It’s a well-documented fact that when brothers team up to create music, magic happens. Bands like Stone Temple Pilots, Kings of Leon and Oasis are great examples of that mentality and despite the fact that two of the three nearly killed each other in the process, the logic remains. Playing music with people you’ve grown up with and have a similar mindset to can produce great results, and while many bands spend years trying to replicate this type of rapport within their ranks, family bands have the unfair advantage of having it built in. Case in point: one of Windsor’s finest indie-rock start-ups, Of The Pack, who are keeping the tradition alive.
Originally consisting of brothers Richard (guitar/vocals) and Eric Dutka (drums), they got their start the way so many bands do – by spending long hours jamming in their parents’ basement. Initially, they were just having a good time making noise, but after a while they began to realize the potential of what they were creating. Eventually adding high-school friend Nick Friars on bass, the trio has spent the past few years crafting their unique brand of cathartic, energetic dance-rock a la Arctic Monkeys, Against Me! and The White Stripes. After showcasing their music at some of Windsor’s most revered music festivals like Phog Fest, Harvesting The FAM and ChurchHouse Symposium, the band unleashed their debut Bitter EP to the masses on November 2nd. Windsor Independent managed to catch up with the guys before their last show of 2013 to talk about the new album and the road they’ve taken to get there.
How has the Windsor scene been responding to your music since the EP dropped?
The Windsor scene has always been incredibly supportive. We’ve had the support of local media giving us exposure, and we’ve built an awesome fan base of kids who come out to see us play. It’s funny how that works too, one night we had someone approach us after a show and tell us he’d only bought a ticket because he thought The Pack AD was on the bill. But we won him over, and he ended up hooking us up with some publicity and we gained a new fan. We play most of our shows in Windsor, we’ve done a few one-off shows out of town, but we’re all still in school and love our hometown crowds.
Do you find that the sibling rivalry comes into play when you’re writing / performing?
Not really. Maybe we’re just used to each other. Richard writes the songs on his own, and then brings them to the table for the band to add to, and it’s really worked out well for us so far. We try to push ourselves to come up with styles and patterns that we’ve never heard before, and really focus on making songs dynamic so our fans are always guessing what’s going to happen next. So if anything, it makes us stronger as a band being able to challenge each other and add pieces to the puzzle.
Is the album written specifically about anything, or is it just a collection of songs?
The album title is actually pretty accurate. When I wrote the lyrics, I was dealing with a pretty sour complicated relationship situation, and I used my music as an outlet to get those emotions out there. The funny thing is that once I’d written those songs and we started performing them, this girl and I ended up getting serious, and it was definitely weird singing those angry songs with her in the room. Needless to say, it didn’t last in the long run, but it turned into a great record.
After sitting on these songs for so long, how did it feel to finally get them recorded?
Incredible. We recorded with Erik Gurney at XXII-22 Studios, and it sounds great! We tried to capture a really authentic, raw sound when we recorded these songs, because that’s the way we sound when you come see us live. When we went in to get the mixes, we actually asked for the producer to make it less polished, which I don’t think he was ready for. He kind of looked at us like we were crazy, apparently musicians don’t do that very often. We’re proud of the record though.
Can fans of the record expect the same sound at a live show ?
Well, the band’s been playing these songs for a long time now and we’ve got a great fan base who know our music but that comes with its challenges. The people who’ve been there since day one are used to our raw live sound but with new listeners who might have only heard the EP without seeing us play it, there’s this new pressure to perform the songs exactly the way they’ve heard it on the album, and that’s hard to do consistently. Our live show is much more intense. The vocals get more aggressive, the rhythm section really gets moving, and our bassist runs around without shoes. Everything’s amped up a little bit more and that can take people by surprise.
What’s next for the band? Global domination?
Not quite yet. We’re focusing on this band, but we’ve got some side projects that we play in for fun as well (Menos Mal, World I Witness, Grumpy Monkeys). We’re all still in school too, so we’re not focused on touring. We’re taking the rest of 2013 off to write more material, and want to get a full-length album out by the end of 2014. Does that mean we’re opposed to dropping everything and going on tour? Not necessarily – but it would have to be an opportunity that we couldn’t afford to pass up.
If you want to catch Of The Pack, you’ll have plenty of chances – but not until early 2014. In the meantime, head over to their Bandcamp and pick up a copy of their new Bitter EP, and follow them on Facebook to make sure you don’t miss their triumphant return to the stage. You can also catch the band members at Phog Lounge eating poutine on a regular basis. Give them a high-five and tell them we sent you.
By: Andrew Bell