Meet our June Artist of the Month, The New Electric! After working with producer Brian Howes to record their debut EP, we chatted with the band about their beginnings, their sound, and their upcoming ventures.
You just finished opening for Tyler Shaw, how was that?
Kyle McKearney: It was great, Tyler is a legend. He’s a gem, a really nice guy, super chill. We got to hang out quite a bit. We went out after the first show and we played Catchphrase at this bar. It was a bunch of friends and they had games there for some reason. We played Jenga, we played Catchphrase, it was fun.
How did the audience at these shows respond to you guys?
They were great. All-ages is always the best. It’s so fun playing for kids, it’s wonderful. They responded like you would expect them to. They were having a great time and screaming loud and lining up for photos and autographs. It was awesome.
Do you believe Calgary’s lacking when it comes to the all-ages department?
I’m not sure, for other artists. For us, we’ve never played an all-ages show here and they’re really important, especially for bands like ours because that’s our demographic, that’s who is into our band, is young people. I’m not sure if it’s a matter of the fact I haven’t been a part of any of the all-ages scene here or if there isn’t one.
And you just dropped a video for “Inside Out”. What was it like shooting that?
It was cold. Lots of ice, lots of snow. It was so fun though, we had a blast. It was fast and furious, we banged it out in two days. It was awesome working with Stuart [Brennan], the director and the guy who acted in it. He’s a UK Academy Award winning actor and director and he was awesome, he was so fun and he worked so hard and was so dedicated. It was really neat. It made us motivated and made us excited to go out there and freeze and jump around on the ice.
Your video played on Much, you’re opening for some well established artists in bigger venues, how does it feel to be in the position your band is currently in?
Lots of feelings come with it. It’s really exciting, first of all, because we’re getting to do new things we’ve never done and we’re getting to do things we’ve dreamed about as far as shows and when you see us up on Much, there’s nothing like it, it’s pretty cool. Radio has been really good to us as well. It’s very exciting and very humbling but it always makes you want to push forward, to see what’s next and what else can be accomplished.
How did you start playing music and when did you decide you wanted to pursue it as a career?
I started playing very young, my father is a musician, my grandfather is a musician. They brought me up in it, I was raised in the studio, I was literally born on the road with my dad’s band. I was always around it and really found my love for it when I was about 10, I started really practicing and really writing songs andlearning about it. As an actual career, I think I got really serious about the business side when I was a teenager.
Did you go to school for that or is it self taught?
No, it’s all experience and self taught. You just have to really seek it out. You see other bands when you’re a kid, and they have a trailer, van, a tour manager and they’re playing big stages, and you’re like, “I want that. How do I get that?” So you go out and you start figuring it out, asking people, and you start learning. That’s what I did, anyways.
How did The New Electric start?
The New Electric started in 2014. My brother and I started the band, we’ve been playing together our entire lives. We were in another band and it was doing pretty well, it got a bit of success. We just felt like it wasn’t a true interpretation of ourselves. So, we started writing again, and the stuff that was coming out was a lot different, so we had to rebrand it, rename it, and repackage the whole thing. In doing that, we decided we needed a new name. That’s how The New Electric came to be.
What are your thoughts on the state of Alberta music?
Alberta music is actually impressive this year, it’s been pretty cool. They’re starting a YYC music awards, the opening of the new King Eddie [National Music Centre] is gonna be a big deal. We had the Junos here, obviously, so that was a really cool thing in Calgary. I think we’re stronger than I’ve seen it, since I’ve lived here this year.
With not a lot of Calgary artists breaking into the mainstream, do you feel you have a responsibility to put Calgary on the map?
I’m definitely proud of this city, I’m proud to be from here, and we’re proud to say that we’re from here. We just want to represent the best that we can, and always try and influence people in a positive way and put a positive message out there. I think that’s a big part of this city and who we are as people, and what Calgary is all about. Don’t discard Joceyln Alice though, she’s from Calgary and she’s killing it too. She’s a friend of ours, we’ve toured with her before. It’s cool to see stuff like that happening.
Your debut EP was recorded in 2014 but has yet to be released. Is there a release date planned?
It’s coming out this year. We don’t have an exact date, but it’ll be fall of this year for sure.
Have you had any label interest?
Yeah, we’ve had lots. We’ve been courted, we’ve had offers, but it’s never been the right situation for us yet. I think it was because it’s never about money for us, it’s about relationships and people. It just takes time to develop relationships and trust people, and know who you really wanna work with. Sometimes when you’re thrown into those label situations, you don’t know any of the people that you’re gonna be working with. We’ve been in the scene for a couple years, we know all those people a lot better, and we’ve built relationships with quite a few people at all the different labels now. I would feel more comfortable in the near future looking at that again.
What kind of sound were you hoping for when you went in to record the EP?
We were developing at the time. We were switching from one sound to another, so we had some stuff that was more alternative and some stuff that was more pop, so we recorded both and figure out what we liked best and kinda went in that direction. It was definitely a development when we were in the studio, I don’t think we had an exact idea. We just wanted to go in and record all the songs we’d written to see what stuck. We’re really happy with what came out. What it sounds like to me - and it’s hard to hear your own music - but for me it has this Euro quality, and a bit of retro quality that I really like. I’d really like to keep in that vein, we have guitars in there, it’s kinda like pop-alt-rock I guess.
In your bio it said you were going for an Imagine Dragons, Maroon 5 type sound, is that kind of what you’re hoping for?
Yeah, well if you think about it, those are two really different sounding bands from each other. So yeah, kind of an amalgamation with the Euro flare - Robbie Williams would be a good example. Or that one song... “Somewhere Only We Know.” That was a great song by an artist in the UK, I can’t remember his name - everyone in the UK would be slapping me right now cause it was a big song there! I really wanted to go for that flare, and a bit of that rock and roll with a shaky voice like The Hives or The Vines. I love the UK flare.
Even though you recorded it two years ago, the direction you want to take the music hasn’t changed?
It develops, of course. I feel like lyrically, we have the same vibe and the same concept where we’re spreading love and positivity and connecting humans with each other - that’s what we’re all about. I’m not really sure what’s gonna happen with the sound, to be honest. I might be more inclined to put some more guitars in, and maybe a little more on the rock side, but we’ll see. I have a lot of people to fight with about that! We wanna do what our fans want too, we wanna make them happy. When you keep a framework and a structure that they’re comfortable with, it helps them engage with what you’re doing. We definitely have to keep that consistency. We know what we’re about more now than when we started. I think there will be a lot more conviction in our new recordings, and a lot more belief.
What does The New Electric have planned for the rest of the year?
I’m writing through June for new recordings, I’m gonna try and write 25 songs through all of June. I’m going down to LA to write some there as well as Canada. We are going to record some demos so we’ll probably be in the studio in September/October. We are going to tour in the fall, maybe even November, depending on what the tour looks like. That’s kind of the plan, and then we’ll have something new for next year.