By Christine Leonard
CALGARY – Time flies when you’re 93, or at least that’s what the youngsters behind Calgary’s Ten Minute Detour discovered along the way to delivering their rockin’ new album, Common Pleasure. According to the band’s lead singer, Andrew Shier, it was the irrepressible gumption of his grandmother who moved him to pen the song “Betty” in honour of her love of music and dance.
“I wrote that song as more of a flamenco number on my guitar. It’s named after my grandmother Betty. The last time I saw her and I put on an 8-track cassette of music by her father who was a musician and band leader in the ‘40s in Barrie, Ontario. She just started dancing, she was crying and acting like a child again, and it was super emotional for both of us. So, that inspired me to write that rock and roll flashback.”
Betty’s affection for music that makes you want to get up and shake it has definitely rubbed off on Shier, who originally formed Ten Minute Detour back in 2013. Supported in his artistic aspirations by bassist Mike Stokes, guitarist Jordan MacNeil and drummer Ross Watson, the intrepid singer-songwriter pushed the project into motion quickly generating their first three-song EP. By 2014, things were really starting to take shape for the busy group who released their full-length debut, Lay It Down, with the distinctive single “Four Papers” preceding its 2015 launch. For Shier and his companions, that tangible accomplishment signified that they were headed in the right direction.
“I think we’ve definitely locked in the sound with the band we have. We don’t really like to follow a formula,” says Shier, who also plays rhythm guitar.
“It’s weird; we’ve never really sat down and written an album. It’s more a case of finding that we had 10 to 15 songs ready to go and having to handpick which ones were going to wind up on the album.”
That’s where a good second opinion is worth its weight in gold. Fortunately, Ten Minute Detour was wise enough to take the fork in the road that took them directly to Nashville where they opted to lay down the tunes for their forthcoming LP, Common Pleasure, with the oversight of professional music producer Lincoln Parish.
“Lincoln definitely helped us a lot and pointed us towards the stronger songs. He was the guitarist for Cage the Elephant before he started producing other artists. We took his feedback and went down to Nashville to work on those songs. We planned on recording six tracks, but found ourselves with two days extra, just cuz we were flying through our sessions. So, we decided to do one more song and hashed it out right there the same day. And, honestly it’s our favourite song on the album, “Poli Shore.” It’s a super energetic, thrashy, punky, rock song and after it was all said and done it had this awesome throbbing energy.”
Translating that same sense of fun and intensity from studio to stage is definitely Ten Minute Detour’s strong suit. Moreover, the dancefloor-packing action is further improved when multi-instrumentalist Rhys Lintern is able to join the line-up to add his versatile talents to their pop-punk-meets-Grand-Ole-Opry melting pot.
“While the rest of us have all been there since beginning, our keyboardist and percussionist, Rhys, is actually an Australian that I met while I was at work. His visa has expired, but he’s flying back for the tour, which is really nice for us,” Shier reports of the band’s shifting line-up and the flexibility it brings.
Poised to introduce Common Pleasure to fans of all ages later this month, a nostalgic Ten Minute Detour can’t help but to pause and reflect on the path that led them to this point in their burgeoning musical careers, and wonder what surprises the future might hold.
“Looking back, our first album was four-on-the floor garage rock, but for this one we wanted a broader spectrum of sound. Something fuller and a little more produced than what we had before,” he explains. “Every one of the songs on the new album is experiential and yet very relatable. For some they may be pleasures and for some not so much. It’s seven different themes under one rock and roll umbrella. There’s a little indie pop, some R&B and hip-hop, there’s a Southern jam; it’s a blend. Live performance is always our main focus and that’s probably why all seven songs are energetic songs that really engage people. Having said that, I would like to do some slower more emotional songs on our next album. But, at this point it’s all about rocking out: there’s nothing slow about it. Common Pleasure? It’s just something you’ll wanna put on if you’re ready to go!”
Ten Minute Detour release their new album Common Pleasure with The Varmoors and Flood Plain on March 17 at The Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club [Calgary].
Common Pleasure, Flood Plain, Ten Minute Detour, The Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club, The Varmoors