Thanks to Seven Story Redhead's lead singer, guitarist and chief songwriter Kelly Sutherland, there is a sasquatch in Banff that wasn't there before.
"We lived in this band house in Banff and they're not very clear on how this band house works," bassist Frank Gallant recalls. "So you go in, and the main floor is a living room and a kitchen and it looks like somebody stays there a lot and upstairs it's very spartan. We didn't know this at the time, but they expect the band to hang out upstairs 'cause the downstairs is actually someone's house, right? So, we're all hanging out, and doing our thing, but Kelly takes this painting off the wall-- genius, it was genius. He takes this landscape thing this bird had painted and he paints a sasquatch in the middle of it."
This is how Seven Story Redhead were "sort of" banned from Banff and summarizes the joie de vivre which is inescapably captured in their music and in their garage-cum-studio. The group is set to release their first LP after their two EP efforts. Sutherland say the change in format gave the group a little more musical freedom.
"We had a lot of stuff and we wanted to throw it all out there," says Sutherland. "If we made an EP, a lot of the songs wouldn't have made [it], but with [an LP] you get a little more leniency toward including weird stuff. Hence why we have a lot of stranger songs on there."
Seven Story Redhead is admittedly a record that is difficult to place in the current Canadian rock scene. SSR take their influences from overseas and it shows. Listing the Kinks, the Clash and the Beatles as influences and featuring a musical aesthetic similar to those of Swedish rockers Mando Diao and defunct British indie gods the Libertines, Seven Story Redhead are somewhat atypical of a local scene where dreamy, ambient music sometimes seems to reign supreme. While they enjoyed some mainstream attention when their song "I Was Yer Mate" was featured on X92.9's eXposure program for eight months, they've remained largely under the radar despite having been active since 2003. The group cites the depressingly chronic tendency for the only audience members for many Calgary bands to be other Calgary bands as a reason for their struggles.
"Too many kids like what they're told to like," Gallant says. "It's like, 'Fuck, what are you doing? Find something you dig. I don't give a shit what it is, but just don't take what the mainstream tells you to listen to and listen to it.' There's a lot of really great local bands and nobody's coming to see it. There's a million people in this city. What are you guys doing?"
Guitarist Chris Bell agrees.
"Listening to music is weird," he says. "But participating in it, making it is the most natural human thing to do. Cave people didn't listen to recordings. They did it themselves. You got to come out if you really love the music."
The group could give a lot of reasons to come to their shows, but all they want is for people to give their music a listen.