The Red Western Interview
Local alt-country darlings The Red Western are having a CD release party tonight for their debut album, Loves You after much anticipation. Though the band has been around since 2007, they’re just now releasing their first album. The party pops off tonight at Brillo Box with their friends, fellow Pgh bands Triggers and Grand Piano at $10PM. The cover is $7 and everyone in attendance will get a copy of their debut release while supplies last. I’ve been noticing this trend lately, and I must say, a great way to entice more people to come to your show is to leave them with something tangible. We had an opportunity to ask band mate Sean Soisson a few questions about what The Red Western is all about in terms of the local scene. Here’s what he had to say.
Kymbo Slice: Whose idea was it to start The Red Western? Have members been in other bands prior to this one?
Sean Soisson: The band formed in late summer 2007. Jay, our friend Mark, and I had been talking about starting another band shortly after I decided I was moving to Pittsburgh. Jay and Mark knew Lauren through some mutual friends and we got together and played a couple songs Jay and I had written over the previous few years. Jon joined the band as a drummer when mark left due to obligations with school and married life. After about a year, Jon moved to guitar and recruited Maunee to play drums. Maunee left at the end of last year. We then briefly had our friend Justin play drums before he moved to Portland in June. Sean Finn joined shortly thereafter, and here we are! I was in a band called The Kyle Sowashes (from Columbus, OH) and the Justin Andrew Band. Jay was in My Sexiest Mistake with our original drummer, Mark. Sean Finn was in Life In Bed and is currently in Brighten Heights. Jon was in Derek White and the Monophobics, Gems, and is currently in Satin Gum.
KS: Who are some of your favorite local bands to perform with? Local venues?
SS: That is a tough one to answer concisely. We have made a number of friends along the way and I am worried I might miss someone, but I will throw caution to the wind: Triggers, Grand Piano, Harlan Twins, Slow Reel, Mariage Blanc, New Shouts, City Dwelling Nature Seekers, Satin Gum, Delicious Pastries. We’ve been treated well and had a great time playing nearly everywhere we’ve played in town: Brillobox, The Smiling Moose, Club Cafe, Lava Lounge, Howler’s, Thunderbird, Garfield Artworks, 31st Street Pub, and Bloomfield Bridge Tavern.
KS: Name some of your influences. Who would your dream collaboration be with?
SS: Aside from punk rock and early-mid 90s indie rock, my formative influences are people like Smokey Robinson, Buddy Holly, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Otis Redding, The Lucksmiths, Magnetic Fields, Woody Guthrie, and Billy Bragg. I have been particularly fascinated by Billy Bragg ever since one of my teachers in high school gave me a cassette copy of “Back to Basics”. It was amazing to hear someone who was so rough around the edges write and play these songs that absolutely soared over those of his contemporaries. It seemed like he was capable of writing profoundly meaningful songs about any subject, political or personal. At the other end of the spectrum, I spent an unreasonable amount of time listening to Simon & Garfunkel. Their beautiful, meandering melodies and harmonies have a lot to do with why my songs sound the way they do.
KS: What are your goals as a band? Where do you see The Red Western in a few years?
SS: I can only speak for myself on this, but I feel like we have been pretty successful in the original goals for the band so far. We didn’t intend to start a country band. The idea was more “let’s write songs and see what comes out”. I know how trite it sounds to do the “we are constantly evolving” thing, but it is true that what we’ve been writing is different than what we have written in the past, and we like what we have been writing just as much as what we’ve written in the past. We have played a lot of shows with a lot of great bands. We have made a bunch of new friends along the way and have been thrilled to be a part of what’s been going on here in Pittsburgh. We recorded a record and we are finally ready to let people listen to it. I’m totally happy with the way things have gone, and as long as we are doing what we have been doing, I’m sure I will be happy with what happens in the future.
The City Paper also did a nice little write-up on The Red Western’s upcoming release party. Head on over to their bandcamp to listen to the album before the show! We wish the band nothing but the best in their future endeavors!