The Build-up To Crash Test Dummies: Adventure Man [Interview]
An Interview With Adventure Man
Fans of Crash Test Dummies went crazy last year when the band announced that they will be touring South Africa this year! And now it’s almost time for the Canadian rockers to arrive. The band has toured South Africa before, but this time, SA fans have the opportunity to enjoy a day-time picnic in both Cape Town and Pretoria, while jamming to the performance of this legendary band.
I caught up with Gad from Adventure Man, who will be opening for CTD in Pretoria, to chat about the show.
Reading through one of your bios somewhere on the Internet, you all seem so genuinely nice! That’s refreshing. What makes you, as a band, so happy and friendly?
Aw thanks! believe it comes down to subject matter. My songs are about things that make me happy, including my dogs, favourite movies, and mobile games I play. I am not able to be creative when I’m angry or sad, and that comes across in the material that I put out there.
It says that you sometimes perform a solo gig and sometimes you play as a band, how does that work?
The albums I have released so far were written mostly alone and worked on in the studio during recording, so all the arrangements and harmonies were finalised before the band even heard them. When I play more intimate shows, I play by myself, and it’s the rawest version of the songs. For larger shows I have the full band. My goal has never been to make the band sound exactly like the original recordings, but the sound is a lot fuller.
I see! I saw you perform back at Oppikoppi (I think 2 years ago), and loved your set! In what ways have you evolved since then?
The set at Oppikoppi was super fun! Since then, I have released one more album (Dog Daze) although I had played a few of those new songs at Oppi with the band. My brother (DDC) guested on the album, and often joins the band on stage, adding extra harmonies alongside me and my other singer Rebecca Taylor.
Okay, now it makes sense! So, last year you released DOG DAZE. I read a description that said of the album: “(it) contains odes to all of Gad’s creatures”. Just give me a little background around that album: is this an ode to dogs; who wrote the songs; who worked with you on it, etc.
Dog Daze was completed over a year and a half. It was initially inspired by a track I wrote about my pug Shaniqua in December 2015 (titled Sorry Shaniqua). It got me thinking of my other dogs and how they also would be perfect source material for new songs, and the album slowly came together. All the tracks were done at High Seas Studios with Jacques Du Plessis and Adrian Erasmus, both of whom contributed to a few of the songs, which were rewritten in the studio. I also had help from my brother (on tracks Bruno and My Basenji), friends in Grassy Spark (on Sublime), as well as Jon Shaban (Escape the Mall).
And how has the album been doing so far?
The response has been positive! Let’s Stay Home was the first single and got radio airplay, and the new single Phantom Babies is on the Top 40 on The Zone Radio in Cape Town at the moment.
You guys are performing at Crash Test Dummies’ show in Pretoria? Are you fans of the band? If so, what is it about their music that you like?
That is quite the understatement! I have been a massive fan of them since high school, and have not stopped listening since then. One thing I’ve always loved about their music is their choice of instruments. Benjamin Darvill played the harmonica and other random instruments, and they always had piano, accordion and banjo playing. The bass player Dan Roberts is in my opinion one of the most creative bassists I have heard, and often has more interesting melodies than other bands would ever come up with.
So, do all of you still get together to rehearse, and how will you prepare for this big show? And what can we expect from your set?
Since most of my shows are solo, we only get together to practice for bigger shows. I am about to record a brand-new song, so we will focus on getting that right to play live. My brother will also be joining us. Expect some tight harmonies!
How did you get on the line up?
Gareth Wilson, one of the founders of concert promotor Melos, knew that I was a massive fan, and made it his mission to get me on the bill. We came up with a campaign #gadshuffledhisfeet to build awareness for the show, and I recorded a live performance of I Think I’ll Disappear Now which we used to promote the show as well.
That’s amazing! Well done. And, since you are such a big fan, what’s your favourite song from Crash Test Dummies?
My favourite is When I Go Out With Artists. It’s a perfect blend of incredible melodies and pop culture references.
Finally, what’s in store for Adventure Man in 2018?
I am currently in the middle of a campaign called #10weeksofdogdaze on social media. Every week I focus on a track from the new album, speaking about the inspiration behind it. My friend and artist Pierre Marais (@thatlonehand on Instagram) has designed a cover for every track. Go check out the hashtag! I have a few more planned single releases, and I’m in the process of putting together a sit-down theatre show for the band.
Dog Days illustration by Pierre Marais (@thatlonehand on Instagram)
Pug photoshopping Gad