted by Arron Pickard