Canadian Musician - May-June 2022 - Page 37

say for one specific song , it just makes sense for the guitar player to play middle C the whole time . But he ’ s not interested in that because it ’ s not that interesting to play . To me , I ’ m always thinking , what ’ s best for this song ? It ’ s the same thing when other people provide ideas ,” he continues , recalling a mix assistant during a Marianas Trench session suggesting a twobeat gap in a song . “ And I was like , ‘ Great , let ’ s use it . I don ’ t care who has the idea . As long as it ’ s making the song better , let ’ s do that .”
He also ran songs by friends who typically share songs – almost like a writer ’ s group . “ So , there are three or four people I ’ d send songs to ,” which includes Matt Webb of Marianas . “ Because Matt will be brutally honest with no filter , which is exactly what I want . The thing they brought to this was the kind of fresh perspective I couldn ’ t possibly have because I was so inside it .”
That ’ s always important . “ You ’ ve got to have people whose opinions you trust and trust to give honest feedback .” Some people prefer to hear glowing reviews of everything they do , or they can get , well , pissed . “ But that is not me — at all . If you don ’ t like it , why ? What parts don ’ t you like ? So , the group of people I ’ ll show songs to , it ’ s important that some of them are songwriters and some aren ’ t . A musician will
give totally different feedback from someone who doesn ’ t work in the music industry .”
As for the latter , what he ’ s looking for is broad strokes . “ Is it catchy ? Have I gone too fancy ? Does this lyric resonate with you or not ? Really general stuff because most people that listen to music aren ’ t musicians , so catering to musicians only is a dicey path .” Fair to say , however , this record will be appreciated by musicians and non-musical listeners alike . “ I think there ’ s a little something for everyone , for sure .”
Right off the top , going from “ Lady Mine ” to “ Blame it on the Beat ,” it ’ s clear The Josh Ramsay Show isn ’ t adhering to one style .
“ I think ‘ Blame It on The Beat ’ sitting at track two was a very intentional choice . They ’ re going to hear the rock opener , and then as soon as it goes into that , I feel like the listener is going to go , ‘ Well , this definitely is not a Marianas Trench record .’ Putting it there is a statement . It ’ s like , ‘ Okay , what the hell are we doing ?’ And I also feel like , from an audience perspective , they go , ‘ What the fuck are we in for ?’”
For anyone asking a similar question about how Ramsay ’ s solo outing might impact Marianas Trench , while Ramsay won ’ t go into detail , he does say , “ With Marianas , I like to have a theme , a world we ’ re working in . And I have a really good one that we ’ re working on now . I ’ m excited . It ’ s going to be – we were talking about narratives – this is going to be , by far , the most narrative-driven record we ’ ve done . One thing I took away from working on that musical I was talking about that I haven ’ t had to do before was that I had to be thinking about , who ’ s the character singing ? What ’ s the intention of the scene and the character ’ s motivation in the scene ? Where are they at the beginning and end of the scene , and have we accomplished the goal ? So , I ’ m taking that mentality into this a little bit . With each song , it ’ s like , what part of the overall story is it ? How is it serving the story ? How is it moving the plot along ? Which I ’ ve not tried to do before . It ’ s like a jigsaw puzzle , but I think I ’ m up to the challenge .”
He ’ ll also take some of what he ’ s learned making this record into the next Marianas Trench process . “ Hell , yeah . One big takeaway for me on this album is that in trying to do something where I was jumping around genres , a takeaway was not to be so stuck trying to cater to specific formats . Just focus on , is it a good song ? So , I am going to bring a bit of that into the Marianas world .”
Kevin Young is a Toronto-based musician and freelance writer .