The Washboard Union are prepping their self-titled debut album for release, and these Vancouver alt-country ramblers could not be happier.
radiowrangler.com spoke with Dunner, one of the band’s lead vocalists and banjoist, about the Washboard Union‘s forthcoming release and plans for the rest of 2012.
Dunner is best known to Vancouver music fans as the Program Director of 99.3 FM The Fox. He says that he spends all his time away from the station working as a member of the Washboard Union. Dunner has been a country fan his entire life.
“I’ve always listened [to country music]. My dad played me enough Sons of the Pioneers and Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings as a kid to fill up a boat. My brother [Aaron Grain] and I were just played that music from early on, and it turned out our buddies loved it too. So we started playing together and just made it our own. [Country music] has just always been there.”
Dunner and Grain, as well as band members Sam Masterton, David Roberts, Craig McCaul, Matt Van Dyke, Scott Paulley and Dougal Bain Maclean make great music together. From electric guitars to stand-up bass to actual washboards, the Washboard Union combine their rootsy vibe with great songwriting.
“I think I’m a fan of great songwriting, first of all, and whether you find that in country or hip hop or you find that anywhere. We were all punk rock guys early on, and I think that the stories you find in those songs are the same great stories you find in country,” says Dunner.
The sense of community within the Washboard Union is something to be admired. The members were friends before starting the band, and that relationship is especially valued by Dunner. ”I’m lucky enough to have some of the best friends in the world. We just found out that we make really great music together. We’d be together anyways,” he says.
The Washboard Union is the band’s debut album. Recorded with producer Gggarth Richardson (Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers), Dunner says the entire experience was a dream come true.
“[Gggarth Richardson] hadn’t done an album like this before, he’d done a ton of rock artists over the years and had some incredibly successful records. He wanted to try this, he really liked our music. For us, as songwriters and musicians, it was an experience not a lot of us get to enjoy. It was absolutely incredible. He’s been a huge part of the band and the music that we make,” says Dunner.
“We did most of the Washboard Union record up at the Farm Studio in [Gibsons, British Columbia] with Gggarth and we did some of the album in Vancouver at Nimbus Studios as well.”
Richardson part-owns Nimbus School of Recording Arts and the studio space with award-winning producer Bob Ezrin (KISS, Pink Floyd). Ezrin recorded the song “Half Cree” with the Washboard Union, a song that is included on their debut album. Dunner says that Ezrin personally decided to work with the band after Richardson sent Ezrin a tape of some hot Vancouver bands.
The Washboard Union just played Canadian Music Week in Toronto and are preparing for a summer of record promoting and tour dates. ”We’re getting lined up for the summer. We’re going to be headlining Kelowna on Canada Day, we’re gonna be heading up to Merritt Mountainfest as well. We hope to have a very busy summer.”
Check out the Washboard Union‘s music video for “Lost and Found“ on radiowrangler.com
For full tour dates and news, check out the Washboard Union‘s official website.