Tonight, Kingston’s Kasador will be blowing off a lot of steam at The Toucan. Their full-length debut album, Brood & Bloom, drops tomorrow, an album that has been in the works for over two years. With a variety of delays, personnel changes, and other personal challenges setting production back, the band is eager to get their album into public hands.
“We started writing it over two years ago,” said bassist Boris Baker. “We went into the studio for the first batch of songs in 2017, we recorded six songs, three of which we ended up keeping for the record. And then we went in September of last year for 10 days and we did seven songs. And then we went back in December for three more. We did about 27 days of recording.”
Since that initial session, the band has changed from a five-piece to a four-piece, gone through two drummers, and changed from a single-singer band to a two-singer band.
“It was a new thing for us, and we wanted to find out ‘How can we get the most out of all the tools that we have at our disposal?’” said Baker. “Cam (Wyatt) and Will (Hunter) are both really great singers, and great writers, so that adds a whole new approach to writing. But I pitch in for some writing as well, and Steve (Adubofuor) will pitch in for some lines he sings. So it’s all very collaborative.”
In fact, all four members of Kasador share writing credits on every song, a practice used by The Tragically Hip. Boris Baker is the son of Rob Baker, lead guitarist in The Hip, who also co-producer of Brood & Bloom along with Tragically Hip bassist Gord Sinclair and Graham Walsh of Holy F**k.
“Working with my dad and Gord Sinclair — they did a lot of pre-production working on songs and arrangements,” said Baker. “It was a lot of ‘Why are these the lyrics in that part of the song?’ or ‘Why don’t you go to a chorus right here?’ Then working with Graham Walsh, he was very much into tones, where we would spend hours getting the right bass sounds, the right drum sounds, and the right guitar tones. He also played keyboards on every song he produced.”
The band will be touring Ontario later in October, and are expecting to announce a December show in Kingston over the next few days. Tonight’s show at The Toucan, with other local favourites The Wilderness and Dan Taylor Band, was announced late this morning. The show starts at 9 pm and it’s first come first serve, with no cover charge.
A surprise gig at a small club, particularly The Toucan, before a new album comes out was another Tragically Hip trick in the 90s. But, while being the son of a Tragically Hip member comes with good musical blood and good advice, it doesn’t come with any handouts.
“We have had nothing handed to us,” said Baker. “I would like to think we’ve had to fight for everything we’ve done — getting signed by an agent and all these tours. We have definitely got a lot of good advice from them, like how to avoid making amateur mistakes, like, you know, streamlining your setup and tear down so that when you’re opening for a band, you don’t cut into their set. Just like stuff like that has been hammered into us before we had the opportunity to put it into action.”
With the album taking so long to produce, it was inevitable that certain changes would come. Band members came and went, singer Hunter lost his father, and the band toured relentlessly across Canada and the US.
“There were some struggles with mental health during the making of the album,” said Wyatt. “And Brood & Bloom [the opening track] is kind of like, ‘I’m going to be okay.’ And Undone [the closing track] is like, ‘I might not be okay.’ And it’s kind of recognizing that, especially with mental health, it can be a very cyclical thing. It’s not a linear path to being fine — there are cycles. So you will persevere through one thing, and then something else is going to come up and you’re going to have all those same shitty feelings. And then hopefully, you can get back to ‘I’m going to be okay,’ and, ‘I’m going to push through it.’ So that’s kind of like the idea between them being first and last — going through the cycle.”
Brood & Bloom is available tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 4, 2019) on Spotify, iTunes, and Deezer.