The Unfortunates - 10 Questions Music Interview
The W.A M. Awards celebrate the year’s most outstanding independent artists from around the world in multiple genres and categories. "Best Song" and "Best Album" nominations were based on Artistry, Musicianship, Originality, Professionalism, Diversity, and Excellence. W.A.M. stands for We Are the Music Makers.' The Unfortunates self-titled album was the 2020 W.A.M. Award Winner for Best Rock Album.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
Tanner: Music grabbed me at a very young age and never let go. I wore out the lyric books of Our Lady Peace, Pearl Jam & Nirvana and just gravitated to being a songwriter. My Uncle is a great guitar player and taught me how to play, I wish I would have listened more! As soon as I had my own guitar the original songs started immediately and that part of me hasn't slowed down at all. Tim- I've always felt drawn to it, I identified as a writer as young age and the George Bush years made me a very angsty teen, with music as my escape.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career? The naming of our band. For years we went as Tanner Gordon or Tanner Gordon & His Band and as we became a more cohesive unit both in our performing, but also in our writing process it was time for a change. I (Tanner) went to Tim in the backroom of the retail store we both worked in at the time and just abruptly told him we had to give the band a proper name. For years tim had the name "TheUnfortunates" on his mind and even our logo to this day, but his band had broken up some years ago. When he said "The Unfortuantes" it was a fated moment as at that exact time I had been reading a book from the UK titled "TheUnfortunates". If you look at the album booklet for "We Talked Of Shadows" it resembles the book cover for "TheUnfortunates".
What has been the high point of your music path? We've been gifted with a very long career by band standards. Our standeout moments of our career are in no particular order- our first album in a studio with Stew Kirkwood "Calm Down This Is Only The End". Playing the famed venue "Starlite Room" in our hometown of Edmonton. Being named "Band Of The Month" by our largest local radio station (Sonic 102.9). Our first national tour in 2014. Our 200th show and 10 Year anniversary as a band in back to back years. Winning Album of the Year (W.A.M Awards)!
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like? There are two ways we have written in this band- 1. Tanner has a song that is mostly formed acoustically with words, Tim and the band then grab onto it and find where we all fit in the song and find our place in the sound. 2. We haven't jammed in a while and someone starts playing a riff randomly and we all go OK and while the band finds and places all the music parts, Tanner sits at the bar close to the band room, punches out the lyrics waiting to be written and the melody links together
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be? The biggest challenge for us has always been getting our music to a large enough audience. We have been notoriously bad at playing the game and instead focused all of our energy on the songwriting side of music. This has always put us starting from behind on getting big opportunities and airplay, but it has truly formed us into one of the most cohesive units in indie music and for a long time. If we could change anything it would be that music wins out, and live performances matter most, not who you know.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why? We'll answer this as living artist/band as our answers would probably be quite different otherwise. Tanner: Pearl Jam, from songwriting to live performances they have always been the gold standard for me. Tim: Foo Fighters, the Nirvana connection, we think we could rock with them and it would just be a great rock show.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show? Rehearsals are more loose, we warm up with a song we can always kick quickly into overdrive and then flow the evening as we feel, either working on new songs, rehashing old parts or kicking into something entirely new.
Preparing for a live show- We make a set list and practice it like there are a 10,000 people in our band space.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it! "Shadows" from "We Talked of Shadows" in 2011 because we were learning on how to make an arrangement for the song. Taking a step back, finding all the pieces we liked and then placing them in an order that had the biggest impact. That was a big step for us in finding our sound.
What's coming up in the future? First and foremost, we plan on getting back to live music as soon as the world allows us to do so and keep sharing the music we created for the album "TheUnfortunates". In typical Unfortunates fashion we will keep writing new songs, performing them live, perfecting them and then then recording another album we can be proud of years from now.
Tell us where fans can access your music?