Interview – Open Air

By: Amanda Hather

Open AIR is a five piece band from Calgary including Garrett Greenhall (guitar), Steve Lilley (guitar/backing vocals), Tyler Bourne (bass guitar/backing vocals), Steven Mansfield (vocals), and Josh Hearnden (drums/backing vocals). They combine a mix of newer rock influences such as The Sheepdogs and One Bad Son, with classic rock legends Led Zeppelin, The Who, KISS, and many more.

In celebration of their single “Snake Charmer” off of their latest EP ‘Extended Play’, Open AIR has an appearance at Canadian Music Week, which happens in May in Toronto. You can purchase the EP on iTunes.

Need to know more about this band? Well you’re in luck because we were able to have an email interview with them.

What inspired you to first start playing music?

Garrett: When I was thirteen years old, I bought Iron Maiden’s Powerslave album, and I was very inspired by the harmonized guitars and aggressive vocals.

What kind of things inspire you to write new songs?

Steven: Most of what I write comes from current events and emotions in my life. Sometimes I will write about fictional characters to express experiences I have not had. However, the emotions I feel are still expressed in these fantasies.

What is it like starting out as a newer Canadian artist?

Steve: It’s a constant learning process of what to do and what not to do. The western canadian music market is very hard to break out of. However, in this challenging environment, musicians are forced to be creative and think about what they’re doing on both the artistic and business side of things.The music industry is also constantly changing these days, and there are all kinds of new tools to use in social media. Open Air is always learning something new.

If you weren’t in music, what do you think you’d be doing?

Ty: I would be in Graphic Design and Concept Design. I have done the artwork for our albums, posters, and other media.

At CMW, there are a lot of different bands as artists from different genres and parts of the country. Who would you like to meet most during the week?

The Balconies. We saw them when they stopped by Calgary with The Rival Sons. They put on a wicked performance. We would love to meet them and play a show with them some day.

If you could tour with any band or artist, who would it be?

Josh: The Rival Sons. They are one of our biggest modern influences, and they have a huge fan base in the European market. Touring with them would be a whole new experience for us.

If someone hadn’t heard your music before, how would you describe it to them? What song would you suggest they listen to first?

We have a very 1970s classic hard rock-inspired sound with a modern twist. People should listen to our fan favourite, Preacher Man, to get a good idea of what we mean.

Out of all of your songs, which is your favourite to perform live?

Our yet-to-be-recorded epic, Traveler. You get both our light and heavy sides with this tune. It starts out as a slow ballad, and ends with a bang.

What’s coming up next for you?

Once we return from music week, we are excited to begin pre-production for our next album.

What was the first cd you bought?

Josh: AC/DC – Back In Black

Steven: Red Hot Chili Peppers – By The Way

Garrett: Deep Purple – Deepest Purple

Tyler: Oasis – What’s The Story Morning Glory

Steve: Billy Joel – Piano Man

Any guilty pleasures?

Garrett: Tegan & Sara

Josh: Limp Bizkit

Steven: Spice Girls

Tyler: Blink 182

Steve: Tiffany

Favourite ice cream flavour?

Garrett – cookie dough

Josh – cookies and cream

Steven – anything with hardening chocolate sauce

Tyler – mint soft ice cream

Steve – soft serve vanilla

“Go-to” Karaoke song?

Steven – Hey Jude – The Beatles

Josh – Bawitdaba – Kid Rock

Garrett – Seven Day Fool – Jully Black

Tyler – Freshman – Verve Pipe

Steve – Peace Sells – Megadeth

You’re stranded on a desert island. Name three things you’d want with you.

Ladies, Ladies, Ladies

Oddest habit?

Tyler: not looking at people while talking to them

Steven: trying to make the band laugh on stage

Garrett: making bird caw sounds on stage

Josh: drumming on anything and everything

Steve: snapping while walking (a lot)

Favourite past time?

Practicing our set and making our music as tight as it can be.

Any Canadian bands/artists you would recommend to your fans?

One Bad Son – we’ve had the honour of sharing the stage with these guys on a few occasions. They are nice and honest musicians, and their music deserves to be heard by all.

We’ll also mention some of our fellow Calgary bands. Just to name a few: Frankie McQueen, Throne Of Vengeance, Kingdom Of Few, and Zoo Lion

Top three places you’d like to travel?

Australia, Europe, and Japan on tour.

What is something your fans may not know about you?

Garrett: you wouldn’t know it from his figure, but he is a bottomless pit of cheeseburgers.

Josh has had his spine broken twice.

Steven used to play bass and sing in a Def Leppard cover band

Tyler is a huge Star Wars nerd

Steve recently finished school for sound engineering at Calgary’s Academy Of Production and a Recording Arts

 Is there anything you want to say for your fans?

Thank you for continuous love, support, and inspiration. Without you, we would be nothing.


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