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Uptown girl

Rah Rah’s Erin Passmore releases debut solo EP Downtown

Jonathan Petrychyn
A&C Editor

Online Exclusive

The instant I got Rah Rah’s Erin Passmore on the phone to talk about her debut EP Downtown, I received an e-mail from her publicist, Julie Booth.

“Erin has a phoner today (that we were both just reminded about from our US PR team) at 12:00 pm local time,” the email read. “Just means, there is a bit of a time crunch to get as prompt 11:30 am start as possible with your call.”

Turns out Regina’s indie darling is a hot commodity in the music world.

Passmore laughed the double-booking off with an embarrassed and lighthearted, “I forgot I had another call at noon because I’m really unorganized.”

It’s hard to believe that someone unorganized would be able to reach the heights Passmore has. She’s managed to record Rah Rah’s new album, release her first solo EP Downtown, perform a release show for it on Feb. 24 at The Distrikt, and shoot a music video for her track “Monster” with Library Voices.

If she’s disorganized, she’s one of the most productive disorganized musicians in Regina.

In case the suggestive title and Passmore’s Regina roots didn’t tip you off, Downtown deals with Regina – or, at least, it deals with Regina in a roundabout sort of way.

“‘Downtown’ [the title track] has some specific Regina-based kind of issues in my head,” Passmore said, “but a lot of the subject matter is having to do with how I always end up comparing the rest of the world to my hometown, and how that’s kind of special when you’re touring constantly.”

Passmore had been touring with Rah Rah since the release of their first full-length, Going Steady, in 2008. Around the same time, she took up keyboard and vocal duties for local art-rockers Sylvie. It wasn’t until 2011 that Passmore would get a break from touring and have a chance to work on an EP of her own songs.

“Rah Rah really made it easy last summer because we didn’t really tour,” Passmore said. “It just was just one of those summers where it didn’t really seem appropriate to tour just because we were going into the studio in the fall … we just had this time off, [and they said] ‘Why don’t you go and do this?’”

Passmore recorded Downtown in Montreal after Rah Rah had a pre-production session with producer Gus Van Go. Though she admits that the whole experience was “nerve-racking”, she said it gave her the confidence to make Downtown the way she wanted.

“Having that experience, and then going to Montreal, and going through a similar process with Matt [Lederman, producer of Downtown] … it was way easier, having done the scary part with Rah Rah first and not on my own,” Passmore said. “And so it kind of allowed me to understand and to trust my instincts in terms of what I liked about certain songs and what I wanted to change, and just other aspects of pre-production.”

Passmore said the experience was “probably one of the most creative times of my life” with a mocking, but sincere, tone. It’s the same way Passmore described the “girly-girl vibe” of Downtown.

“My songs are obviously a little bit different than Rah Rah’s,” Passmore said. “I kind of have this girly girl vibe going on … I got to play around with female harmonies and just really play that up a little bit more than with Rah Rah recordings.”

And even though Passmore enjoyed making Downtown, and enjoys solo shows, she said that Rah Rah is still at the top of her priority list.

“I really liked the experience, I’d definitely do it again,” said Passmore. “I’m a little bit different than a lot of artists out there because my main priority is still the band, you know.

“We’re going to be releasing probably the most amazing record – at least of ours – of all.” 

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