Music Q&A: Shred Kelly

Vocalist and keys player Sage McBride chats as the Canadian five piece head to the UK to tour from Guildford to Glasgow (25 Oct-3 Nov), hitting the Eagle in Manchester, 2 Nov

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What informs your music and songwriting?
Much of our songwriting is inspired by our surroundings in the small town we live in called Fernie, in the rocky mountains of British Columbia. It’s a very down-to-earth ski town that celebrates the mountains and this really shines through in our music. Many of the lyrics in our earlier albums are stories and reflections of living in the mountains. When we get on stage together, we see the immediate effect that this big energy can have on an audience and we certainly feed off of that, making it a fun – and very sweaty – show!

How have you evolved as a band over the years?

We’ve been a band for nine years. In the beginning, we had no idea of what we were doing. We had a high energy show but our sound was much more acoustic and folky. Tim was just learning the banjo back then, writing the songs as he learned new riffs, and the music was very banjo driven. Soon we adopted an electric guitar, piano and synthesizer, which gave a new energy and feel to the music and it became more folk-rock. Eventually we toured Canada back and forth so many times and just became better musicians through it all. With each new album we worked with some amazing producers, which forced us out of our comfort zone with songwriting. We’ve also had some changes in the band line-up over the years and new members have brought new inspirations with them. Presently we are really loving where we are at with the songwriting and live show.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
We have a new album called Archipelago and we are very excited to share it. With the release of the album we’ve put out some music videos that we are very proud of. For our song Don’t Ever Look Back we partnered with a production company in Calgary who based the music video on a Calgary play called Heterophobia, which takes place in an alternate reality where the norms of sexuality in society are flipped upside down. Our latest video for Jupiter (Any Other Way) is shot in the beautiful back country of our hometown of Fernie, BC highlighting the old growth forests and peaks in our backyard. Other than that, we are already writing for our next album!

What’s on your rider?
In Canada our rider reads: 12 medium-to-low quality beers and one medium-to-low quality bottle of wine. In the rest of the world our rider reads: anything you might feel inclined to spare to a poor bunch of Canucks, eh?

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.
Most embarrassing experience: we were playing in Winnipeg one winter and it was minus 40 degrees celsius outside. In that kind of weather we were all wearing long underwear, but you have to take off your long underwear before performing on stage or you’d melt. We all did that, but in a big rush to get on stage Tim unknowingly didn’t get his trousers done back up correctly and in the middle of a banjo solo his trousers started coming down.

Most surreal experience: this summer we played a new music festival called Skookum Festival in Vancouver, BC with many of our favourite bands like The War on Drugs, Florence and The Machine and The Killers, etc. We opened the main stage and had an incredible show with a great crowd and zero trouser malfunctions.

Runner-up most surreal experience: during the video shoot of our new music video Jupiter (Any Other Way), we shot a scene with each of us standing on snowy mountain peaks in our hometown in Fernie, which meant that we had to be transported and dropped off on the peaks via helicopter.

What song do you wish you’d written?
Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen or Tom Sawyer by Rush.

What’s your worst lyric?
In our song New Black there is the lyric “past life, once lived…” and on the record it sounds like “pasta life, once lived…”. We’ve had enquiries made to us about this pasta life and what it entails.

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