Red Umbrella : 2006-04-03Erika and Randy Brandt enjoyed meeting another Canadian band to kick off their GMA interviews in Nashville the first week of April.
Erika: I just wanted to start out with a little more background about you. How long have you guys been together?
Jeremy: We've been together around four years. In the last two, we just signed with a record company called 7Spin Music, and they've really been helping us along.
Erika: So this is your first [project] with Sony?
Jeremy: Yeah, this is our first album.
Erika: How did you get the deal with Sony?
Jeremy: It's actually through 7Spin, the distribution and publishing... Sony BMG.
Randy: Let's go through and have each guy in the band introduce himself.
Kevin: I'm Kevin, and I play the bass.
Dennis: I'm Dennis, and I play keyboards and guitar.
Jeremy: I'm Jeremy, and I play guitar and sing.
Jason: I'm Jay, and I play the drums.
Randy: Somehow, I knew that was coming.
Erika: Dennis, you just got married recently didn't you?
Dennis: Yes. I got married about two months ago.
Dennis: It's going good, but I've been out on the road for most of it.
Erika: How recently did you move to Indiana?
Jason: About a month after Dennis got married, just at the start of this tour that we're on, which was around March 1st.
Erika: So the rest of you are all still living in Canada?
Dennis: Yeah, we're about two hours north of Toronto, Ontario.
Erika: I was wondering for each of you what song means the most to you and why.
Jeremy: I think lately, actually, the song we've been really enjoying and the one I talk about a little bit while we're on stage is called Slow Cab. It's the very last song on the album. And it's somewhat of a testimony of my own. The idea is that... well, I grew up in the church, but I found that some of the answers that had been given me weren't maybe the ones that people believed even themselves, and I found that I had to find the truth out myself before I could actually take Christianity for my own. So, I wrote this song about Jesus being a slow cab driver, in a sense, and if you can get in and allow Him to take us where he wants us to go, maybe not the speed or the direction, eventually He'll get us in that perfect place of faith. That's what that song is about.
Dennis: Well, Slow Cab has been the song that means a lot to us right now. On a spiritual level, I think Slow Cab's my favorite, but on just a sheerly musical and fun to play every night, I like the song called Home. Maybe because it's a piano-driven song, and I play the piano. But it's kind of Beatlesque, and I like that about it.
Erika: That was one of my favorites, too.
Kevin: I would say, I share the same thoughts as these guys; Slow Cab for my favorite spiritual one, spiritual meaning for me, and Home and Straight Jacket are probably my favorite ones to play live.
Jason: I don't think there's much more that I can add. We're all agreeing on the same ones, for the same reasons.
Randy: So, if you guys are in that much agreement, you're going to stay together for awhile then.
Randy: Have you played with some of the other Canadian bands from Ontario, like TFK, Hawk Nelson, or Manic Drive?
Kevin: Yeah, we've played with Hawk Nelson.
Dennis: We used to play with Hawk Nelson way back...
Jeremy: When they were called Swish.
Dennis: They used to be called Swish, and so we played a few shows together.
Randy: Were they still in high school back then?
Kevin: I think they were actually.
Dennis: So, we used to play with them a long time ago.
Jeremy: And we played with Thousand Foot Krutch once. That was a couple years ago.
Dennis: All these bands from Ontario that are seeing a lot of success.
Erika: Yeah, it's amazing.
Randy: We're interviewing Hawk later today; we know them pretty well because we interviewed them at their first GMA before anyone had heard of them. And I made the hockey connection with
Jason, who is an insane Calgary Flames fan. And then we've gotten to know Manic Drive, so we're interviewing them tomorrow.
Dennis: Oh, cool.
Randy: So, I always make sure I get the Canadian bands. Starfield is from my part of Manitoba.
Dennis: We have a great hockey connection. Our home town is called Parry Sound.
Randy: Bobby Orr!
Dennis: Bobby Orr.
Kevin: Most people don't know that.
