A rebirth for IRC 

WHO: Interstellar Root Cellar

WHERE: The Boot

WHEN: Monday, Sept. 10

After four years, Calgary funk rockers, Interstellar Root Cellar, have returned to the studio to produce their second recording. They use the term "studio" loosely, as the EP, Lo-Fi Love , was hammered out with just one mic in a garage. The resulting raw, old school flavour has drawn mixed reviews, but the band, and fans close to them, seem appreciative of the honesty and new direction of the album.

"We really weren’t nervous about the sound," says bassist Andy McAdam. "We really had nothing to lose. The disk can be just a fun, laid back thing if you want it to, and that’s what we wanted it to be. We wanted to release an album too, in a way that no one else would. Not too many people would go into a room with just one microphone and release that. It was a musical experiment."

IRC’s overall sound has been changing over the past few years. They wanted a shift from the stereotypical press they were drawing, labelled as a "funk band." Harder guitar riffs and more driving rhythms seem to fit well with the rough production, perhaps even a little reminiscent of the distortion-friendly, minimalist blues rock of the Funkadelics. The shift is a change from the live party reputation the quintet acquired early on, but one IRC doesn’t regret.

"You can’t please everybody, even if you were to spend $20,000 in a big studio. We knew some people would just get a kick out of it, some people would think it was a really cool idea and some people would detest it. But that didn’t affect our decision to do it that way," adds McAdam.

Lo-Fi Love really is just a gift to their fans who wanted some updated material while waiting for the full length album due out early next year. It has, after all, been close to four years since their self-titled debut. A four years full of tragedy and uncertainty for IRC.

In 1999, 29-year-old drummer, Denay Semkuley, took his own life. The loss sent shock waves through the band. IRC took a temporary hiatus to recover, during which time rumours flew that the band had permanently broken up. Although founding guitarist, Ryan Bourne, decided to retire, singer Howie Woiwod, saxophonist Andrew Blizzard, keyboardist/singer Darren Bourne and McAdam returned to their rehearsal space in Semkuley’s garage – the same garage in which they recorded Lo-Fi Love .

"The front cover of the new album is the garage of Denay’s house," explains McAdam. "Our keyboardist still lives there. The whole recording experience was a bit of closure on the old band," confides McAdam. "It was really cool. It was a good feeling. We love the new lineup (with Adam Esposito on drums and Bourne and Woiwod sharing guitar duties). It’s like a rebirth. We’ve been getting it together again. And lately there’s been hints of what the old band was getting to after being together for four years, artistically and just that general feeling. There were things that we had forgotten that are starting to happen again."

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