Being a musician based on Vancouver Island might have its drawbacks — namely waiting in line for a ferry every time you have a gig off-island — but it has its upsides too, according to Victoria-based Band of Rascals.
At the top of the list? “It’s a close knit community,” said Malcom Owen-Flood, the band’s guitarist. “Everyone is supportive of each other and the fans here are unbelievable. You can do some really fun and large-scale shows.”
A member of that tight-knit community — blues musician Jesse Roper — even bestowed the band with their apt description as “nuts and bolts rock ‘n’ roll.”
“It sums us up pretty good,” Owen-Flood said. “Musically, we’re rock fans for sure, but there are tons of other influences… We’re diverse in what we listen to, but rock ‘n’ roll was the building blocks for us and it was the kind of music we wanted to create.”
The band first formed back in 2014 and, later that year, released a self-titled EP. Since then, they’ve focused on touring Canada, building a fanbase and writing songs for their forthcoming full-length album, Tempest.
“We spent a lot of time writing,” Owen-Flood said. “We took our time with that… Genre and sonically it’s probably a little heavier than I thought it would be. It’s really rock-riff driven stuff. It’s more rocking than I thought it would’ve ended up. The first one was more blues-y. That was cool for me. I’m sure I played into that because I like to play heavier stuff.”
Over the last several months, the band has been testing out those new songs live. “We’ve been sneaking them out to people at the shows,” Owen-Flood said. “It’s been great. It’s come a long way in terms of our sonic identity from the first one. We know who we are musically as a group.”
Since putting out that first release, the group has earned a manager and a booking agent, who recently landed them an impressive slot opening up for folk-punk singer Frank Turner at The Commodore Ballroom on Wednesday (Sept. 13).
“Back in March we flew to Ottawa for the Junos, did a gig and walked home with a booking agent,” said Owen-Flood. “They’re now in charge of our tours and finding opportunities for us. The more time we get to focus on playing and writing music, the better. Booking a tour is a humungous undertaking, especially for indie bands. It takes hours and hours of time and that’s time you could be writing music and practicing it and playing shows.”
With Tempest set for an October release, Owen-Flood said their next goal is to take their music to the U.S. and abroad.
“I want to spread it to other countries — across the border into the states, across Europe and going global,” he said. “That’s where I’d like to see us go tour.”
But first, Band of Rascals will return to Whistler for a performance at the Whistler Village Beer Festival. With one beer fest under their belt (in Vancouver) they’re ready to take on the crowd. “In the case of Vancouver, I was impressed with the people who cared about all the different kinds of beer… It’s definitely nice to be back in Whistler. We’ve played there just once, at Garf’s. It was awesome.”
Catch Band of Rascals at the Whistler Village Beer Festival’s main tasting event on Sunday (Sept. 17). For more information and tickets visit wvbf.ca.