If you attend concerts regularly, you start to get a good sense of venues, and artists whose music would work ideally in certain settings. Apt613 readers should be familiar with Burnstown’s Neat Coffee Shop by now, and if you’ve taken our advice and seen a show there, you know the intimate stage is tailor-made for acoustic shows. So when Halifax’s The Stanfields announced they were embarking on an “acoustic-ish” tour, the stars aligned for them to make their debut on one of our favourite stages around.
For a quick primer on The Stanfields, they’ve been coming to Ottawa for almost a decade now, dating back to a memorable set opening for The Trews at the Dragon Boat Festival in 2011. Each of their five albums has had its own distinct style from rock to folk, with a common thread tying them all together—earnest, honest songwriting imbued in maritime traditions. Given their latest release Limboland was released just last year, fans were pleasantly surprised to get a brand new song released this summer as well.
We caught up with frontman Jon Landry to find out what else we can expect from them at Neat, and other new music that may be coming soon. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
APT613: I’ve been listening to the new song “Rules Have All The Fun” and there’s more new music on the way?
Jon Landry: Yes, there’s a new single called “Breakers In The Dark” coming out on October 4th.
Nice—that’s the day before the show.
Yeah, so basically we’re touring through Ontario and a couple of dates in the U.S. in support of this single. We have a record coming in January 2020, so we’re trying to rally the troops.
Is the new album going to be more acoustic, following the path of For King And Country, or are you following along the same line as the last two, Limboland and Modus Operandi.
I say this is more of an acoustic-ish record. I don’t want to call it chill, because it’s not really chill, but it’s not as robust as some of our earlier records. No high BPM songs, no screeching feedback. This is more along the lines of drawing on influences like The Band, Neil Young & Stray Gators, that sort of vibe. 70s, maybe west coast country rock a little bit. Of course there’s a lot of Celtic influence within us for sure. This is probably as close to what you might call Americana as we’ll ever get.
I wouldn’t expect a full Americana twang out of you guys. No matter how much you may adapt, I think there’s always going to be that Celtic side, and then the punk rock attitude hidden behind everything.
We’ve never considered ourselves a punk band—that was something that was kind of bestowed upon us over the years. We just do what we want, really. Much to the chagrin of anyone who’s tried to market us. We just don’t fit in a box that easy. We just stay true to what we want to do, and hope it translates for people. We’ve continued to build a career out of it, so we’re really happy where we are. And we really enjoy playing live—that’s really our thing.
“This is probably as close to what you might call Americana as we’ll ever get.”
Given you have a new album coming in early 2020, are there any plans to do something to celebrate the 10th anniversary of your debut album, Vanguard of the Young & Reckless?
That’s funny, we’ve been tossing that one around. There’s nothing that I can actually say right now. It actually freaks me out that you mentioned that, because I’m still 25 in my head. It’s a bit freaky. We’ve tossed around ideas but we’re more focused on moving ahead than really looking back. I think, we’ve got so much new music in the pipe, this record notwithstanding, and ideas to get out there to the world, so it becomes very hard for us to really think about doing a remastering of Vanguard or anything like that. We’ll probably make a Facebook post, but that’ll be about it.
Limboland came out not that long ago, and you already have a new single for a new album, your songwriting must just be flowing these days.
You know, it always has. When we started, it was at the tail end of the old music industry paradigm—make a record, tour it for two years, then go away for a little bit, come back. People were buying albums in stores. Now we find ourselves—I won’t say degraded, but we’ve evolved or changed… the paradigm has definitely shifted to more “drip feed, stay visible as long as you can at all times” sort of mentality that labels want and fans have become accustomed to.
So thinking about today, what we’re best at is writing music. We’re not really good at keeping an Instagram feed, or posting every little tidbit on our minds. We just like to focus on creating music, and music videos. That’s what we do best. So that’s really reflected in how we release music again. And with any luck, by this time next year we’ll have two records out, and be working on another one after that. So that’s where we’re putting all of our energy and make sure that we can have some kind of meaningful impact on existing fans and adding new ones.
The Stanfields will be performing at Neat Coffee Shop (1715 Calabogie Rd) on Saturday October 5, 2019. Doors open at 7pm, show starts at 8pm. A few tickets ($30) are still available through the Neat Coffee Shop website.