I’m pretty much a beginner when it comes to the wide world of music. Up until the past few years, I was completely comfortable listening mostly to the “top 40” on the radio. And although I’m still forever a super fan of Taylor Swift and Kesha, I’ve expanded my musical interests, thanks to meeting new people, music festivals, and Spotify, to name a few. So, I was really excited to have the opportunity to sit down with Earl Pereira, frontman of Saskatoon based band The Steadies. Earl was a founding member of the popular Canadian band Wide Mouth Mason, playing over 3000 shows and opening for iconic artists like The Rolling Stones and AC/DC. Although he’s no longer with Wide Mouth Mason, he brings all of his experience to The Steadies, taking the explosively popular sound of the top 40 singles, and mixing it with rocksteady and reggae influences which they’ve dubbed “island rock”. The trio consists of Earl Pereira (Vocals and Bass), Justin Lee (Guitar and Vocals), and Lexie Miller (Drums and Vocals), all who currently call Saskatoon home. Their newly released album “Love Revolution” has been well received, and this same sentiment held true for me throughout their live performance. I had the chance to meet up with Earl, share some fries and conversation about him, the band, and the world in general.
Love Revolution is the Steadies’ second full length album. I wanted to know what they consciously made different from their first full length album, “Star City Shakedown”.
Earl greatly emphasized that there was a considerable difference in the way that the album was recorded, and all the hard work that lead up to that process. After the recording of “Starcity Shakedown”, the band lost their drummer. Thankfully, they found Lexie, but another misfortune happened during their tour – Earl suffered an injury that left him unable to continue and incapable of walking for 5 months. Therefore, he had a lot of time on his hands, and it forced him to change the creative process of making an album from the very beginning, by trying something completely foreign to him; collaborating and co-writing with his bandmates. When it comes to the instrumental and lyrical aspects, it had always been music first, but during this time, he was forced to open his mind a little bit more, and became more fluid with the process – at times allowing himself to work on the lyrics and melody first. For example, the track “Love Revolution” was indeed lyrics first. He felt passionately that this change in process shifted energy and excitement, making the music completely different.
Recording an album can be done in different ways. Separation is common; separating the instruments from the vocals, and even the band members from one another. But for Love Revolution they went Fleetwood Mac “Rumors” style, and recorded it live off the floor. Although it took them a little longer than Fleetwood Mac, they did manage to record half of the album in one single day, and then five or so months later, the other half was completed. Earl had always longed to experience this process, and he can very clearly hear the difference between the two albums, especially after his years of experience co-producing with Wide Mouth Mason.
Earl also spends his time in the production studio helping others, since he’s soaked up quite a bit of experience working with a roster of legendary producers including David Leonard (Paul McCartney, Prince), Joel Van Dyke (Aerosmith, Bryan Adams) and Todd Burke (Red Hot Chili Peppers, No Doubt, Johnny Cash).
The music is labeled as “island rock” – pop sound mixed with rocksteady and reggae influences, and I wanted to know what exactly influences Earl, both musically and personally.
Earl was clear about the fact that he absolutely loves the era of pop rock bands, like The Police and Inxs, and he feels like there aren’t bands like this anymore (a sentiment I hear a lot of the time). He wants to bring that back – the “pop” vibe along with the respect that a live rock band seems to receive. His goal is to mix old school with new sound and create an entirely fresh world of music. He wants to fuse everything seamlessly, with elements of electronic beats to make you want to get up and dance, along with a sound that has a bit of an edge. If you simply asked what kind of band they are, the answer would be reggae-based, although they do not claim to be an all-out reggae band. He would ideally like to replicate ‘60s Jamaica, when reggae groove was influenced by popular bands like the Beatles. This even influenced the name of this second album, “Love Revolution”.
Finding Each Other
At the time, Earls concentration was still on Wide Mouth Mason, and The Steadies was more of a side project. As they were rotating through many different musicians, Earls brother suggested Justin Lee after meeting him in Montreal, and to this day he still stands as a proud member of The Steadies. For the first couple of years, Earl admits that he wasn’t sure where the band was going. The drummer who was a part of the Star City Shakedown album left the band in 2013, parallel to the release of the album. Again, Earls brother stepped in and was able to find a replacement. He had experience with Lexie, as she was recording solo in his studio, again made his suggestion, and now she’s a part of The Steadies family as well.
This is Earls second life at music, using to his advantage what he learned from all of the mistakes he made with Wide Mouth Mason, he feels happy to grow with these two awesome musicians that he has been lucky to acquire. And they are almost at the 200 show mark! They’ve hit the sweet spot.
The road. Routines and/or rituals. Van/couch. Airplane/hotel. They do play up to 100 shows a year…
Like many bands, the Steadies take what they can get. Ottawa is good to them, but not every city is as awesome as ours. Friends will offer a place to stay, and they’ll take that if they aren’t doing top notch financially. The one ritual that Earl did disclose to me is one that took me by surprise – taking selfies in hot tubs. A hot tub is basically a requirement, wherever they’re going. Right now, the time they spend on the road isn’t too long, a week or two – and solely within Canada. But, like anyone in the arts knows all too well, they’re working on getting more exposure (so download their album here!) and hoping to eventually set up an international tour.
The overall lyrical theme is about finding the light within the darkness and overcoming fear and adversity.
Earl suffered quite a serious injury, and was unable to do much for half of a year. Being unable to leave the house gave him so much free time that he couldn’t help but get into his own head, and emotions surfaced that he wasn’t exactly used to. Like many, music helped to keep him focused, and he slowly began to see improvements. The lyrical theme and messages from the Love Revolution album come from the place that he was in at that time, and he wants people to know, through his experience, to stick with whatever it is that you’re working towards – don’t lose faith, it will get better. He’s advocating for self-love and happiness, sending the message to make sure you make yourself happy first, so you can then spread that to others. Music is also a way for The Steadies to do their part in spreading awareness of inspiration, hoping to improve lives through music.
If you could go back in time, what year would you visit and why?
Jamaica in the 1960s – going out to clubs, watching The Whalers in a dance hall somewhere. A great scene, a lot of dancing, and good times.
I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to chat with Earl Pereira and learn all of these new things about him, his band, and even music in general. I always do love checking out new music, especially when it’s made by people who are such cool characters, and it’s a bonus when there’s a strong female presence, and a strong Canadian presence. I look forward to opening the floodgates and experiencing all of the different music that I can. For now though, I definitely recommend The Steadies new album, Love Revolution, and checking them out live for three crazy fun nights (Nov. 18-20) at The Heart & Crown in the Byward Market.