The East Pointers break new ground ahead of mammoth tour

Canadian contemporary folk music outfit The East Pointers have recently dropped their third album, ‘Yours To Break’, and have also announced plans to undertake a mammoth tour of Australia next year. Guitarist Jake Charron and fiddler Tim Chaisson took time out from their touring schedule to have a chat with Blank GC about the album, the tour, and pretty much whatever else they felt like talking about.

“It’s been great!”  Tim enthused on the reaction to ‘Yours To Break’.

“It’s always a bit scary putting something out into the world that’s a little departure from the last. We just wrapped up our Canadian tour with a number of sold-out shows and a number one CBC Radio 2 song with ‘Wintergreen’ so we’re feeling quite grateful! On the other end, we realize it may not be all folk lovers’ cup of tea (laughs).”

Rather than go into the writing and recording process with elaborate plans and lofty ambitions, The East Pointers adopted a more simplistic approach.

“One of our main goals was to take our live show to the next level and we think we achieved it,” Tim said. “We give many thanks to our sound engineer and lighting tech for being awesome in that department. We also focused a lot on the craft of the song and instrumental pieces, allowing us to feel them more deeply.”

The press release for the album hinted at it transcending barriers of traditional folk music, which although sounding impressive still leaves much to the imagination.

“Did we say that?” Tim laughed. “We all grew up playing traditional folk music with our families but are also influenced by pop, rock and dance. It can be hard to bridge a style of music that’s been around for hundreds of years with contemporary trends but we really just love experimenting – feeling the honesty in both worlds. There are no musical rules for us; if it feels good do it – pretty much. We just hope people enjoy it!”

Celtic music has always been the cornerstone of The East Pointers’ music, but with ‘Yours To Break’ the band has branched out even more in an attempt to fully capture that traditional vibe.

“Those Celtic roots will always be the foundation of what we do,” Tim measured. “It’s how we came together and what we’ve always known. Since the beginning of the band, we’ve been expanding that tradition. With each album, we explore more on the production side of things – new sounds and tones – but always being aware of what we can pull off live. We keep all of our limbs busy on stage!”

Incorporating these traditional elements can be tricky, but Tim believes that by letting such inspiration come more naturally rather than as a by-product of pressure the music can feel more structured while at the same time retaining its time-honoured undertones.

“For us, I think letting it all flow naturally is the key,” he nodded. “You have all these musical bones in your body that have been built since day one – it’s your choice to exercise which ones come out. Many artists can relate to the fact that songs literally come out of nowhere – it’s like they exist already, you just have to catch them while they’re floating around.”

Debut album ‘Secret Victory’ firmly placed The East Pointers on the global music map, winning them the Juno Award for Traditional Roots Album of the Year for 2017. It made the world take notice, but while admitting the album was the perfect launching pad for the band’s future, Jake stressed the need for future albums – including ‘Yours To Break’ – to develop their own sound and identity.

“’Secret Victory’ was very acoustic, mostly fiddle, tenor banjo and guitar,” he said. “The new album features a few more electronic textures. We’ve brought more of our musical influences together on the new album, and although still acoustic at the core, stretches out a bit further into other genres.”

Starting their Australian tour on 27 December, Jake says the band are looking forward to bringing their new music to a warmer climate and giving their local fans a welcome belated Christmas present.

“It’s been really fun moving this album from the studio to the stage, and can’t wait to bring it to Australia,” he said. “The shows will be pretty high energy, bigger sounds, bigger dance parties, but also some reflective moments. Something for everyone, we hope.”

While the modern touring cycle of international bands is more along the lines of get in and out and play as many shows while you can, The East Pointers have decided to stretch their shows out, with the band not playing their final show until April 2020.

“Yes, Australia will home base for the new few months!” Jake laughed. “It will be one of our longer tours, but we have a good team on the road and some family popping in once in a while, which will be nice.”

Australia is a country that will have an enduring effect on The East Pointers, with Tim pointing out in a recent interview that before coming to Australia they were a sit-down band.

“From the very first show the Aussie audiences just stood up, ran to the front of the room, and started dancing,” he recalled. “We haven’t sat down since.”

“That’s totally true!” Jake laughed. “Australia was one of the first places we toured as a band, and we lucked our way into some amazing festivals. The crazy crowds definitely helped grow our sound, we had to keep up (and stand up). We are definitely looking forward to another boost!”

Come and give the East Pointers a boost on Saturday 4 January at The Tivoli, Sunday 5 January at Miami Marketta and Thursday 9 January at The Northern. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster. Be sure to check out our full review of ‘Yours To Break’.

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