Today our Spotlight – Andre Pettipas and The Giants. We got to spend little time chatting about the band and their music. The new album No Fools No Fun just dropped and what a good release. Check out our convo right now!
What got you started in music?
I’ve always had a knack for entertaining and loved music for as long as I can remember. My first memory of wanting a career in music came early at age 6 or 7, the first time I heard Our Lady Peace’s, Clumsy album. My older sister had it playing at our house, and it totally captured my attention. I give her a lot of credit for my musical taste; her and the ol’ Columbia house 12 cds for 1 cent deal, haha!
Who were some major influences on your sound growing up? Who are some influences that fans would be surprised about?
- Some of my major influences include Blind Melon, Our Lady Peace, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, GNR, and Petty and The Beatles to name a few. I’ve been an avid listener since I was young; a fan of huge choruses and songs that gave you hooks but were not overproduced and could excite you as much as the first time you listened to the track.
Some influences that may surprise first time listeners would be Eminem, Shania Twain and any doo-wop music (basically anything harmony driven.) I remember hearing “My Name Is” on my local radio station when I was a kid and being obsessed with the song requesting it every night on their request show. I got to see him back in ‘09 and it’s way up there in my favourite concert list.
You are based out of Nova Scotia, but have you always called the Maritimes home?
I’ve spent the majority of my life in Nova Scotia minus a couple years living in Alberta in 2013/2014. I was on the road working as a sheet metal worker and doing music on weekends in Alberta venues. Our song, “Long Way From Home” ft. Ashley MacIsaac off of our first album was based on my time spent living away from N.S.
What is it about Nova Scotia that you love so much?
I’m a country boy, I grew up on a dirt road that had 30 people living on the road. The peaceful living is what I love about it the most. Being able to step back from the chaos of being in Cities is something that I’ll never take for granted. Also being able to see the ocean basically everywhere you go is something that I’ve always appreciated. No matter where I travel in the world, I will always be proud to call N.S home.
Your last album came out about 5 years ago. How do you think you’ve grown as artists in that time?
The last album we began recording in studio a day after our first rehearsal. This time around we’ve spent almost three years growing the songs and finding OUR sound. We really took the time to craft each part to make it fresh and exciting. We’ve all spent a lot of time in our home studios working on recording technique and preferences so that definitely helped us become more in-tune with our music as well. Our understanding of the industry has grown immensely as we’ve toured in unfamiliar territory and had to adjust and problem solve more than we sometimes want to, haha! We have been soaking in any and all advice good or bad from our mentors over the years so all of these experiences have helped our growth immensely.
Your new single “Homesick” dropped recently and has been widely loved. Tell us a bit about it, and the extra special guest featured?
“Homesick” is one of our favourite songs to perform live. It has been a fan favourite since we’ve started performing it. Our producer, Brian Moncarz said from the very beginning that this was going to be a big song for us because it is relatable, and it hits hard emotionally. The chorus was written on a cold/slow Tuesday night after a show in Western Canada back in 2018. We were 5000km from home and knew that we would have to work harder to get better results. I’ve spent a lot of time on the road as a Sheet Metal Worker too so that feeling is all too familiar; then COVID hit us and the homesick feeling of missing your “normal” such as going to concerts and hanging with friends was amplified.
When we finished tracking the song in the studio, Brian and I were chatting about how cool a slide guitar part would be. He then mentioned that he met Christopher Thorn the year before at a music conference. He said he would send the song to him to see if he’d be interested in playing on it. Obviously, I was excited off the cuff but wasn’t holding my breath because I didn’t dream in a million years that we’d have the guitarist in my favourite band playing in our biggest song to date. When we got the part back from Christopher it was better than I had imagined. His part was insanely well crafted with tons of character. The perfect psych rock influence for this power ballad.
You upcoming album No Fools No Fun, drops early July, what can fans new and tenured expect?
With No Fools No Fun we used a lot of resources we’ve made throughout our musical journey. We set out to record an album that represented our live performances and we couldn’t be happier with the end product. It was recorded live-off-the-floor like all of our favourite old records were done. We wanted to put an album out that was fun and entertaining and we didn’t want something stagnant or generic. We wanted to straddle the line between showboat and shipwreck. Our personality got to shine with the help of Brian’s guidance and production.
Not one time throughout the process did he take us out of our element. He encouraged us to give that extra little bit. On this album we let laughs, screams, hand claps, and snaps shine while being well rehearsed as a core to get the performance nailed down. For the people that have been following since day one we’re excited to show them a product as close to the feeling of our live show. For new fans we introduce to you four friends who never gave up on a dream and worked endlessly to put out an exciting record that we can be proud of forever.
What was it like recording during the pandemic, and not being able to test out songs during live performances?
We actually had the whole album finished before the pandemic was a thing. Our initial release date was in Spring of 2020. We had a few dates with Buckcherry lined up before we were supposed to head to Canadian Music Week and continue by touring across the Country, but the pandemic put a hold on that. There’s a lyric in the final track on the album that says, “Nothing is set in stone so keep on building” so naturally we had to take our own advice and spent the pandemic becoming a more interactive band.
