Chris Martin knows the importance of looking to the future and the past simultaneously. Knocking on the release of a much-awaited second record, as well as the sixth anniversary of his band, the founding member of Halifax's nostalgic blues-based Trouble Shooters still finds time to talk about the vision for their unborn third album.
Between the release of The Trouble Shooters' last record and A Whole 'Nother Thang a lot has changed. For one the band's nearly doubled in size, going from a four piece (Martin, Stu Hayward, Rob Fris and Michael Nahirnak) to six, filling out their throwback sound with the addition of Tyler Crane and Colin Boyd on keys and horns.
Also, the live show has grown to be something completely innovative. Most times you'll find these guys turning on their old timey rock 'n' roll riffs and rich blues progressions in tandem with sultry performances from the ladies of the local burlesque scene. It's a match made in sensory heaven and, until recently, was a pretty untapped market in Halifax.
You could say that over the past three years, the band's found itself.
"Last time we were kind of looking for a sound, and we had a producer who helped us to create one through the recording. And that worked out and we got that album in the process," says Martin of The Trouble Shooters' first LP, 2008's Down on Agricola Street. "But this time we were going in with a sound. We didn't spend time trying to find that identity, we just spent time trying to capture it."
This time when they went into the studio, it was all about translating the natural feel of their high-energy live show into a record. They wanted to be prepared, but not too prepared---the element of surprise was a welcome one. Between the Echo Chamber and Codapop---and with the help of Andrew JH Gillis---a reel-to-reel tape recorder and old guitars, the perfectly imperfect record came to fruition last winter.
"We didn't want it to be a squeaky clean perfect album, we wanted it to just feel like guys playing their instruments," says Martin, who adds the band plans to up the ante for its next album and record it live. "I listen to so many old records and there's mistakes all over that stuff. I'm the first guy to say 'Don't worry about that mistake, the groove is good let's move on'. We definitely feel comfortable with that danger of spontaneous creation."
And with the six-member version of The Trouble Shooters, that spontaneity is even more probable. Between the players are backgrounds in rock and blues, education in jazz and a love for '50s classics, and Martin credits this mix to the band's familiar,yet unique sound. With a repertoire over 60 songs strong, they don't spend time trying to juggle genres, but rather let them coexist and complement each other.
"We tried to make a vintage album in the past and I don't know if that's the best approach. It's better to make something timeless," says Martin of A Whole 'Nother Thang, which will be officially released on Saturday. "If you can manage to just be true to something, whether it's yourself or the songs, you've got to portray some truth, some reality."
The Trouble Shooters w/The Deadly Hearts, Kay Licious, Saturday, December 10, 10pm, Michael’s Bar and Grill, 6100 Young Street, $7/$10 w/CD
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