Interview: The East Pointers

The East Pointers
Image Courtesy of The East Pointers

Canadian celtic trio The East Pointers have taken their sound to the next level with the release of their highly anticipated new album What We Leave Behind.

With an Australian tour on the horizon we sat down with Jake Charron from the band to chat about the album and what Australian audiences can expect when they hit our shores.

Gareth Hugh Evans: You released “82 Fires / Tanglewood” as a double A side a few months ago as a taster of the new album What We Leave Behind.

Jake Charron: That’s right. We’ve got a new album, released worldwide September 29th, called What We Leave Behind. The first two tracks we released are a sneak preview of the album – one instrumental track called “Tanglewood” and one song which we’ve been using as a single called “82 Fires”

GHE: From listening to both tracks, but I guess particularly “82 Fires”, it does sound like you have gone for a more epic sound than on your last album Sweet Victory. It sounds like there’s a lot more production behind it. Is that right?

JC: That’s definitely fair to say. There’s more production. I think “82 Fires” might be the most epic sounding song on the record but the whole thing is a bit more produced. One thing we wanted to maintain was to create tracks that we’d be able to replicate live as a trio. With the exception of a few layers here and there we should be able to get through most of it live.

GHE: I was going to ask about that. You guys have a pretty unique set up live where you’re using effects and percussion to build out your sound. How does the stage set up work to get such a big sound from just the three of you and acoustic instruments?

JC: We’re always trying to grow our sound, trying to find new ways to help us get a bigger sound. Tim (Chaisson) plays the fiddle and has a bit of foot percussion going on with the stomp box and tambourine. Koady (Chaisson) plays the banjo but also does a bit of pedal work with some effects, some bass stuff with his feet. I’ve mostly played guitar over the past couple of years but I play keyboard as well and we’ve been slowly bringing that into the show as well. We just try to see what we come up with.

GHE: I always assumed the bass lines were coming from you. I didn’t realise they were coming from Koady.

JC: You’re right – most of the bass has been coming from my guitar. I forgot to mention that! I have an octave effect on my guitar which gives it the bass lines. But some of the new album effects are triggered with Koady’s feet which we haven’t been touring live much yet. That’s part of new sound.

GHE: Going back to “82 Fires” – it’s true that song was inspired by Australia? It’s from a story you guys heard down in Tasmania, is that right?

JC: Totally. We were down in Tasmania, I guess it would be a year and a half ago now, touring with Liz Stringer who’s one of our favourite people and favourite singer-songwriters from down your way. We played a show in Chudleigh that was nearly called off because of the fires that were happening. It was pretty extreme – I think it was the most they’d seen in a while and a gentleman was telling us that there was 82 fires on the loose that night. We had a day off and we put that song together.

GHE: Over the last couple of years you’ve spent an inordinate amount of time in Australia. Is there something about the place that keeps you coming back and touring extensively?

JC: We love it. A big part of it was the first impression. As a band it was one of the first tours we did, coming down to Australia, and I think because of that it’s always going to be close to us – some of the amazing festivals we got the opportunity to play just as the band was getting up and running. We’ll come back any time we can.

GHE: You’ve also built a solid fan base here as well. You sell out a lot of shows and your sets are always hard to get into at festival. It must be lovely to come halfway across the world and have a fanbase here.

JC: It’s been really nice. We’re grateful that people have welcomed us and accepted our music and just come out to dance. Australian’s seem really up for dancing and having a good time and that helps us put on a show. It’s such a great place to tour and a nice festival scene. And the weather’s great too!

GHE: I do like the fact that you don’t just stick to the traditional folk festivals when you come out. Like this time around you’ll be playing the Mullum Music Festival and the Queenscliff Music Festival which are both festivals that, while they do have a lot of folk and acoustic artists, they’re not just folk festivals. And by playing these festivals it opens you up to people who aren’t folk or trad purists but are instead just music lovers.

JC: We’re looking forward to branching out a bit this tour. We all grew up loving trad music and listening to a lot of the traditional stuff and thinking “I don’t know why more people don’t know about this music”. A lot of times they just don’t have a chance to see it. If you don’t grow up in the scene where the folk music happens it’s hard to discover certain things. It’ll be nice to play for people who don’t know what we do. And I think the new album branches out a bit too, which is maybe a nice thing as we’re doing the same circuit down there.

GHE: Is the new album mainly instrumental like Sweet Victory or is there a lot more songs this time?

JC: There’s a few more songs. I think the split is five songs, six instrumental tracks. At the core of it all we’re still an acoustic trio that’s tried to beef up our sound a little bit. There’s some new ideas, a few new influences but at the root of it is that celtic folk that we play.

GHE: I’m also getting Americana influences, in “82 Fires” in particular

JC: That’s totally fair to say. We listen to a lot of stuff that’s coming out of America. The album was recorded down in Nashville – not sure if that effected the sound much. We worked with one of our heroes Gordie Sampson who’s an amazing songwriter and producer living down in Nashville. It was dream to work with him. He has his own input to the sound as well.

GHE: Well I’m loving the album and I’m super excited about the tour. Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me today.

JC: Thanks for making this happen.

What We Leave Behind, the new album from The East Pointers is available now. The full list of dates for their upcoming Australian tour are below:

Thursday 16th to Sunday 19th November – Mullum Music Festival, Mullumbimby, NSW
Thursday 23rd to Sunday 26th November – Queenscliff Music Festival, Queenscliff, VIC
Thursday 30th November – Caravan Music Club, Oakleigh, VIC
Sunday 3rd December – Toff in Town, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 6th December – Sepulchre, Hobart, TAS
Thursday 7th December – Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centre, Canberra, ACT
Friday 8th December – Theatre Royal, Castlemaine, VIC
Saturday 9th December – Metropole, Katoomba, NSW
Thursday 14th December – Jive, Adelaide, SA
Friday 15th December – Darwin Railway Club, Darwin, NT
Saturday 16th December – Albany Entertainment Centre, Albany, WA
Sunday 17th Dec – Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle, WA
Wednesday 27th December to Monday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD
Thursday 4th January – Sol Bar, Sunshine Coast, QLD
Friday 5th January – Old Museum, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 6th January – The Factory Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 7th January – Lizotte’s, Newcastle, NSW

1 Comment

  1. October 20, 2017 at 12:20

    […] “We’re always trying to grow our sound, trying to find new ways to help us get a bigger sound. Tim (Chaisson) plays the fiddle and has a bit of foot percussion going on with the stomp box and tambourine. Koady (Chaisson) plays the banjo but also does a bit of pedal work with some effects, some bass stuff with his feet. I’ve mostly played guitar over the past couple of years but I play keyboard as well and we’ve been slowly bringing that into the show as well. We just try to see what we come up with” – Gareth Hugh Evans chats to Jake Charron from The East Pointers. Interview here […]


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