Sudbury-based folk-rockers Sea Perry are serving up some of the catchiest tunes heard so far this year, and they’re bringing the goods to The Hideout in Red Deer on May 29th.
As bassist Shawn Fisher says, each performance, be it an opening spot for such like-minded acts as The Trews, Great Big Sea or The Strumbellas, or on a festival bill with dozens of other artists or their own headlining sets, Sea Perry sees it as an opportunity to change lives, change people’s perspectives or touch somebody in some way.
Chris Milligan (guitar/vocals), Fisher (bass/keys) and Chad Bouchard (drums) – are ready to take their relationship with music lovers to the next level with the release of their full-length debut Do What You Do.
“We’ve all been writing music and working with bands for years – it’s always been our mission to take music to the next level. That’s kind of the way we met, in our native Sudbury – we had played some shows with each other’s bands and started to become friends in that way,” explained Fisher.
With other projects wrapping up, the guys decided to join forces back in the spring of 2013 – and the concept for Sea Perry was sparked. “We started writing some music and we realized that we were doing something that we really liked, and there was a very similar kind of mantra among the three of us. All of our aspirations are the same, so that really helped us – it strengthened our resolve to do this project.”
Recorded in Toronto with producer Michael Jack, who’s worked with such Canadian and international talent as Bono, Rush and Nelly Furtado, the 10 tracks were laid down with an ear towards bringing to life that stage show while also accentuating the stellar musicianship and remarkable songwriting skills throughout the group.
“We wanted to work with somebody that had some real weight to their resume,” said Fisher. “We wanted to deliver these songs in the right form, and that they stayed true through the recording process,” he said. “There’s a big difference between ‘live’ music and how something translates to an album.”
The guys had played a show with the Trews, and they had chatted with John Angus-MacDonald about working on the CD with him but he was a bit busy at the time. Jack subsequently sent them a message saying how much he liked their music and that he would love to collaborate at some point. They clicked, and the production process was soon underway.
Fisher also credits the tight-knit nature of the trio with bringing out the best Sea Perry has to offer, explaining that, like all great relationships, this one is built on honesty and vulnerability, each of the three willing to fight it out to get something that’s definitively something they can take pride in.
“There are times when we’re writing music that we get so passionate about an idea that we’re trying to push forward that we really force each other to get to a very uncomfortable zone emotionally,” he said. “But sometimes you need to get to the brink of your humanity to get something out that’s really significant.”
Overall, he said the recording of the project proved a pretty seamless affair. “When it comes to structuring the songs, we spend a lot of time working on that and it’s very collaborative. So we know where all the changes are – we are very conscious of how it’s going to transmit to the studio and how it’s going to sound at the end.
“When we go in, we have a very specific process of what we do, and so far that’s really working for us.”
Whatever that process involves, something is clearly working – Do What You Do is filled with what has been described as ‘giant sing-a-long choruses, pristine radio-ready melodies, chiming guitars and steady, driving rhythms’.
“It’s happy, but it’s got a real grit to it.”
The record is also filled with lyrics and stories that run the gamut of coming to grips with your own mortality and moving forward in the face of whatever might come your way to, of course, relationships of all kinds.
For Fisher, as with the other guys, a love for music surfaced early on. “I grew up all around musicians. My grandmother played everything – she was a very talented woman. Everyone on my mom’s side was just very musically inclined naturally, and my mother exposed me to a lot of different music.
“And my dad was a crooner – he’d be singing these songs non-stop. He loved Frank Sinatra. And that’s actually where my voice lies – in that register. I’d definitely say I was inspired by my father in that regard.”
Ultimately, the guys can’t wait to hit the road and introduce their music to a much broader audience. There is nothing like that connection of artist to audience.
“The band wasn’t born out of writing for an album, the album was born out of a love of playing ‘live’ and then having the challenge of putting it onto a recording.”