It’s about halfway through a noon-hour beer at the Big Rock Grill with three members of Calgary quartet All Hands on Jane when the topic arises of what the “elevator pitch” would be for the band and their sound.
There’s much umming and awwing between the trio of keys player Kaitlin Gibson, bassist Mackenzie (Mack) Meding and drummer Tess Graham, before Gibson pipes in with something that might be a good starting point.
“All girls, all guts, all your beer,” she says with a laugh, before clarifying that the gender of the four bandmates has never been an issue or an agenda that they’ve tried to push.
“We’re not really pushing anything. We’re pushing a party, that’s what we’re pushing.”
They and their fans and friends in the local rock community will have a good reason for one Saturday, Aug. 18 when they celebrate the release of The Janes’ new six-song EP Animal Worship.
Recorded at The Sound Priory Recording Studio, which Gibson owns with producer Kirill Telichev, who was behind the board for the sessions, it’s a big, beautiful, bluezy, bruiser of an album — slick, nasty, loud, greasy, intoxicating, dreamy and rock as fuhhhk.
It’s also, the band members think, as fully realized as things have been over the better part of The Janes’ almost decade-long history in the scene, through different incarnations and iterations, other EPs and releases.
“With The Janes it’s always been working towards that sound,” Graham acknowledges. “It’s not necessarily that as soon as Mack came that sound came to be, but I think it’s always been this organism that’s been growing towards that.”
Which is, again, what makes them so difficult to describe — the fact that there are so many elements in their makeup, so many different things you could focus on, so many stylistic influences that they draw from.
“There are so many elements that come together that make All Hands on Jane that it has been difficult for us to write bios because we don’t necessarily fit in a genre that exists right now,” Graham concedes. “We are happy being in that space because it makes us unique.”
It also means they can play with pretty much any act and for any audience, noting they’ve been embraced by the stoner rock camp, the straight-up indie rock crowd, the metal heads and more.
Perhaps the biggest driver of Janes, they all acknowledge, is guitarist and vocalist Teri Wagner, who brought in all but one of Animal’s tunes — groovy, keys-heavy MK Ultra was a Gibson special — and whose tastes lean towards the grungey side of the street, which accounts for flavours that recall such acts as Nirvana, L7, Cycle Sluts from Hell, Mudhoney and Hole.
The rest of the ingredients are filled in by the heavy-hitting Graham, who comes at things from the traditional rock camp (Zeppelin and Sabbath are quick reference checks), while Gibson gravitates to the poppier and more melodic sonics, and, Meding, the self-acknowledged “baby of the band,” who came onboard just before the album’s recording, likes that harder, metal elements in the music.
In fact, happy as she is to be a part of an act that’s really hitting its stride, she notes that she’d pull them in an even harder direction if she could.
“My favourite bands are ones that take, tastefully, different genres and put them together,” she says. “So you don’t need to be a full-on technical death metal band, but maybe we have a small section that is reminiscent of that, that would be cool. If you can do all of those things tastefully and artfully and not make it gimmicky, that would ultimately be an awesome sound.”
Meding may actually get her wish sooner rather than later.
True, they’re still excited by what they have with Animal Worship and are in full-on promo mode, they’re also already planning ahead, ready to build off of what they hint at with the new material, especially trippy, spacey yet bombastic closer Golden Eyes.
What that will be? They’re a little cagey about many of the specific details, but are hoping to attempt a concept record that’s a heavier listen, with a little more psychedelia thrown in.
“It’s gonna get weird,” Graham promises.
Yet it will still, without a doubt, be All Hands on Jane.
(Photo courtesy Matt Cookson.)
All Hands on Jane celebrate their new EP Animal Worship Saturday, Aug. 18 at Dickens Pub.