Manitoba’s Red Moon Road are one of Canadian folk music’s most dynamic and promising up-incoming attractions. The powerhouse three-piece of Daniel Jordan, Sheena Rattai and Daniel Peloquin-Hopfner put music fans coast to coast on notice with their sublime 2015 third studio album Sorrows and Glories. In the midst of their debut Newfoundland tour, which sees the band stretch their acclaimed live performance across the province from English Harbour to the 2017 Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival in St. John’s the band caught up with The Herald for an online exclusive in-depth Q&A. (All questions answered by Daniel Jordan)
Q: Your East Coast tour is seeing you hit several key markets here in Newfoundland and Labrador this August (1st-8th). Will this be your first time visiting the province? And how excited are you for this mini-island tour, including a featured slot at the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival.
We’ve been looking forward to this for five years now. We’ve had incredible experiences in every province so far, EXCEPT Newfoundland! (It might help that we’re travelling more and more by plane now, and less by 1990 Volvo Station Wagon). So excited doesn’t even begin to describe it. We’ve encountered so many amazing NL musicians and people over the years, and they are invariably just the nicest people, even if we don’t always understand the dialect… ha! In many ways, it’s feels like NL has it’s own true folk music style/genre that has been a big influence on us, and so many other musicians, and so we are looking forward to this “pilgrimage to the source”. Playing the festival is an honour and we’re sure it’s going to be a career highlight.
Q: Coming out of Manitoba, how would you describe the folk music scene there? How was it like coming up through the music ranks in that particular market, in perhaps comparing it to the vast folk market here in Atlantic Canada?
Manitoba has a vibrant and fertile folk music scene. There is a real culture of roots music there, largely centred around (and probably a little chicken and egg with) the many wonderful festivals that have popped up in the province in recent years, as well as the legacy of institutions like the Winnipeg Folk Festival and Home Routes. Coming up as a band, we were always surrounded by amazing talent, but also a supportive community, and we’re sure that has something to do with our success and the propagation of killer folk acts coming out of the ‘Peg. It seems there is something similar in Eastern Canada, but even more so in that music is a completely integrated part of the cultural fabric here. All the Atlantic Artists we know and love positively radiate talent and are saturated in tradition, but also pushing the boundaries while being a particularly humble and fun lot. In particular, we’ve played with and count ourselves lucky to be friends AND big fans of the beauties from the likes of The Once, Matthew Byrne and Amelia Curran. Three particularly shiny jewels from an island of gems.
Q: You’ve earned some pretty substantial recognition with your most recent record Sorrows and Glories, both here at home and abroad. Are there designs on a followup release in the foreseeable future? How do you plan to top this most recent release, if at all possible?
Its amazing how little time we’ve spent on the writing compared to the countless hours touring over the years. We are proud of our records thus far, but we also know we have yet to scratch the surface of what we are capable of in the studio. Just before we left we rented a dedicated music space. In one week in there we cranked out two new tunes and we think it’s some of our best work yet. We might debut those on tour, but what we are looking forward to is returning home in August to begin work on a new album, one in which we will incorporate the skills we’ve honed over the last three years of constant touring, and the way we’ve grown as a band. We’re pretty sure its going to make for something great.
Q: Red Moon Road have garnered a reputation for a fantastic live show, one which defies what would normally be expected from a standard three-piece. Where does perfecting the art of live performance rank for you as a band? And how do you ensure the audience is given an immersive and intimate live experience, as you are well known for?
Well thanks for saying so! We’ve worked pretty hard at it. Between the weird Frankenstein instrumental divisions we’ve come up with, the storytelling component, and Sheena’s incredible vocals, I think we’ve got something pretty unique. The performance is so important to us. It’s a way of respecting your audience, who is the reason we have a career. We try and consider presentation and feel as much as the music. While we wouldn’t say we’ve perfected anything, we try really hard to bring ourselves as fully as we can to each show, and we are always tweaking and working on it as we go. Its an organic, growing and evolving thing which has, in many ways, taken on a life of it’s own over the years.
Q: In terms of best laid plans, what do you envision as the necessary next steps for Red Moon Road? What do you see the coming months and year as having in store for the band?
After this NL and NS tour, heading home to write and build the next album is the focus for us. We’ve learned and grown so much as a band (and individuals) over the last five years so we are so excited to manifest that in this next creative endeavour. I think we all always be us, but what seems to be coming down the pipe is something kind of new too. We owe it to ourselves, and the people who have supported us over the years, to see what is possible when we give ourselves the time and space to stretch and explore the limits of our capabilities. Something tells me it’s going to be game changing.
Red Moon Road 2017 Newfoundland Tour Dates:
Aug 1 – English Harbour Arts Centre – English Harbour, NL – www.englishharbourartsassociation.com
Aug 2 – Julia Ann Walsh Center – Norris Point, NL
Aug 3 – Swirsky’s Theatre and Music Hall – Corner Brook, NL – www.swirskys.com
Aug 4 – 6 – Newfoundland & Labrador Folk Festival – St John’s, NL – http://nlfolk.com/
Aug 8 – The Citadel House – Lewisporte, NL – www.thecitadehouse.com
Visit Red Moon Road at redmoonroad.com for more information.