by Sheldon Birnie
Saskatoon’s Powder Blue are creating quite the buzz around themselves; a heavy, fuzzed out, droning buzz. The psychedelic quartet released their debut disc Dream in Black earlier this year, and have played stellar gigs across the West since. With a new member and some new tunes in tow, they return to Winnipeg this weekend to rock the Windsor with fellow ‘Toon towners Shooting Guns. Stylus caught up with Shelby Gaudet as they prepared for this mini prairie tour.
Stylus: I really dug your record, Dream in Black. I guess it’s not very new at this point, but could you tell me a little about what went into the making of it?
SG: I kind of came to the band with the songs in tact… My phone is doing a weird beeping thing, hold on… Yeah, I mean we all came to the songs and then kind of arranged them together. It kind of came quickly, we recorded right away.
Stylus: What has been the reception to the record, and playing those songs live across western Canada?
SG: People are liking it. It’s different from what a lot of people expect from us. Which is cool, I guess I don’t really know what people are expecting. But it’s nice when you can surpass people’s expectations.
Stylus: Are you working on new material? Any plans for a new record?
SG: Yeah, we have a few new songs. For this next album, we’re working on writing the songs together. Which is always, it always takes a bit longer. You try everybody’s… You end up trying the songs more ways. It takes longer, but it’ll be worth it in the end. It’ll be better. It’ll probably be a stronger album, with more to it.
Stylus: Any indication at this point how those songs are going? Is it a kind of departure from this one, or more of a natural evolution?
SG: It’s pretty similar, but it’s going to be heavier. I bought a new pedal when I was out in Austin. It’s pretty heavy. I’ll make a lot more use of that. It’s hard, as a guitar player, you’re always trying to find the sound that you want. That’s kind of always evolving. But the songs are pretty similar.
Stylus: You were one of the many, many bands that were impacted by the floods in Calgary during Sled Island. How did that end up working out for you?
SG: We didn’t get to play. The festival was cancelled the morning of our show. Elsa [Gebremichael, keys, drums, vocals] wasn’t able to make Sled Island. So it was just going to be me, Amber [Kraft, drums, keys, vocals] and Sonia [Dickin, bass, vocal]. So we decided to just go to Edmonton and try to play some shows there. We contacted the Wunderbar, and they put on a show all day for the bands [who were impacted by Sled]. We ran into some bands there who invited us to play a house party. So we got two shows out of it. It turned out to be pretty good, people were really understanding.
Stylus: This is your third time in Winnipeg. What have your previous shows been like? What’s Winnipeg’s reception to your band been?
SG: I think we have the best crowd in Winnipeg, actually. The first time our show fell through, I can’t remember where we were supposed to play but it was with Shooting Guns too. And friends just put together a show last minute at NGTV SPC. I don’t know, it just felt like as soon as we got there we just had all these friends and people liked us and bought our albums.We had such a good welcoming back when we came back to play Cluster Fest. I think that’s why, too. There are more artist spaces, rather than playing to a party crowd at a bar. This time we’re playing a bar, so we’ll see.
Stylus: You’re playing again with Shooting Guns. What’s the scene in Saskatoon for the more artsy, heavy music you folks are playing?
SG: It’s good. It’s different. It’s weird. You see a lot of young people and also a lot of old people. A lot of hipsters which is surprising. It’s pretty diverse. It’s not really a certain scene, it’s always different people.
Stylus: Keeps it exciting I guess.
SG: Yeah. It’s cool, at a lot of shows you see the same people in Saskatoon. But those types of shows there are always people who you’re like, “Oh where did that person come from?”
Stylus: What can we expect from Saturday’s show?
SG: We haven’t played a live show in a while, so it’s going to have a lot of energy because we’re so excited. We’re going to have a heavier set because we’re playing with Shooting Guns and we have some new songs that are a little heavier. And the Blisters are also playing, from Winnipeg. I’ve never heard them, so I’m really excited!
Don’t miss Saskatoon’s Powder Blue and Shooting Guns, with hometown heroes the Blisters, at the Windsor Hotel on Saturday, August 17. $10 at the door will get you in, and the party starts at 10pm. It’s going to be fucking heavy!