There aren’t many groups that form with the intention of playing covers of classic Rush songs, but Pacific Estate isn’t “any” band. While many groups these days prefer to focus on presentation over strong musicianship, Pacific Estate focuses primarily on the latter. After all, how can you be what’s considered a “good” band if you really aren’t much of a “band” at all?
Formed in 2013, when they were all teenagers, Pacific Estate has finally gotten to seriously focusing on their own sound with the release of their debut single, “She.” It’s been a long time coming, but it was time well spent. As the years passed, the members began to look increasingly towards developing their own sound and style, and not just playing the music of others.
Now, the group has emerged as one of the up-and-coming indie rock acts in their native Ontario, backed by the high powered vocals of Cameron Hart and the solid rhythm section provided by his bandmates. The team’s talents have already been recognized and afforded slots opening for the likes of I Mother Earth, Hollerado, Pkew Pkew Pkew, and The Temperance Movement.
Commenting on “She,” the band stated, “The song was inspired by an internal conflict. It’s about uncertainty, not fully knowing if you’re in the right or the wrong, or even what you want in the first place, while also understanding you have to live with the consequences of whatever choice you make. It’s the struggle to determine if you’re being selfish or putting yourself first.”
To get to better know Pacific Estate, we spoke with drummer Grady Evans about the track “She,” the groups they love (other than Rush), and their forthcoming debut album.
The roots of Pacific Estate extend back to 2013 when you were in high school and wanted to start a band to play covers of Rush songs. What was it about playing Rush covers in particular that got you so motivated?
Grady Evans: “As a drummer growing up in Canada, you can probably figure why I was (and still am) so into Rush, and can understand my excitement when I found out my right-winger (Cam Hart, we used to play hockey) could shred the entirety of ‘Spirit of the Radio’ on guitar. We actually played a battle of the bands when we were in grade nine, and lost because we opted for a rendition of ‘La Villa Strangiato’ and ‘Spirit of the Radio’ in full, taking up sixteen minutes out of our 20-minute set. We loved how Rush drove melodies from each member/instrument in the band as opposed from one or two. That, and of course their exceptional talent, love and dedication to the Canadian rock scene, and fantastic music videos/band photo shoots.”
“She” is your debut single, which I was surprised to learn because it’s much more musically developed than I would expect from a debut single. Tell us more about how you wrote this rather fun and catchy song.
“‘She’ was not one of those songs that just came together. In fact, it was written quite a bit different than our other songs. I wrote the music first, and had the instruments all demoed before we put pen to paper, I had a general idea of melody and structure that I wanted to push; I wanted the song to start with vocals, and for it to come full circle at the end in a dramatic ritardando. I passed the demo off to Cam with only the first verse written, and he was able to find a great melody line for the chorus. Our producer Julius Butty was also instrumental in tweaking melodies, timing, and phase changes. He was really the ‘magic sauce’ that refined ‘She’ from an idea to a song.”
Is “She” a relatively new song or have you had this one finished, at least in some demo version, for a while?
“We started writing ‘She’ in spring 2018, and the band finished it in the studio in the summer of 2018. It’s been mastered for about a year and a half to date.”
Who are the bands that Pacific Estate like to model themselves after? What artists have really left their imprint on the band’s sound?
“As individuals, we listen to a ton of music; rock, R&B, folk, punk, jazz, funk, metal, country, hip-hop; you name it. It’s tough to narrow it down, but bands we’ve always looked up to include: Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Led Zeppelin, Glorious Sons and Pup.”
You have been working on a debut album recently with producer Julius Butty who has produced for Alexisonfire, City and Colour, and Protest The Hero. How did you get matched up with Julius and where do things stand with the album?
“A friend of Julius’ saw us play the Sound of Music Festival in Burlington in 2016. We later met with Julius and learned that him and his wife were in the works of building a new state of the art studio at their rural estate in Hannon, Ontario. In the summer of 2018, we were the first band to record in the brand new Arc Recording Studio. Julius and Andrea have been our single biggest influence, and have truly shaped who we are as musicians and individuals today. Currently, we are are completing recording, and the self-titled album will be available everywhere in fall of 2020.”