THE TREWS – Colin MacDonald: An Exclusive Metal Odyssey Interview
L to R: Jack Syperek, John-Angus MacDonald, Sean Dalton, Colin MacDonald
THE TREWS – Back on August 5th, 2011, I posted an album review for THE TREWS newly released studio album Hope & Ruin. The 4th full-length from this Canadian Rock band impressed me so much that I listened to it constantly since early Summer. Now that Winter has settled in, Hope & Ruin has never lost its edgy Rock luster with me. I have listened to many other Rock albums during 2011 and none seemed to enthuse me as the way this new album from THE TREWS has done.
THE TREWS seemed to have captured an old spirit of Rock that I once heard from early R.E.M. and U2, back when these two iconic bands really did care about their songs and fans. A flirtation of retro college radio meets modern Rock vibe overflows with Hope & Ruin. I simply love that. Back on August 18th, I did not fully realize, that this album would eventually stand out amongst the rest of its 2011 Rock album peers in such a special way for me.
It was also back on August 18th, when I had the golden opportunity to interview Colin MacDonald, the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for THE TREWS. As my sincere appreciation for Hope & Ruin grew stronger by the week, I eventually decided to savor the moment, an eventual moment when I would launch this exclusive interview with Colin MacDonald simultaneously with naming Hope & Ruin by THE TREWS… as Metal Odyssey’s 2011 Rock Album Of The Year.
If the late and legendary Ed Sullivan were to come back to life for just one day, I’d love to hear him say: Ladies and Gentlemen… THE TREWS! Instead, I’m announcing this band at this moment and I’m very proud to have had the opportunity to interview Colin MacDonald. From album reviews to opening for Robert Plant, here is what Colin had to say:
Stone: In the July (2011) issue of Classic Rock AOR Magazine, Hope & Ruin received a nine out of ten review. Taking a quote from this review: “Man, there isn’t a flawed track. Indeed, it’s one of those rare albums where every song could easily become a hit single. It’s rare feat for an album to be so consistently powerful.” How does this type of praise make you feel?
Colin: Awesome. It feels amazing. It’s like Sting had put it: “If you believe the good stuff, it doesn’t make you want to work as hard and if you believe the bad stuff, it only makes you work harder. It’s always great to be recognized for the work we do, especially by a big magazine like that.
Stone: On a personal level, which song on Hope & Ruin means the most to you?
Colin: I really like Hope & Ruin. This song really seems to take on a life of its own live.
Stone: In your music video for Hope & Ruin, there are many scenic backdrops. Where in the world was this footage shot?
Colin: It was shot in Toronto for the city. It was done on the coldest day on record too and I was really freezing out there while I was singing! We also went to the East Coast and Nova Scotia. We created a contrast of city, coast and countryside and it made for an amazing result with this video.
Watch and listen below to THE TREWS – Hope & Ruin, it is an incredible song!
Stone: With The Trews, which is written first, the music or the lyrics?
Colin: Always the music. We’ll come up with a riff, a melody, a little idea and work on it until it becomes a big idea. We take a melody idea and then a line comes with it. You then work your way back from there. I never try to over think the lyrics. I try to balance things out and let the lyrics compliment the song.
Stone: With The Trews being for all intents and purposes, family, what is it like for you guys to sit down, write and record music?
Colin: It’s the only way of life we’ve known for such a long time. I really don’t have anything else to compare it to. We are a tight group of guys. Sure, we have heated arguments, although they can simmer very quick. That’s what has kept us together for so long.
Stone: How important is it for a Rock band today, compared to a decade ago, in adapting to changes in how they promote themselves?
Colin: It’s really important. A band has to always garner new fans. It’s hands on now. There’s not a lot of mystique or mystery to promotion anymore. Our main priority is to always make good music. You must never lose sight in making music that the fans like. You must keep up the musical content. There’s twitter and facebook to reach out to the fans with. Those bands that keep all of this in mind will do well with the new model.
Stone: Is the record industry today more hope or more ruin?
Colin: It depends on who you ask. There are lots of bands getting through today that probably wouldn’t have decades ago, like, Mumford & Sons. Bands are selling out big venues, so that’s hope for sure. The days of signing big money record deals and getting big contracts up front are no more. So that’s ruin.
Stone: Which country has the toughest music market for The Trews to tap into and do you want to conquer that market?
Colin: Right now, we’re doing great in Australia and the UK. We’d like to get bigger in America because it’s close and easy to tour, so obviously we want to break into that market. Any band that are making good music and stays true to themselves will do well and that’s what we try to do.
Stone: What band or which musician would The Trews be honored to share the stage with, where you haven’t shared the stage with before?
Colin: We’d love to play with Neil Young. That would be awesome! We’d love to open for AC/DC. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. We’ve opened for The Stones. We’ve also opened for Robert Plant across Canada.
Stone: Where did you open for The Rolling Stones?
Colin: We opened for them in Toronto and Phoenix back in 2005. They were secret club gigs.
Stone: Where did you play with Robert Plant?
Colin: It was all across Canada for his entire tour here.
Stone: Is Robert Plant a nice guy?
Colin: Robert Plant is a super cool guy! He’s always interested in new music and never rests on his laurels. I find inspiration in that and it sticks with us. As a lead singer, Robert Plant is always moving forward and that’s a quality about him I admire most.
Stone: As a band, do you guys want to continue experimenting and maturing musically or have you reached a level of self-contentment of where you are now?
Colin: Never man. We keep pushing forward. We have more in us. There’s so much more music in us still and so much more to come. I still feel we have not made our best record yet.
Stone: Is there anything you’d like to tell your fans?
Colin: Thank you for supporting us and for so long! When the fans come out to see us live, it really means a lot to us.
* For more info on THE TREWS, click on the links below:
LONG LIVE THE TREWS.