Interview: Gord Downie, The Sadies, and the Conquering Sun !

Underneath This had the pleasure of interviewing Dallas Good from Gord Downie, The Sadies, and the Conquering Sun. Please read more about this collaborative band from the bio on their press site Sacks & Co:

Gord Downie, The Sadies, And The Conquering Sun is made up of Mike Belitsky (drums), Sean Dean (bass), Downie (vocals), Dallas Good (guitars, keyboards) and Travis Good (vocals, guitar, mandolin). The highly anticipated project [their self-titled debut album] follows Downie and The Sadies’ first collaboration on a 2006 benefit album for Lake Ontario Waterkeepers. The long-time friends worked on the album over the course of the next seven years, recording with Ken Friesen at The Bathouse in Bath, Ontario. The album was mastered by Bob Rock at Warehouse Studios in Vancouver. All songs are written and produced by Downie and The Sadies.


Please describe the impetus and process of synergizing the creative talents of The Sadies and Gord Downie.

Friendship and a desire to create something that matters.

How does this album compare to records you have made previously? What was it like to make these songs together?

It doesn’t compare to any record we have made. The Sadies make records a certain way and it wasn’t like this. When we collaborate with others, we bend and sway a bit but it’s still sadie and the style (or lack there of) of the band always comes across. These songs were written, recorded and now ultimately performed with the intention of delivering something… else.

This was created as a collection of singles that, fortunately, have a very strong unity and coherence as a whole. Basically we made two songs a year and then two years to mix and master. Or I should say ‘over the course of’… It’d be funny if we spent 7 straight years on this. Ha, what was that Guns and Roses record called? Something about democracy?

I love the opening song, “Crater”, and its video. How did you select this track to start the album?

Thank you very much. It’s a bit of a left turn for sadie and a good example of what I was babbling about earlier. We picked it as the first song because Gord starts it with, “Hello There”. Seems like an appropriate greeting.

Other natural images (e.g., the moon, snowflakes) pervade the album. What are the meanings of these symbols?

Shit, I don’t know. Sorry. You’d have to ask Gord. I’m resisting the urge to just make a bunch of stuff up. We should move on quick.

You have covered “The Stooges” and Roky Erickson. Have these artists been influential to your sound?

In a dream world, they’d be influential to everyone’s sound. I could never sing a song by either artist but they are certainly on the top of the mountain. There’s a fine line between praise and sacrilege. It’s very nice to walk it.

photo credit: Norman Wong

photo credit: Norman Wong

Who and what are your other creative influences?

I definitely like cats a lot. Musically, I’m all over the place. Rest assured, I steal from the best of them.

Your style has been described as punk, rock, psychedelic, and your song “Devil Enough” seems to have elements of alt country. How do you characterize your sound?

Errrr… scratchy? A friend once said, “haunted”. I can live with that.

The last song on your debut, “Saved” has a cinematic quality and conjures up all of these images for me. Have films or other visual media affected the music you make?

Yes. There are many soundtracks that I listen to often and a story is a story no matter how you learn it. Music should conjure images for the listener, literal or non. Sadly, our music conjures demons as well.

If you were going to cover a song by a female artist, which song would you choose and why?

Hmmm, odd. For Gord,Sadie,and CS or for sadie? I don’t sing with Gord so I shouldn’t pick a song for him. Oh, wait a second, I will pick any song that I co-wrote with Neko Case for Gord to sing. That’d be rad and I’ll get a royalty AND I won’t have to learn nothing. If I gotta sing it, I’m gonna pick Shaved Women by Crass because that song has been stuck in my head for over a month now. I sing lots of songs written by women and write lots of songs with women including my mother so ,again, this question feels odd for me to answer but thanks for asking.

How is the tour going?

Aww good. Not really on tour yet but the shows have been really fun so far and it’s gonna pick up soon.

Which projects are you working on next?

Secret. Sorry.

What feedback do you have for aspiring musicians?
The only thing that comes to mind is, don’t smoke in bed. That’s probably the best advice I got. Oh and be nice when you can, always to cats.

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