Jeremy: That's the first person who knew that.
Dennis: Oh, you're a big hockey fan.
Randy: So, how big is Parry Sound?
Dennis: Parry Sound is 6,500 in the winter and in the summer it basically triples or quadruples just because of tourism and it's a huge cottaging area.
Randy: So is there a big Home of Bobby Orr sign?
Dennis: Oh, yeah. It's our claim to fame.
Randy: So, the songs on this one, were they mostly written over a several year period, or close to before this album?
Jeremy: Yeah, a year or two period. We had actually a demo before that that helped us get signed, then we used some of the songs and just rerecorded them for this album.
Randy: So, are you working on ideas for a new project now?
Jeremy: Yeah, we're starting to get excited about a new CD now. Now that we've just started to release this one; we've been playing all those songs for so long just because it takes awhile to get through the system.
Randy: We've run into a lot of bands; if it's their debut label one, by the time the CD hits, they're getting tired of the songs.
Dennis and Jeremy: Yeah.
Erika: So do you have any major tours coming up?
Jeremy: Well, we have some plans for some tours, but we just got off of the Rock, Hop, and Roll Tour that we've been playing for the last month around the Midwest.
Dennis: Once our album drops, we're doing a solo Red Umbrella tour, just promoting the album. So, we'll be mostly in the Midwest, I think, but that's what's in store for us. Then, who knows, I think we might try to hop on some tour in the fall.
Randy: So now you got the label deal, it stays Red Umbrella? I think the guys in Downhere thought you were changing your name.
Jeremy: Oh, umm...
Jason: I don't know where they would have heard that.
Jeremy: We were going to be label mates with them with Word a long time ago, and I think there was a band in Texas called Red Umbrella, and they probably stopped playing by now.
Dennis: Did you do an interview with those guys?
Randy: Not a formal one. We were just hanging out chatting. We've got the Saskatchewan connection. So are you playing any of the showcases this year?
Dennis: No, it's primarily just interviews. Today is all interviews and same with Wednesday. Tomorrow we're just hanging out with label mates. It should be good.
Randy: So how long have you been working with Mandy (Collinger) on promotion?
Jeremy: The last six months maybe.
Randy: I've worked with Mandy before at GMA, and she's great.
Dennis: Yeah she is; she's cool.
Randy: She works hard for her artists. One thing I want to ask all the artists: It is Gospel Music week, bands vary a lot in how they approach their music and their ministry, but what I was wondering is what do you see as how the gospel part ties in for your band? Youth ministry afterwards talking to kids or how do you see your role in all that?
Jeremy: I think right now our music is definitely geared towards an older audience, but we do play to a lot of youth groups. Depending on who we're playing for, we want to tailor the message to those specific people. When we play at colleges sometimes we just let the music speak for itself. Then we talk and hang around until everybody leaves. But at youth groups, you can gear it towards them. I think it's a matter of realizing you are playing in the church. I grew up in the church so I can understand a certain amount of the things that people go through. So as far as I was concerned, my personal testimony is the idea of growing up in the church, yet rejecting certain ideas, but then coming back to those same ideas. That's our message, but it's more for college age. But when you're talking to youth, you don't want to say I disbelieved in those things because it's maybe not the right time. It's just saying that I've come back to the faith and realized it is true. You can't really get too in depth sometimes.
Dennis: That pretty much sums it up for us.
Randy: Have you been mostly playing in Canada or touring in the US a lot?
Jeremy: We haven't been playing in Canada very much at all, except a couple shows.
Randy: So mostly on the road down here?
Jeremy and Dennis: Yeah.
Dennis: As far as Colorado goes, we've played Boulder, so that's pretty close to Denver.
Randy: Well, we go to church in Boulder.
Dennis: Oh, cool.
Randy: Yeah, we'll have to keep an eye on the tour schedule.
Dennis: We love coming to Colorado. It's great.
Kevin: It's my favorite state.
Randy: Yeah, it's a great place to live. Thanks guys.