Q+A: The Sheepdogs on ‘making rock and roll music for people who love that sort of thing’

The band’s new album Outta Sight is due for release on June 3.

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Ewan Currie won’t overthink it.

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The Sheepdogs frontman says the timelessness of tested rock music hallmarks is guiding the band out of pandemic doldrums with the planned release of Outta Sight on June 3.

Currie spoke about capturing the youthful energy of being all worked up with nowhere to go in the band’s latest outing after two years of cancellations and delays.

Q: You said this is the least prepared you’ve been to write an album since your self-titled 2012 release. Why is that?

A: Maybe preparation is overrated, but we didn’t even really know that we were doing an album. The pandemic, especially for bands, was constantly making plans and then the situation would change and you’d have to shift gears. We kept doing that over and over.

We happened to all be in the same city, in Toronto. We tried to get some studio time and it just went well. We just needed to feel that progress, because everything felt impossible.

Q: Does that make it a more organic process?

A: We had less time than we did on Changing Colours. When you have a lot of time, it’s really easy to get really highfalutin and try a million different ideas, or get married to one specific idea and try a thousand ways to make it sound like what you hear in your head. You can really get lost.

When you’re up against the clock, you don’t have the luxury of indulging some of those whims. Let’s do something a little more focused. That became the vibe of this record: Let’s not overthink it.

Q: Not getting pigeonholed with the pandemic subject matter may make it more timeless, but isn’t it also more timely? People are tired of living room concerts.

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A: All the stuff that happened in the pandemic — Zoom, living room concerts — I don’t think it’s going to age well. We try to write our music so you don’t have to hear it in its era.

When we started the Sheepdogs, I was a bummed out young man in Saskatoon and I would listen to my favourite records to cheer me up. I would drive around and listen to Creedence. It made me feel better. I want to do that in our songs.

The pandemic was a good way for me tap back into that energy. Like that line from Rebel Without a Cause, “What are you rebelling against? What do you got?”

Q: Are you swimming against the current when you make a happy, straight-ahead rock record in that environment?

A: We’re carrying on that tradition of guitars and singing in harmony. I think about people who make small batch bourbon. It’s nice to have something made by hand, that has an artisan quality. We’re making rock and roll music for people who love that sort of thing.

For me, the perfect time is a Friday night, with the week behind you and the full weekend ahead. That’s such a happy place to crank a big Led Zeppelin record.

Q: Like that scene in Wayne’s World where the characters are headbanging to Bohemian Rhapsody?

A: Even just that visual of them driving around in their car, wishing there was something to do, going back to that youthful (need to) break out. That encapsulates the energy we wanted.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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