Mounties

Canadian supergroup Mounties sparks creative awakening

Hawksley Workman, Steve Bays and Ryan Dahle band together, yield unexpected results

A hodgepodge of musicians mingled backstage at a live taping of Q with Jian Ghomeshi in the run up to the 2009 Juno Awards. Among them Hot Hot Heat and Hawksley Workman, the latter unaware of just how much influence he had on the former and both unable to predict what kind of impact they would have on their futures.

Though there may be some dispute over the origin story behind Mounties (comprised of Workman, Hot Hot Heat’s Steve Bays and Ryan Dahle of Limblifter), this is where the seeds of that history were first sewn.

Steve Bays, the Victoria-born Hot Hot Heat frontman had discovered Workman’s (Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves at a formative time when he was experimenting with vocals for what would become Hot Hot Heat.

“I tried to convey the importance that record had on my life to him,” Bays says. “He just kept saying, ‘Don’t you feel like you invented a sound with Hot Hot Heat and everybody else stole it and became way more successful?’ He was obsessed with the fact that we weren’t more successful, which I guess was his way of giving a compliment.”

Regardless of whether or not their kudos were received, a connection was made over their similar sensibilities in the Canadian music industry.

“Most people don’t really talk about that,” says Bays. “It’s all about existentialism, sex drugs and rock ’n’ roll. He talked about it like he was going to be doing this for the rest of his life. I liked that he was a behind the scenes guy and a poet and a total weirdo. And he loves to drink wine and so do I.”

Bays, also one half of electronic yacht rock duo Fur Trade, producer and owner of private recording studio, Tugboat Pl., already had plenty on the go and wasn’t looking for another project. But when their friendship eventually led them to the studio together – with Bays set to produce Workman’s album and Dahle along for the session – their chemistry incited something else entirely. It started with what Bays describes as Workman’s initial “Jon Bonham-esque” beats on the drums during the first moments of their first session.

“I had no idea he was such a crazy drummer. I just started playing along on keys and Ryan started playing along on guitar. Before we knew it, we had started a whole new sound, for us at least. It just felt like a band.”

The majority of their debut record Trash Rock Legacy, released earlier this month, is excerpts from three sessions of jamming and enjoying life, beginning with that one in the summer of 2012.

“Ryan has his airstream in front of the studio, so we were hanging out in there, talking about ridiculous concepts. It just felt like a really artful experience.”

And a refreshing one, to which Bays attributes the creation of another Hot Hot Heat album, after working with the band since 1999 and tiring of the “rock machine” of dirty clubs and shady promoters, he says. Bays and Workman have since begun directing and producing video (beginning with a music video for The Mohrs) under the production name Antler and Power. With their creative partnership set and the sole live experience with Mounties to date (at last September’s Rifflandia) an extremely positive one, Bays is excited to engage in the machine once more.

“The entire existence of the band just felt like one big rock ’n’ roll party that I never expected to have at 35 years old.”

Mounties play an early show (doors at 7 p.m.) at Sugar Nightclub March 20 with Rich Aucoin and JPNS GIRLS. Tickets, $17.50, via Lyle’s Place Ditch Records and ticketweb.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Michael Friesen, 38, is a Caucasian man standing 6’1” and weighing approximately 220 pounds. (VicPD handout)
VicPD seeking man believed to be ‘actively evading police detection’

Michael Friesen wanted on an unendorsed warrant for various offences

A power outage is affecting over 1,500 people on the West Shore on the morning of Oct. 19. (BC Hydro)
Over 1,500 people without power due to early morning West Shore crash

Some delays on Sooke Road as BC Hydro crews repair damage

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Greater Victoria in high-demand on website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Saanich police are warning residents to be aware of a non-aggressive bear sighting in the 400-block of Haliburton Terrace. (Black Press Media file photo)
Non-aggressive bear spotted in Saanich neighbourhood

Saanich police advise residents to be aware of sighting in the 400-block of Haliburton Terrace

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control is warning customers of a confirmed case of COVID-19 on WestJet flight 195 from Calgary into Victoria on Oct. 11. Passengers seated between rows one and seven should self-minotor for symptoms for the next 14 days. (Black Press Media file photo)
Confirmed COVID case on WestJet flight day after previous exposure on same route

BCCDC warning passengers seated in rows one to seven on WestJet flight 195 on Oct. 11 into Victoria

In this photo provided by Shannon Kiss, smoke from the CalWood Fire billows, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, as seen from Gunbarrel, Colo. (Shannon Kiss via AP)
‘First guys out:’ Western Canadian air tanker fleet busy despite drop in wildfires

CEO believes wildfires have become more dangerous in recent years as people live closer to where they start

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
Fort St. John councillor Trevor Bolin (B.C. Conservative Party)
BC Conservatives leader fights back after BC Liberals leak 2018 workplace harassment case

Sexual harassment case was connected to employee being terminated, WorkSafeBC found

Employee Sophia Lovink shows off a bag of merchandise in Toronto on Thursday, June 11, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Canada gets C-average grade on 2nd year of cannabis legalization

Cannabis Council of Canada releases report card on federal government and legalization

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. suburbs could see increased demand for rental units as people work from home

Vancouver’s average monthly rent is the highest out of 35 cities across Canada

The BC Ferries vessel the Queen of Oak Bay. (News Bulletin file photo)
‘Buy a boat,’ Horgan advises anti-maskers on BC Ferries

NDP leader John Horgan talks COVID-19 misinformation

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada-USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Restrictions on non-essential travel between Canada and the United States are being extended until at least Nov. 21. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
Non-essential travel restrictions at Canada-U.S. border extended to at least Nov. 21

The restrictions do not apply to those providing essential services in either country

The BC Ferries vessel the Queen of Alberni. (News Bulletin file photo)
UPDATE: More sailings cancelled after ferry breaks down

Queen of Alberni out of commission, BC Ferries revises schedules

Jordan Naterer, 25, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. He planned a hike in the Manning Park area, and has not been seen since. Photo Facebook.
Family devastated as search for missing Manning Park hiker suspended

‘It was an extremely difficult meeting with the parents when we had to tell them.’

Most Read