Chad Oliver and Ian Cameron are supping a pint and feeling conversational.
The two members of Ruckus Deluxe are excited about their new album, Crashing the Gate, the band's third after five years together.
The "Gate" is the Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub in Whistler Village, where Ruckus Deluxe holds court onstage more often than not, playing Celtic, pop and rock anthems, as well as their own music.
Crashing the Gate, all original tunes, is case in point.
"We both have studios in our houses and making music is something we're always doing," says Oliver.
That said, both know that livings are not made by albums alone these days. It's all about live shows.
"There's a huge reason why you see bands touring all the time. That is how they make their money. A really good friend of mine is Madonna's keyboard player and she goes out every other year, for a full year. New record or not," Oliver says.
Cameron adds: "With music streaming there isn't the same insurance compared to selling the actual, physical copies. You buy a CD and you buy all your listens up front, whereas now it's just a fraction of a cent for every listen. If someone doesn't like it, then you don't get that revenue stream."
Oliver is the driving force behind the band with "ideas flying off him 24/7," Cameron says.
"The trick is to catch the good ones!" he adds and both men laugh.
They were approached by owners of the Dubh Linn Gate and asked to cut the album.
Says Oliver: "They were franchising the place and thought of cutting a record of Irish music... I wasn't interested in cutting the Black Velvet Band because I thought they wanted Whiskey in the Jar and that kind of stuff, and I wasn't interested in that."
But when he said he wanted to write the music they agreed — with one proviso. The music had to be the kind of sound that would kill it live.
"It kicked us in the butt to write the album and it turned out great. It's amazing that to write an album of this kind of material it totally took me out of writing songs for the radio. What I wanted to know was whether it would work live," Oliver says.
He adds that songwriters often think in a formula that even these days is still based on radio play.
"You can pretend that pop artists aren't doing that, but everyone is thinking, 'Does the chorus land at 30 seconds? Where does the hook fall?'" he says.
"But with us we could test them out and if the crowd didn't like it, it wouldn't work."
Cameron adds that since they perform almost daily, they get huge benefit from seeing the immediate impact.
"We were just playing the après and Chad got on the mic and said, 'Here's a song I wrote yesterday, Ian hasn't heard it yet,'" Cameron laughs.
Luckily, they know each other's style well enough to pick it up as they go along. Cameron picked up his fiddle and got to know the new song very quickly.
As for the performance?
Oliver quips: "It worked!"
Both Oliver and Cameron have interesting musical pedigrees.
Singer-guitarist Oliver, a longtime musician with Cirque du Soleil, even credited his purple hair to the last shows he played with them.
"It was a specific purple and tied into the costume we were wearing," he explains.
And three years ago, fiddler Cameron ended up with a Grammy nomination thanks to his work with Singapore songwriter Arun Shenoy.
Oliver notes that along with the tightness that comes from being a performance band, the style of Celtic and Irish music finds fans all over.
There is also a tendency towards bringing country into the music and the pair has coined the term "Celtry" to describe the style.
"I'm maybe third generation (Irish). We're all kind of Irish, almost everyone came over from somewhere," Oliver.
Crashing the Gate is available on CD at the Dubh Linn Gate when Ruckus Deluxe is playing. It also available for download on iTunes.
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