They may have only just gotten there, but Victoria-based Band of Rascals broke onto the music scene on Vancouver Island over the past couple of years like a freight train coming through a window. And they’re coming up Island next month to show Campbell River that rock and roll is still very much alive and well.
“It’s really been gathering steam, for sure,” says lead singer and rhythm guitarist Sam Trainor from his home on the South Island. “For a while there we were playing somewhere every weekend, and the crowds were getting bigger and bigger.”
Well, yeah. They’ll do that when you’ve got your name on the bill at Rifflandia – the Island’s largest music festival, which essentially takes over very music venue in downtown Victoria for a few days each summer – or Rock The Shores, which sees crowds numbering in the thousands take over the grounds and fields of Westshore Parks and Recreation in Colwood and where you get to share a stage with the likes of Metric, Arkells, City and Colour, The New Pornographers and Big Wreck.
“It’s been amazing,” Trainor admits. “Hopefully this is just the beginning of something.”
But even if it’s somehow not, don’t count on them to stop rocking anytime soon.
“This isn’t something we do as a job,” Trainor says.
All four members of the band – Trainor, lead guitarist Malcolm Owen-Flood, drummer Marcus Manhas and bassist Sean Marcy – have regular jobs with the City of Victoria, side gigs in music production, or just bits and pieces of work where they can get it.
“You gotta do what you gotta do to live, right?” Trainer says. “I mean, maybe one day we’ll be able to actually make a living at this, but who knows,” he says with a laugh.
Band of Rascals has been steadily building a serious following since they launched onto the scene a couple of years ago with their first EP, which grabbed the attention of a couple of heavy hitters in the Victoria music scene, Jesse Roper and Current Swell – who just so happened to have played the Tidemark together about a year ago and absolutely brought down the house.
Roper, particularly, has been a huge support, Trainor says.
“Jesse’s such an awesome guy, and he’s done a lot for us in terms of support and advice. And he’s just awesome to be around and hang out with.”
He’s clearly had an influence on their music, as well.
You can almost feel Roper’s driving southern blues permeating just under the surface of the band’s music.
The band’s other influences are hard to pinpoint when shuffling through their songs, though. Songs like Held in Thought (Not By You), make you think they are channeling bands like Mumford and Sons or The Sheepdogs, but then you listen to a song like The Key, and you’re transported back to the 1990s and the grungy rock sounds of bands like Alice in Chains.
So just what is it that you’re trying to do, Trainor?
How does a band diversify their sound so much like that and make it all sound so good?
Well, it just kind of happens that way, he says, because of how the band allows the songs to develop organically, rather than going into the writing process with a goal.
“It’s always different,” Trainor says. “I guess I tend to write most of the slower stuff, but the harder, more driving stuff is usually Malcolm bringing a riff and us just jamming it out and letting it go where it wants, and then maybe I’ll take it and let it sit overnight and think about it and come back with something else to add or some lyrics. We just let it develop. I think that’s important, you know? Not to force things and instead just let them become what they’re going to be. Once you start forcing something and try to make it do something, that’s when things can really go wrong.”
To see and hear what they’re all about for yourself, find them on Soundcloud or purchase tickets for their Feb. 18 show at the Tidemark Box Office from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday or online at tickets.tidemarktheatre.com
“We’re going to rock as hard as we can, the same way we always do,” he says.
“The sweat will be flying. We don’t really know any other way.”