Queen's University — Since 1873
22nd October 2012

Long road from Alberta

Rural Alberta Advantage take their show from Coachella to SXSW

Rural Alberta Advantage keyboardist Amy Cole says if bands don’t fight over music, they don’t care enough.
Rural Alberta Advantage keyboardist Amy Cole says if bands don’t fight over music, they don’t care enough. (Supplied)

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One-third of Rural Alberta Advantage can get you out of jail.

Keyboardist Amy Cole said being rock stars isn’t Rural Alberta Advantage’s main pursuit — they all have day jobs.

Drummer Paul Banwatt is a lawyer, while guitarist and vocalist Nils Edenloff is a software engineer and Cole is an animation TV writer.

She said sometimes leading double lives comes the band’s everyday lives to clash with their musical pursuits.

“Paul passed the bar this summer and it was a big deal because he’s been in law school for nine years, the whole time I’ve known him, because he always takes breaks because of touring,” she said. “He got engaged this summer too! Sorry, ladies.”

The band is on tour again this fall with Dan Mangan and Cole said they’re looking forward to being on the road again, fully equipped with a van they got from friends in the band, The Wooden Sky.

“They needed a bigger van. So it’s our first big tour with the new, old van.” Cole said the band has no intentions of marking the van with the band name on it, for safety reasons.

“If you advertise on your van that there’s a band in there, then your gear gets stolen immediately. We’re lucky enough to not have had stuff stolen, but it’s a big problem when you’re touring,” she said.

Mangan and Rural Alberta Advantage will be playing at Sydenham United Church tomorrow night, a venue Cole said the band really enjoys due to the balance churches bring.

“It’s not a theatre show where the audience is in padded seats just staring at you and it’s not a rock show where people are jumping up and down screaming,” she said.

“We played a church show in Austin, Texas for South by Southwest and the next day Pitchfork reviewed our show,” she said. “We got signed a few days after because of that church gig.”

Since then, the Toronto trio has gotten to play with City and Colour for the 2010 Olympics and even took the stage at the Coachella music festival in 2011.

Cole said many have a tough time categorizing the band.

“We were once called ‘spazz rockers’ and we thought it was hilarious. I like to leave it up to the listener, but we once heard ‘percussive folk’ and I guess that’s the closest thing that makes sense,” she said.

Cole said she and her band mates Paul and Nils fight “a ton” before they make it to the studio to record.

“If you’re not fighting super hard for the songs, then you’re not passionate about the music and it’s probably not that good.”

“We like to try to work off the songs from tour when we play so by the time we get in the studio, we know the song and the parts we’re happy with and there’s no huge fights.”

Rural Alberta Advantage plays Sydenham United Church tomorrow night at 8 p.m.

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