By Sarah Allen
CALGARY – It has been awhile since Black Phoenix Orchestra (BPO) graced our pages, but there is more epic psychedelic wisdom to be bestowed on Calgary this month. BeatRoute caught up with vocalist Chris Campbell and guitarist Kenton Amstutz (Dead Pretty), as the melodic rock group gears up to gauge a reaction to their first new release since their self-titled album appeared in 2011.
It’s not exactly a rise from the ashes, but BPO makes a point of returning to the stage to perform once a year and always in the month of December. Why the elusive nature?
“Getting old!” Amstutz jokes. “People have kids now and other projects,” Campbell confirms.
Their former drummer has recently moved to New York to work as a chef, but thankfully percussionist Dougie Pocasangre Jr. has taken up with BPO just in time for their annual holiday shindig. He will join Campbell and Amstutz for their festive boogie-down alongside lead vocalist Darren McDade (Dead Pretty), guitarist Erik Ermantrout (Slim Hawley, The Northern Coast) and bassist Devan Forster (Mammoth Grove, Silver Moss).
Between the longtime members, there are many more bands and side pursuits that each are a part of, but the energetic and exploratory nature of BPO has an irresistible draw for musicians and fans alike.
“It’s like the planets have aligned when we can all get into the same room,” Amstutz chimes in.
According to Campbell, the punch-drunk minstrels are relishing the fun and freedom they find in the simplicity of just playing good music with friends.
So, what can fans expect out of the poetic rockers’ upcoming EP? The modestly titled Haus will feature six new tracks, many of which you can expect to hear from BPO’s live set when they return to the stage at Dickens this month. After all, the gift of seeing music performed live is one that keeps supplying pleasure all year ‘round.
“We have taken all of what we learned in our other projects, and time spent playing music on our own, and are bringing it back to a place that we all enjoy. I think it is more refined and mature, but still a lot of fun,” Amstutz explains. “It’s been a mishmash of us getting into studio at different times and different songs have come out of [different pairings]. It’s just been a matter of getting us all into studio at the same time to lay it down properly.”
Black Phoenix Orchestra perform Dec. 14 with John David, Conversation Killers and Telly at Dickens Pub (Calgary)Black Phoenix Orchestra, Conversation Killers, Dickens Pub, John David, Telly