From the beautiful Pacific-Northwest comes Reignwolf, a powerhouse rock band known for their sweaty and energetic live shows. And somehow, they pack all the power of their sound into only three members, lead singer and guitarist Jordan Cook, bassist S.J. Kardash and drummer Joseph Braley. Reignwolf is now stationed out of Seattle, Washington, but the band has strong Canadian ties, with Cook growing up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan before he packed up his guitar and amp and moved south-west several years ago.
The group formed back in 2012, but only now have they unveiled their debut full-length record Hear Me Out (purchase it here on iTunes). The album was released on March 1st and consists of ten polished tracks in the making for several years. With plenty more touring in the cards, including a spring run that will include a stop at Woodstock 50 (see dates below), we spoke with frontman Jordan Cook about Reignwolf, why it took seven years to release their debut, and what drew him to living in Seattle.
So, you grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan before moving to Seattle about six or seven years ago. What was your exposure like to music as a youngster in Saskatoon? Was it essentially a whole lot of country music?
Jordan Cook: Saskatoon has quite a diverse music scene and some of the greatest musicians I’ve met. We were lucky as there were a lot of North American artists and bands traveling through. And exceptionally lucky as many of them would play this blues bar my dad would take me to as a kid. The matinee jam sessions would allow kids to attend the smokey filled bar (laughs). Strangely, I don’t remember a ton of country in the scene then.
You’ll want to watch this latest music video from Reignwolf “Over and Over” again.
People seem to have this assumption in parts of Canada, at least in very urbanized environments, that the Prairie Provinces are slow-paced or even boring. How would you classify your experience growing up in a small city in the middle of Western Canada?
Cook: I think there is a lot of beauty in growing up there. Truth is I don’t think I even noticed the slower pace as I was playing music every moment I got.
I guess this is somewhat of an obvious question considering its storied rock n’ roll history, but what was it about Seattle that made you decide to move there?
Cook: It actually wasn’t intentional to live there. I was fortunate to know a few of the Soundgarden (members) and was just visiting as they’d just gotten back together and were playing shows around town. Ben Shepherd introduced me to our drummer Joseph Braley at their show, and we started playing music together right away. The music community there quickly got behind us so I just didn’t leave.
I’m sorry, but I got to ask you this one. Who is your favourite Seattle grunge-era band and why? It’s always been Soundgarden for me…
Cook: It depends what day of the week it is, but I must say Soundgarden absolutely has changed my life. When I was in high school, the sister of a girl I was dating gave me Superunknown and it’s still in my record player. Getting to know them more in Seattle was mind-bending.
So, let’s talk about your full-length debut album, Hear Me Out, which was just released last month. Was it by design to wait nearly seven years to release your debut or have there been hold-ups along the way?
Cook: It was absolutely not intentional but it did help make it that much more special when it finally did drop. It’s been incredible playing the new music too. We’re still standing on the edge with these tunes because many of them came together at the end of the process.
Reignwolf’s debut record, Hear Me Out, was released on March 1st.
Was the collection of songs that wound up on Hear Me Out written specifically for the album, or is this an assortment of tracks that you’ve amassed over the last several years?
Cook: I’d been hanging onto a few for a bit like “Wanna Don’t Wanna,” “Over & Over,” and “Alligator.” “Ritual” and “Fools Gold” were written as we were going into mix. We’d only road tested two or three of them at the end of last year’s tour.
I’m sure it’s a relief to finally release this record. Would you say you feel like the “monkey is off your back,” so to speak, now that Hear Me Out is out there for people to hear?
Cook: I feel like it’s opened a vessel. We’re jamming on more ideas as we speak.
I’m curious as to why you titled the record Hear Me Out. Is there a deeper story behind this or did it just sound cool?
Cook: I kept selling my ideas for the record to the band like “guys hear me out” insert idea here… So it kind of was there the whole time.
Finally, Reignwolf appeared in Cameron Crowe’s “Roadies” series that aired on HBO in 2016. How did this awesome opportunity come about for the band?
Cook: Pearl Jam’s manager, Kelly Curtis, was a producer on the show and suggested that Cameron Crowe check out Reignwolf. He then reached out to us and it was unforgettable as he let us do our thing and just left the cameras rolling. It was a very cool experience.
Spring Tour Dates:
04/11 – Joshua Tree, CA @ Pappy & Harriet’s
05/05 – Jacksonville, FL @ Welcome to Rockville
05/07 – Jackson, MS @ Duling Hall
05/08 – Memphis, TN @ The Hi Tone Café
05/10 – Chattanooga, TN @ Songbirds North
05/11 – Johnson City, TN @ Capone’s
05/12 – Rockingham, NC @ Epicenter Festival
05/31 – Madison, WI @ Majestic Theatre
06/01 – Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom
07/02 – Cincinnati, OH @ Bunbury Music Festival
08/18 – Watkins Glen, NY @ Woodstock 50
What am I hearing? It’s all “Black and Red” to me. Check out the latest track from Hear Me Out.