By Christine Leonard
CALGARY – Born out of the icy boredom of a typically “brutal” Saskatchewan winter, Saskatoon’s Shooting Guns had no illusions of doing anything but keeping themselves amused (and warm) when they first started their heavy, psychedelic instrumental rock group.
“It was still four original members, myself, Chris Laramie (Switching Yard), Keith Doepker and Jay Loos and that was what got us through that first winter in 2009,” recalls percussionist Jim Ginther.
“The following spring Steve Reed joined us on synth and that was the line-up for our next four releases: our debut album, Born to Deal Magic (1952-1976), two split 7-inches in 2012 and 2013, and our sophomore LP, Brotherhood of the Ram, later that same year.”
Spurred into action by an invitation to record the score for the 2014 Canadian cult-horror-comedy film WolfCop, Shooting Guns quickly outfitted their aptly named Pre-Rock Record Label and Studios in order to complete the project within a narrow six-month timeframe. They succeeded, discovering a great deal about their own resourcefulness in the process.
“In early 2014 Steve had moved away and we were approached with the prospect of doing the WolfCop soundtrack, so we brought Toby Bond on board cuz he’s a synth-wizard and classical trained piano and viola player. He actually used to play in the Saskatoon Symphony; it really gave us a whole new set of tools to work with. Being an instrumental band there are only so many avenues you have and top-40 radio isn’t really one of them. The idea of soundtrack work had always appealed to us. This was a gift-wrapped opportunity, so we used that panicked enthusiasm to get it done in time.”
Invited to repeat this feat for the sequel to WolfCop creatively dubbed Another WolfCop (which premiered at Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal just last month), amidst an active touring schedule, Shooting Guns has expanded their artistic horizons while earning accolades and fans along the road to Hollyweird.
Most recently, the Polaris-nominated band has turned their headlights back toward home, focusing on the launch of their new album, Flavour Country. Mastered by longtime friend and trusted producer John McBain (ex-Monster Magnet), the vorpal tones invoked on Flavour Country conjure a post-prog prairie dust storm that will have you running. Not for the root cellar, but for your black leather jacket.
“We have Pre-Rock Studios set up in such a way that we just record the whole time whenever we jam. Having everybody playing together captures a bit of that live energy,” reflects Ginther.
“I think a good take goes farther than the best sounding remix. Flavour Country starts hard and heavy and then releases into a relaxation at the end, whereas the side-b is these two gritty eight-minute, one-off jams (the title track and “Black Leather Jacket”) and takes you on a psych-metal journey. You’re shifting gears on one side and going on a sojourn on the other side. It’s just one of the things that makes this album unique.”
Shooting Guns release Flavour Country on August 11 via RidingEasy Records. You can pre-order or buy the album at http://www.ridingeasyrecs.com.Flavour Country, Pre-Rock Studios, RidingEasy Records, Shooting Guns, WolfCop