« 51 Mark Farina | Main | 49 Sonnymoon »

50 Ryan Dahle of Limblifter & The Mounties

First of all thanks for taking the time to speak with us.  You're on your way to London to play Rum Runners on Saturday and we're very excited for it.  On April 7th, Limblifter releases "Pacific Milk", their first album in 11 years.  What emotions does this spark?

Every kind of emotion you can imagine. It's a lot of work making a record, and a lot of work releasing a record. Going out to promote it is an incredible mountain to climb, it's just constant work which never really super pays off, you just gotta do it with no questioning, no reasoning as to why your doing it, you just kind of do it.  

It's the first Limblifter record in 11 years. I released a solo record in 2009 which was gonna be a Limblifter record but it became too acoustic and too experimental, so it turned into a solo record. It was Megan my girlfriend (who's in Limblifter), the bass player and she sang and played clarinet and double bass and everything on the solo record. She also played on the third Limblifter record and she plays on "Pacific Milk" as well. She's sort of a driving force in the band and she said to me at some point during the solo record that their wasn't a demand for a Limblifter record, nobody's knocking on my door so I just had the freedom to do whatever I wanted to do. She said if you ever wanted to put your name on a record and call it a solo record this would be the one, this would be the music that would represent that, so that's kinda the reason we did it. And we didn't release it as a Limblifter record cause it didn't fit with the name. There are so many songs that were so acoustic and experimental and a bit different sounding.

There are songs that we still play now with Limblifter like "Chop Chop" is something that I still love playing that really sounds like us and there's a few others on the record like "Shutdown" and "Target Practice", which sound a bit like a Limblifter record as well.

Will there be anymore solo projects in the works sometime in the future?

Well I'm busy now with Limblifter and Mounties, two days after we release this record we're heading to Europe on tour with Mounties for 3 weeks. It's exciting having those 2 things on the go and it's more than enough to sort of keep me busy with my own music.

Plus I've built a studio over the last 10 years and I've started mastering records. I mastered the "Bellaclava" record which was the 2nd Limblifter record in 2000. Since then I've mastered about 300 records, so it's kind of been the main thing that I've been doing since 2000.  I started mastering friends of mines' records and I've always had a tape machine around.  Now I have a few tape machines and when I master records it goes to analog tape and through a bunch of old analog gear.  I've always been obsessed with new technology as well so I try to have the best converters possible and I've always loved the final step of the process because it's the hardest step to really complete. It's easy to start something, it's easy to just write a song or make a little recording but to actually finalize it and finish it has always been the biggest challenge for me so mastering has sort of been therapy for me, that way I kind of practiced finishing by mastering other people's records.

How do you describe the new record?

It's music, so it's diverse there's a lot of different kinds of songs.  Ever since we started this band there was something about us that was different than maybe anything that was out there.  There was a combination of clean guitars and really dirty guitars. In the 90's it was mostly just really dirty sounding guitars so I remember when we came out with this record people would just be astounded by how pop sounding it was for a rock record and how clean the guitars were for that. Now I think I've kinda built on that, I've always been trying to get sounds that don't sound like what traditionally the category of rock would have. Although there are examples of great clean guitar sounds in the Stones catalog or Chuck Berry or Buddy Holly and things like that. This record definitely is not a 90's record, it definitely sounds modern and influenced by a lot of modern things.

I probably listen to more new music than people half my age because I'm always around the studio and exposed to the best of each genre.  People are able to sift through what they love in their specific genres.  As a mastering engineer I don't judge it before I take it on.  I'm of the mind that if I'm gonna master a record I use a different name so it doesn't really represent my case, and I take on the challenge no matter what so it exposes me to lots of hip hop and country and everything in between that.

We are so pumped to see Limblifter touring again. We remember seeing your videos on MuchMusic like "Tinfoil", "Screwed it up", or even "Remote Control" (by Age of Electric).  What's it like 20 years later being on tour, playing those songs, and seeing people singing along?

I don't know, I mean I live in the moment and in the future, you know?  If I make a mistake I think about the next couple of bars.  I'm not really an ageist, I don't really look at people and think about their perception according to their age or what they may have been exposed to.  I wouldn't be playing a song if I don't feel like I can pull it off emotionally or spiritually.  There are some songs that we've tried to incorporate from the old catalogue that's kind of like "ahh I don't really feel that". Whether it's a sentiment, like it's too angry, or too whatever it is that day. But I am really surprised at the relevance of some of these songs.  Being able to play them and pull them off make it seem like it's not a nostalgia thing.  I love that people come out and feel nostalgia and they can leave their kid with the babysitter and remember when they were 21.  I don't mind if people are doing that but I'm not playing to people for that.  I'm playing to the people that are there in the moment.  It's really interesting how every single night that we play we talk to so many 20 year olds who just discovered us, or 26 year olds that were really in to "I/O" or people that were really into my solo record.  Luckily I've been in this position where when these records were released, people have dug them and they weren't maybe as popular as the first record because of the machine that was behind it and because of the momentum we had with everything that was going on. "Bellaclava", "I/O" and my solo record "Irrational Anthems" were popular with a lot of people.

My solo record is kinda the reason I'm in Mounties because Hawksley took notice of it and I think he realized I was still up to something, trying to break new ground. I think that record still sounds relevant today and it's from 2009.  It maybe sounds like a lot of things on the radio right now, a lot of things are more acoustic based on the radio and still kind of singer/songwriter. I'm not in that phase right now and maybe a little bit out of step with whats on the radio because I feel like playing loud right now.  So that's what I'm doing.

Speaking of the future, do you have any new artists that you're working with or listening to? 

Ya, there's so many! We just played with Jesse Creed who's called The Passenger.  We've been playing with tons of young talented bands. We play with great bands every night which is awesome, we just played with a band called Napalmpom from Calgary

So you've toured Canada tons, do you have a favourite venue to play?

I love The Commodore in Vancouver. There's probably a lot of venues that I love to play there's the Burton Cummings theatre in Winnipeg that I've played a few times that's incredible. There's probably other places I've been that would probably be my favourite if I played them, I know Massey Hall, I'd love to play there some day.  I did play Maple Leaf Gardens once with Age of Electric.

Thanks so much to Ryan Dahle for taking the time to speak with us.  Make sure you see Limblifter on this tour and support their new record Pacific Milk!