Canadian Musician - May-June 2022 - Page 34



By Kevin Young

When Canadian Musician spoke to Josh Ramsay in early March 2022 , as usual , he was hard at it . That ’ s par for the course , mind you ; as frontman and principal songwriter for pop-rock stars Marianas Trench and as a collaborator with a wide range of other artists , he ’ s always got something on the go .

Typically , at any given time , Ramsay works on several things simultaneously . That ’ s the case now , he explains . Currently , he ’ s working on a soundtrack for a musical , a film adaptation of a Shakespeare play , new Marianas Trench tunes , and is in the middle on ongoing preparations for taking his debut solo record , The Josh Ramsay Show , on the road .
“ I ’ ve been putting together a band for the upcoming tour , which has been interesting . I haven ’ t had to do that for a long time . And I ’ ve been trying to find some multi-instrumentalists because there ’ s pretty wacky instrumentation on the album .”
That ’ s an understatement . When Ramsay first sent songs out to Dave “ Rave ” Ogilvie – with whom he co-mixed the record , “ Rave said , ‘ Don ’ t you know that when lead singers do solo records , they ’ re quiet , acoustic stuff ? Did you not get the memo ?’” Ramsay recalls , laughing .
Clearly , he didn ’ t . “ That ’ s exactly what I didn ’ t want and wasn ’ t going to do ,” Ramsay adds .
From the start , he had no intention of recording the kind of stripped-down , introspective offering so often associated with a lead singer ’ s solo project . “ I remember the first talk with my manager being , ‘ I want to do a solo album ’ and first arriving at [ the idea of ] doing all the different genres . When I first said it out loud ,
I was like , ‘ That ’ s a crazy idea — I wonder if I could do that , or if people would accept that ?’”
Ringing in at 18 tracks that run the gamut from modern country to songs that defy description , like his standout duet with Serena Ryder , “ Beat the Devil ,” through EDM , and fullon orchestral instrumentals , The Josh Ramsay Show covers a considerable amount of ground , both on songs featuring other artists and those he takes on alone .
Consequently , in putting a live band together , he needs musicians who can cover all that ground – vocally and instrumentally . “ People who can sing not just backing vocals but leads ( in multiple genres ), which is kind of a tall order ,” he adds , laughing . “ But it ’ s a killer band , I ’ m very excited about it . We ’ re not in rehearsals yet , but everyone is doing their own prep , myself included .” For Ramsay , that means listening to the record – and only the record – repeatedly . “ It ’ s the same thing I do for the Marianas Trench stuff . I only listen to the album . Not because I ’ m an egomaniac , but because
I want to make sure I know all the notes that are happening , everywhere .”
It ’ s one thing to track a record and know your own parts , but another entirely to have it down so cold that you can lead the band through it and perform it effortlessly . And , frankly , Ramsay won ’ t settle for anything less than kick-ass shows .
“ Absolutely . As musical director , whether it ’ s for this or Marianas Trench , I want to know every single person ’ s part at every moment . So , I ’ m not just memorizing my parts … and I ’ m not listening as a listener , I ’ m listening as practice .”
Ultimately , Ramsay ’ s confident he ’ s chosen the perfect band members . “ I ’ ve got four really