By: Jenna Melanson
BC based musician, Drew Rouse has been all around, he has toured internationally, including the House of Blues in LA. He has released six albums and plays songs of many genres and styles. I had the chance to ask this multi-talented artist a series of questions about his background, his music and touring. Keep reading to find out much more about Drew Rouse.
When did you decide you wanted to pursue music as a career path?
I never really made a clear decision. It just evolved over the years. I play because I have to. I keep travelling around because I love to see the places and people I’ve met again and the music is my vehicle.
On your Facebook, the genre is specified as “Conscious Soul Music”, what exactly does this mean?
Someone somewhere called my music that long ago and I have tried to live up to it ever since. Music can bypass the usual constructs in our deep conditioning. So I try to write music that allows people to see deeper into the human condition and through the conditioning and constructs. I try to give a voice to the things I love that can’t speak to us in a the usual way. I try to verbalise/speak and create melodies and rhythms that give voice to these supernatural entities that in many ways can only speak to our souls. ie: forests, oceans, rivers, lakes, stream and their many and varied denizens. I try to offer a non-human centric perspective so that we might see our disconnection and reunite with the natural world again.
Who have been your main musical influences throughout your life?
Wild places and nature is my main influence always, but Neil Young, Bob Marley, Nusrat Ali Fateh Khan and alike have also resonated with me deeply.
Where do you tend to pull inspiration when writing?
Again it is the wilderness/wild places that truly inspire me, they more like fill me and the music comes from this overflow of prana/life force. Also, the many forms of Love inspire me. ie: Love of life, ancient forests, growing clean food, oceans, lakes, rivers, inlets, people, animals etc. As well as, the protection of our rights and freedoms and justice also inspires me. The right to clean water, air, soil and foods. The right to live freely doing no harm but also not allowing any harm be done.
Out of all the songs you’ve written, is there one that stands out to you?
Crystal Fountains is one. It appeals and speaks to our innate sense of peace and harmony. It’s melody and lyric poured out onto the guitar and page. I didn’t have to craft it much at all. These are the kind of songs I am always most proud of.
When can fans expect new music from you?
I’m always writing. Sometimes they just flow through and out. Other times I’m in the woodshed writing, shaping and reshaping tunes and lyrics. I try to put new stuff out every 6 months or so. I have 150 songs already and am still writing and trying to get them all recorded properly and out there.
You will heading out on tour around BC & AB later this month, what can fans expect from a live show?
This trio (Kyle Hagan on Bass, Big Dave Mason on drums) offers a huge sound, not necessarily loud, but big and mostly danceable. Kyle and Dave are big guys, both 6”4” and they know how to throw their weight around but also remain intimate. We will be moving effortlessly through a wide range of my repertoire with songs from all genre’s. Everything from classic Jazz styles to Roma Jazz/swing to classic rock, reggae, blues, soul and even some singer-songwriter style tunes etc. All original songs. I have lots to choose from and I’ll have the acoustic in tow too.
When will the rest of Canada be able to attend a Drew Rouse show?
I’m always on tour. I just did 4.5 months in Europe and will be in the Toronto area in early September hopefully. Truly I let the gigs/shows direct my movements. Being fiercely independent it is the fans and the venues that direct me… not some multinational corporation, manager, lawyer, PR firm or accountant. That’s why I call my tours “The Freedom To Roam” after the wildlife corridor concept for helping wildlife get over major highways etc. We are free to roam too, wherever people want us, we will do our best to be there and musically bring it on.
Looking back on all the shows you have done, what has been the most memorable? Why?
My most memorable performances are always small gatherings in intimate settings with friends or small groups of fans, usually outdoors. But playing in Paris recently was fantastic too. My nephew, Jonathan Barr, joined me on stage and that was a real pleasure. He can play with the best of them and he is writing some memorable tunes himself. The club L’improbable was awesome! It’s a local organic bar in the Le Marais part of Paris. Really cool vibe, awesome setting and organic local foods etc. As well Le Reservoir Club in Paris was memorable too. The owner had me sign the wall in her office. It was loaded with legends so I was honoured to do so. I remember long ago when they shut down Young St. because a riot broke out onto the street when I played the Gasworks. Wow, that was a scene!
Canadian Beats is all about Canadian music, who are your current favourite Canadian bands/ artists?
Just saw The Elliott Brood Band and they had great tone and a solid vibe. Gurpreet Chana (aka The Tabla Guy) has awesome grooves and is a dear friend. Gurpreet can be heard on a few of my tracks too. (Way Down and Kickin It). I also have been enjoying the Eastern European chops of maestro Lache the violinist in The Roma-Swing Ensemble out of Vancouver, B.C.
Here at Canadian Beats, we like to include a portion of questions that may help your fans learn something new about you, so here goes:
What was the last concert you attended as a fan?
I’m a big fan of the ultra-brilliant reggae band, Midnite from St. Croix. Wow! Amazingly transcendent lyrics and smooth grooves, but the last show I seen was The Elliott Brood Band a few days ago.
What song can you listen to over and over again?
Any of Bob Marley’s tunes and live Led Zeppelin.
What is your favourite music video of all time?
Live videos of classic bands or artists are my favourites.
What is your favourite summertime activity?
Hiking, camping, lake swimming… etc. in wild places in our super natural Canada!
Do you have any tattoos? If so, what are they?
A Tibetan knot, that’s it.
Last but not least, is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?
Thank you for your unbelievable support. It is the fans, friends and public that keeps this completely independent musician rolling. When invited, I will always be there and its always an honour and a blessing to perform!
I’m Jenna, and I am the founder and editor of Canadian Beats. I have had a strong love for Canadian music, which started many years ago. I have a passion for promoting these talented Canadian bands and artists, and that’s how Canadian Beats came to be. I am so proud of what it has become over the last few years, with many talented music lovers and writers coming together to spread the word of Canada’s music.