Interstellar Rootcellar returns to the stage

By Agam Darshi

Interstellar Rootcellar did not break up. Let’s make that clear. Though they may have been absent from the public eye for almost a year, pawning their instruments has not crossed their minds.

Instead, the local six-piece has made every effort to rebuild and be reborn after lineup changes. The core members (Darren Bourne on keyboards and vocals, Andy McAdam on bass and vocals, Andrew Blizzard on Sax and vocals, and Howie Woiwod on trumpet and vocals) of the five-year strong group have added Adam Esposito on drums (formerly of the local soul group Gloryhole) and Gord Adam on guitar.

In their former incarnation, Interstellar earned a reputation of individuality within the Calgary scene. Local music fans were hard pressed to name a band in the same genre. The reggae, rock and funk band have used the last five months to regain their former strength.

“We’ve played in British Columbia over the past five months fairly consistently,” says McAdam. “We didn’t want to come back and play in Calgary until we were at least as good as we were before (the lineup changes). We wanted to test our music out in other markets first We felt a lot more comfortable going to British Columbia because they would be a lot less critical of us.”

With confidence restored, the group is set to return to their hometown audience. Despite their absence from the stage, Interstellar says the band has been working harder than ever to promote themselves.

“We’re on the phone every day. That’s one thing we’ve realized: Don’t waste your chance. Spend every moment that you possibly can trying to further your career,” McAdam says eagerly.

The current lineup has only been together for a couple months, but Interstellar feels confident in their new sound. Throughout their career, Interstellar has found themselves branded as Calgary’s funk band. The band, however, asserts that their music has developed a rock element that balances their funk and reggae leanings, and may surprise fans.

“We play and everyone thinks it’s too loud, but if they had originally come looking for something heavier, then they wouldn’t have got so upset about it,” states McAdam. “When we play stuff off [older recordings], you get a taste of the old vibe, but even that is a lot heavier. If we went back and recorded that live now, we would sound like a different band… The rock is coming out.”

“We’re trying to push the idea of playing something funky as opposed to being a funk band,” continues Bourne. “Funk has always been a hard word to swallow. When we were just starting, five years ago, it was really easy to say we were something that we wanted to be. Looking back now, we’ve learned our lesson. You don’t go out there and say, ‘We’re a funk band!’”

Interstellar’s evolving sound may soon lead to a new recording and the band hopes it may be able to spread its sounds overseas. For now, however, Calgarians have the opportunity to rediscover an old favourite.

Interstellar Rootcellar plays Sat., Aug. 14, at the Night Gallery with Vancouver’s Hounds of Buskerville.

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