Call & Response: The Rural Alberta Advantage

Call & Response: The Rural Alberta Advantage

Singer/songwriter Nils Edenloff made the move from Alberta to Toronto after University and formed The Rural Alberta Advantage, one of this city's best unsigned bands.

The RAA have finally released their debut record Hometowns. It's been a long time coming, but the band's profile has been raised considerably over the past year thanks to a lot of touring and drummer Paul Banwatt's other band Woodhands.

The RAA play the Pitter Patter Festival Thursday night as part of Classic Indie Albums Live Present: In The Aeroplane Over The Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel, one of Nils' favourite records. They will play their own set at 11pm, followed by the Neutral Milk Hotel tribute at midnight.

I spoke with Nils about his move to Toronto, the new record, and Tim Horton's.

Keep reading for the complete interview.

blogTO: I know you're from Alberta, but why are you called The Rural Alberta Advantage?

Nils Edenloff: Well it sort of helps to know that "The Alberta Advantage" is a marketing slogan used by the Alberta Government to remind you of the province's prosperity and to me its always conjured up images of the oil and gas industry. "The Rural Alberta Advantage" on the other hand is something that my brother tossed off randomly in an email, in reference to him going down to our family cabin. I guess the term really resonated with me because it seemed to remind me of all the beautiful memories that I had growing up in Alberta.

What other band names did you consider?

To be honest we never really considered any other band names.

How would you describe your sound using only one word?


What brought you to Toronto?

I was in my last semester at the University of Alberta, and sort of felt like I needed a change. At the time Edmonton didn't really have the music scene it has now and several of my friends had already made the move to Toronto. I'd visited it a couple of times and really enjoyed what it had to offer. I guess I really just wanted a new city to discover again.

How did you hook up with Amy and Paul?

Paul and Amy were playing together in another band, Clementine, with a friend of mine Kenneth Farrell. The four of us started hosting an open mic night at the Winchester on Parliament and that is sort of where Paul and I developed the core sound that we have now. Anyway - long story short, our open mic night forced the Winchester into bankruptcy and it's now a pleasant Tim Horton's.

What do you like best about living in TO?

I love its world classiness.

What do you like the least?

It's next to impossible to get a home cooked meal when your family is three provinces away.

Why is your debut record called Hometowns?

Well, we already had an EP floating around that was self-titled so we couldn't do that again. However, I guess when it really comes down to it every ones got a soft spot for the place where they grew up and it partly become engrained into who they are. A lot the songs on this record were drawn from memories I had growing up, which helped define the type of person I ended up being. I guess it just took leaving home to appreciate that.

How did you enjoy the process of making a full-length?

It definitely had its ups and downs and we learned a lot over the course of making it, but overall it was a lot of fun. I'm just happy that it's done.

What was the craziest thing that happened to you on your Eastern Canadian tour?

I wish I had some crazy stories to tell, overall it was just a lot of driving, bad weather and a near miss with a family of deer.

Has it been difficult sharing Paul with Woodhands?

To be honest we've been sharing Paul with one band or another from day one, its just something that you have to deal with when you have the chance to play with a drummer as amazing as Paul.

What can people expect at your Pitter Patter Festival show?

We'll finally be selling that new CD that we've been talking about for a year now.

Pitter Patter Festival presents: The Rural Alberta Advantage
(Band set and as part of Classic Indie Albums Live)
w/ Great Bloomers, Sister Suvi
The Drake Underground
1150 Queen Street West
Doors 8pm, $5 at door

Photo: Jeff Woods.

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