author: ethan butterfield | a&c writer
Bassist Duncan Coutts talks future work in this week’s Banding with Butterfield.
Here we are, the final Banding with Butterfield this semester. I had the amazing opportunity to interview Our Lady Peace bassist, Duncan Coutts. He tells the Carillon about their recent tour and future releases below.
First question. Why the combination tour with I Mother Earth and yourselves?
Well, we actually did a New Years’ show with them last year and it just kind of organically came out of a conversation. They are very old friends of ours. They were the first band to take Our Lady Peace across Canada way back in the day. I’ve been in the band a very long time; I have been in it since ’95, but this is going back to before I was in the band. Then we toured the country doing Edgefest. I think that was about 1997, something like that. So there is an old friendship there, and it just kind of made sense, and it has been a really great tour just in terms of camaraderie and reacquainting ourselves with some old friends that we haven’t seen in a long time.
Now, and if you can’t say, I completely understand, does the band have anything lined up in terms of new material?
Oh, we don’t have to be confidential with that; we’re actually, I don’t know if you’ve seen online, but we have been playing a new song already this tour that we actually haven’t totally finished recording. We’re about six songs deep now. Well, I mean we have more than that sort of in various states of creation, but I’d say that we have six songs fairly well recorded. We may go back and change little bits here and there, but we are close to having new material ready. We had hoped to have new material ready before the tour happened, but life sometimes gets in the way, and schedules get in the way, and we just didn’t quite get it finished, but there is new music coming.
We’ve been playing a new song called “Drop Me in the Water” and, you know, normally when we play new songs for the first time to an audience, you might get a polite reception or you might mess it up completely, but the song has been going over really well every night. So it’s just sort of a good reassurance.
How is performing live for you guys?
It’s amazing! I mean, at the risk of sounding immodest, I would say that we’re playing better now than we have ever played. It’s crazy, it really is. There’s a confidence, there’s a comfort in one’s own skin about what your strengths and your limitations are. We’re just purely having fun and enjoying the moment within the music, and it’s a really good place to get to.
And here’s the thing, when it starts to become work, it’s time to hang it up! I mean, you have to work hard, you have to work hard to be really good. But when it starts to feel like work, that’s when you shouldn’t be doing this anymore. It’s an honour and a privilege to get to do this, and we don’t take that lightly.
So, Our Lady Peace has been together for well over two decades. What have been some of your favorite highlights throughout your career?
I don’t think that we are a band that allows ourselves to look back very much. I think the danger of looking back, or back in one’s own accomplishments, is a dangerous thing to do. It kind of leads to believing your own hype, I would say. So, if we look back, I think it’s to learn from our mistakes, to figure out how we could do things better and more effectively. We’re generally a band that does not look back at things. We’re constantly trying to move forward and trying to challenge each other with new music and new sounds, not resting on our laurels and writing stuff that might be reminiscent of what we did, but really going to new places so that we stay fresh and hopefully people, you know, catch on to that. If we stay fresh, then it’s going to be a more honest experience for us and, therefore, for the people who want to listen to our music as well.
Last question. What does the future hold for Our Lady Peace?
Wish I had a crystal ball. I can tell you this: we have six songs pretty much in the can. Tonight, I’m going to try to out-duel Jag Tanna from I Mother Earth, but I don’t know if I can ’cause he’s just way too good. It’s going to be new music, it’s going to be trying to make the most exciting new music that we can at this point, and push ourselves into different places. Try and tour more and enjoy the process. I think if you enjoy the process of what it is that you do, whether you’re a musician, a writer, a doctor, whatever your vocation is, if you can really, truly enjoy that process and life in the moment and reach for the future, you’re going to get to a good place with whatever it is that you do. I think that is the future for us right now; we’re all in a really good headspace. We’re all really enjoying playing live and playing together, and we’re really enjoying recording and the process, although it’s been drawn out. You know, Raine and Steve live in L.A. and Jason and I live in Toronto, so it’s kind of hard to get together at times. But, when we are together and we are recording, it’s been exciting, it’s been fresh, and I think the fruits of our labour are showing. The new songs are really cool. The one song we’re playing live people are really digging and, yeah, it’s just going to be a further path of that, you know, looking forward.
So there you have it! You can find more information about Our Lady Peace on their Facebook page.