Current Swell tells a tale in Ulysses 

Victoria indie rockers perform at GO Fest

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - GO Fest bound The Victoria indie band performs at the Great Outdoors Festival on Saturday, March 16.
  • Photo submitted
  • GO Fest bound The Victoria indie band performs at the Great Outdoors Festival on Saturday, March 16.

Victoria indie band Current Swell will hit Whistler's GO Fest at the start of the summer festival season.

The band missed festival nirvana last year when its most recent album came out, a country-rock/trad-rock songfest called Ulysses, because the deadline for festivals that summer had passed while they were putting the finishing touches on it.

"It's going to be a good festival season this year. We're kind of catching up. It's crazy, there's a lot of strategy, you know?" says vocalist-guitarist Dave Long.

"There are a lot of live songs from that album that we play, which was part of the goal in the recording process — could this song or that song be a live staple?"

It is important to have a well-honed live style on an album because these days a band's bread and butter comes from touring and performing, he says.

"That is the way we looked at that record, for sure," adds Long.

"How do we make money? We make it live. We sell records, but we sell them at concerts and we sold more vinyl than we did CDs for Ulysses. Unless you have a single that's hot on the radio, that is how you do it."

It's an interesting conversation about the challenges for young musicians who are trying to build careers.

"I think a lot of bands are caught by whether they should cater to singles and new content. We are holding onto the way we structure our albums, but I think the musical landscape is shifting, like with DJs producing constant music and stuff," Long says.

"People still read things or listen to music but the way they are doing it is different."

Current Swell is part of the Great Outdoors Festival (GO Fest), performing free; they are onstage in Village Square on Saturday, May 16, at 7:30 p.m.

Formed in 2005, Current Swell has released five studio albums and won Vancouver's Peak Performance competition in 2011, with its $100,500 first prize.

The band has brought their music to the resort many times in the past, including with honourary Whistlerite, Australian musician Ash Grunwald.

"It was funny because we're playing in Whistler — a Canadian town — and it was just packed with Australians. And we come back the next time and all these people have gone home. The dynamic in Whistler is hilarious," Long says.

"Then we'll be in the U.K. and you meet somebody who says, 'I was at your show in Whistler!' You meet them all over the world but never back in Whistler."

After performing here, they will end up at the Squamish Valley Music Festival in August.

"We have a couple of weekends in the summer off, but it will be crazy — a lot of flying and tic-tac-toeing across North America," Long says.

"In the fall we'll push the club stuff and then in the winter we'll look at recording."

Long says they were convinced to rerecord an earlier single, "Young and Able," because their label thinks a new version of the single would help the band crack the U.S.

They are stepping into a Seattle studio just after the Whistler performance.

"It's a bit weird because we've been there already, but we are looking forward to it," he says.

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