When Tyler Bancroft describes his band’s latest album, the word he uses the most is “comfortable.”
Bancroft, singer and guitarist for Juno Award-winning Vancouver rock group Said the Whale, said after coming off of an experimental album and replacing their rhythm section, the band’s new album Cascadia is a natural return to what feels comfortable.
“When you take a risk and do something that you’re not comfortable with, the most natural reaction is to slingshot back to where you came from,” Bancroft said.
To keep with the comfortable vibes, parts of the record were recorded at Bancroft’s studio made from a converted bike shed and guitarist Ben Worcester’s family cabin on Gambier Island.
“We went up there and just brought some recording gear with some producers that worked on the record with us and just recorded for a few days and felt no pressure and were in a beautiful, comfortable environment in the summer and I can’t think of a more relaxing way to make an album,” Bancroft said.
The band kicked off their Cascadia tour at the Malkin Bowl at Stanley Park on Sept. 6 and play the Port Theatre on Sept. 26. Opening for the group at the Malkin Bowl was 17-year-old Port Coquitlam guitarist Jaden Bricker, whom the band discovered when they launched a contest for musicians under 18 years of age. Said the Whale are also offering the Top 5 finalists a mentorship session. Bancroft said it’s part of the band’s recent effort to nurture young musicians in the Lower Mainland.
“We are comfortable in a place in our careers where we’re starting to reflect on how we carry ourselves and the impact we have on those around us,” Bancroft said. “And one of the things that we are trying to focus on is reinvesting our time and energy and money into young artists in Vancouver.”
Over the spring Said the Whale launched a school tour where they donated at least $1,200 to the school music programs at each stop with sponsorship from Air Miles and Tom Lee Music. They also spoke to the students about the viability of a career in the arts and the importance of focusing on their passions.
As the next phase in their endeavour, starting this fall Said the Whale will make available two $2,500 grants annually for the next five years to help young Lower Mainland musicians develop their craft. Bancroft said he was inspired by his own youth, when as a 16-year-old high school student he took out a $3,000 business development loan to record an album and then paid it all back, an “overwhelming” task for a teenager.
“We managed to pull it off, but I would like to unburden some young people and allow them to focus on just having fun with it and not stressing about money quite yet,” he said. “Because, you know, you’ve got your whole life to stress about money.”
WHAT’S ON … Said the Whale perform at the Port Theatre, 125 Front St., on Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $36.50 for Rows A to J, all other seats $31.50. Available at the box office.