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Wide Mouth Mason slides into new sound
Friday, October 18, 2002. Volume 96, Issue 28
By Steve Pizzale, UWO Gazette
Following the recent release of Wide Mouth Mason's latest studio album Rained Out Parade, the band's frontman, Shaun Verreault, took time to sit down and talk about being in a well-travelled Canadian band.
As Rained is Wide Mouth's fourth studio release, Verreault says the band's process of recording changed for their latest effort.
"[It was] mostly about getting comfortable in that environment and learning how to turn our brains off like we do when we play live, which always leads to the most natural and intuitive music," he notes.
Though the members of Wide Mouth Mason do not possess a cast iron template for creating their music, Verreault explains the band's creative traditional process.
"We start out with maybe an idea or a melody when we first get to the studio in the morning, and by lunch time, it will be three separate parts that we play with," Verreault says.
Trying to find a balance between spontaneity and perfection can be a daunting task, but according to Verreault, perfection is in the eye of the beholder.
"You can look at the recorded version of a song as the be-all and end-all of that song, when, in actuality, the best version of it - where it's most true to what the lyrics are about or what the sound is about - could be in a club some night where we're playing it. We just try to get a really solid version down and let people decide for themselves whether it's the one," he says.
Spending time to really sit back and create, Wide Mouth Mason came up with too many songs to fit on their album. Knowing how to keep the flow and spirit of the record going can be a tricky task, he explains.
"There was about four or five [songs] that I think we all liked as much as anything on Rained Out Parade, but they all seemed to hang together in a different mood than the songs on this record, which were kind of organic-sounding. The other stuff was in a different vein," he says.
As Verreault notes, the sound on Rained Out Parade involves heavy use of slide guitar. Shaun reminisces about what pushed him to incorporate this new sound into the band.
"On our first record, I was just sort of playing who I was, but it was perceived by a lot of people that we were Stevie Ray [Vaughan] and the Wide Mouth Masons, and so playing bluesy stuff started to feel a bit like a parody to me.
"I always thought our take on blues would be to try and put our fingerprints on it as much as we could. Slide opened up a whole new world for me," he says.
After nearly 10 years, Wide Mouth Mason has developed a loyal following. On their new record, the band gives fans access to live tracks, something they've never done before.
Verreault explains how the band feels about the fans taping and trading Wide Mouth Mason's music.
"When we play a show, the music is there for the people who are there. If they decide to tape it and trade it with other people so they can say, 'Hey, this is what the show in London was like,' then I am totally down with that. As long as people aren't exchanging money doing it, it's all good," he says.
The band is currently finishing up a Canadian tour, after which they'll head to China for the first time at the end of November. Although the band has played to foreign audiences before - the Montreux Festival in Switzerland, for example - Verreault still doesn't know what to expect.
"Montreux has a really strong concert culture, and I'm not sure how much of that China has, so we'll see. If this was the first time we were playing to an audience who didn't understand most of what we said, it would probably be even scarier. But it's still going to be really strange."
After countless Canadian tours and four albums to date, the band is refreshed, recharged and excited about continuing making the music that they love.
Copyright © UWO Gazette
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