We did band Q and As and weekly live streams while getting to know our fan base a little better. Also, we spent the time networking and building our team so that when the time to release came around we would be more prepared. We wanted to coincide the release with our live show so that’s why we held off on it. With the world opening back up we couldn’t be more excited to finally let our labor of love out into the world.
You are one of the first bands so far to announce a decent sized tour post Covid, what are live shows like from you?
We take pride in our live show because it is one thing that has been consistent with us since day one. We like to entertain and be a little “extra.” This is where “No Fools No Fun” stemmed from. We’re a work hard, play hard kind of band and the moment we hit the stage we know that all the overtime hours we put into our craft is worth it because we get to perform the songs we wrote with our best friends; all the while getting to connect with our amazing fans new and old each and every night. We want the crowd to forget about life’s rat race and live in the moment with the people around them.
This album has some heavy hitters that have produced along with yourselves – members of The Arkells, The Trews and more. Is it more empowering or daunting to work with such veterans of the scene?
It’s a privilege to work with such talented people. I’m like a sponge when it comes to anything musical; willing to soak up any advice/tips and tricks that others share.
What was it like working with them?
People like John Angus and Max have been nothing but amazing helping the growth of our band. Back in 2016 I won the Arkells, “Leather Jacket” cover contest video. That’s where the relationship with him was developed. Over the years I’ve reached out to him to share news of the band or ask for advice. He has always been quick to reply with nothing but good ideas or propositions. I caught the Arkells during their single release of, “Oh! The Boss is Coming” way back in the day and knew they had something special. Max’s charisma on stage is something I’ve always admired. Those guys are the definition of hard work.
The Trews have been one of my favourites for as long as I can remember. They grew up in our hometown of Antigonish County so it was special to know that a band from a small place could do big things. I’ve seen countless Trews concerts over the years and got to open for them a few years back when our good friend and promoter, Derek Forsyth gave us the opportunity.
I reached out to J.A when in Toronto for CMW a couple years back and asked if he’d be up for producing a track. He was in right off the top and after sending him the tracks he went with “Sympathy Card” which he said was a Zeppelin mixed with CCR vibe. When it came to working the song out in the studio, we stripped in down to three chords and a whole lot of emotion. The knowledge and music ability that guy has is next level. We owe a lot of thanks to him for his work with us. “Sympathy Card”, the track he produced got us our first charting song on Billboard.
2020 you had to cancel your tour. What was that like as an artist to cancel on venues, and fans- something that attendees don’t see and experience?
To be 100% honest it was devastating for the first few months. The year of planning, late hours working after the day job ends to set up the shows, interviews etc just down the drain, ha! I knew we had to flip the switch and get back to work. because playing that “Sympathy Card” wasn’t going to get us anywhere close to where we wanted to be. When things don’t go as planned you can either fold under pressure or use it as fuel to dig deep and find a solution. We chose to keep the positive vibe alive and work on new ways to keep views (and ourselves) entertained.
Pivoting over to online shows was the mainstay for most. What is your opinion on doing online shows?
Online shows really helped me stay rehearsed and connected during the pandemic. I knew I had a weekly show to do so it kept me in line with practice. It also helped us engage with our fan base making a better connection chatting with all the amazing people that have supported us on our journey. The strangest part about them is not hearing any noise when a song finishes or the end of the night being so quiet (no chatting after shows etc.) That was definitely the part that didn’t sit so well for me.
Do you think that online shows are going to remain a mainstay? Or do you think they are an over saturation of the market?
I think online shows are great and I’ve seen so many bands live or die by them over the pandemic. You saw the people who took their art seriously then others who went radio silent for a year. I think that passion speaks for itself and the entertainers that kept busy anyway they could is admirable. They serve a purpose but for me, in person concerts always win.
What is one thing you wish that people knew about you?
I was born to entertain. Seeing people light up with excitement is probably my favourite thing in the world. It saddens me to see people upset and frustrated with life’s inevitable ups and downs. That’s the reason why I keep pushing the musical envelope. We strive to be the good guys of rock n’ roll. We want to be positive role models for younger generation of musicians. A lot of my heroes have went out in horrifying ways. I want to spark a new agenda in the rock n’ roll world to lift each other up and build a community of understanding people growing together.
Lastly, as our favourite independent and smaller businesses have been hit hard this Covid season. What are some of your local favorite places to hype up and give a shout out to?
I’m a huge fan of local breweries and distilleries. A couple places that we play come to mind. First one is Firkinstein Brewing in Bridgewater. We collaborated for a beer release on our current single “Homesick.” They focus on live music and awesome craft beers. Another is Steinhart Distillery just outside of our hometown where we’re having our album release party. We shot a music video there for, “Rubber Arm” a few years back. Thomas, the owner also sponsored one of our live streams over the winter. The place has a great vibe and awesome staff…plus their alcohol is amazing, haha.
Spotlight – Andre Pettipas and The Giants is a wrap! Big thanks for taking the time to chat with us
Check out Homesick now!
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