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Photo by Tarah Doheny

Gig Pick: Bad Western at Bar Robo—10.20.2018

By Joshua Soucie on October 18, 2018

Montréal-based indie pop band Bad Western will be jamming at Bar Robo, at 692 Somerset St. West, this Saturday October 20 at 8 p.m., alongside Ottawa’s Invisiboys. The band’s sound usually consists of an electric guitar riffs, accompanied by pop-style vocals.

Bad Western’s drummer, Landen Moore, grew up in Ottawa, but he has followed the band to their current home base of Toronto.

“Wyatt [the lead singer] writes with a standard pop structure, you know, with verse, chorus. We’re really guitar driven and lyrics forward,” Moore says. “In the feel of our music, I would say we are closer now to the Toronto current music scene of like, Alvvays, Tokyo Police Club and Arkells kind of genre.”

Moore says that, as a child, he attended the Glebe Collegiate Institute, where he was very involved in the music program. “I started playing drums when I was 10 years old. I was a huge music geek growing up. I was in all the senior and performance bands growing up,” Moore says.

After high school, his sister, who was then attending Concordia University, shared her love of Montréal’s music scene with her brother. Moore then decided to pursue a general arts degree at McGill, majoring in geography and economics.

During his studies, Moore met Wyatt Fine-Gagné at the university’s baseball tryouts. They bonded over their love of Death Cab for Cutie and began jamming with Fine-Gangé’s friend, guitarist Ben Carter-Whitney. Soon Bad Western was born.

“For the last couple of years, we were looking for a bassist, and we met with a few different people,” Moore recalls. “Then Wyatt ran into [Kevin Henry], who he had played baseball with growing up, and he said he still plays bass and was interested in playing in a band. We started playing with him a few months ago, and it has worked out really well. It’s been a very smooth addition.”

Moore says Fine-Gagné writes most of the lyrics and vocal melodies.

“He’ll have the basic skeleton of a song, maybe with an acoustic guitar part,” he says. “He’ll sit down. He’ll send that to us. I’ll start with a few ideas of where he wants the song to go. I’ll start workshopping the drum part. Ben will start writing some extra guitar parts, some melodies, those kinds of things. And they kind of go back and forth until they find where the song feels like it wants to sit.”

What’s next for the Montreal/Ottawa/Toronto band? Bad Western plans on steadily expanding their fanbase by touring Ontario and the North Eastern U.S.

“We’ve talked a few times about what we’d like to do, in a big picture sort of sense, and I think we have pretty common aspirations,” says Moore. “We’re now starting to apply to the festival circuit for next year, so that’s a common goal for all of us to play, even the tiniest stages at a festival. That would be amazing!”

When asked what he hopes people will take away from Bad Western’s music, Moore says, “I hope that people feel that it’s honest, I think. That we’re not forcing something or trying to be something that we’re not.”

Moore says Fine-Gagné doesn’t write gendered lyrics, by avoiding the use of pronouns such as “he” or “she.” That way, they hope everyone can identify with their music, making it more universally relatable.

“He’s not necessarily trying to send a message,” says Moore. “But he wants our music to apply to anybody.”

Bad Western plays with Invisiboys at Bar Robo on Saturday night, October 20, 2018. Tickets are $10.