Call & Response: Rock Plaza Central

Call & Response: Rock Plaza Central

Seven-piece roots band Rock Plaza Central might be Toronto's highest profile Americana band. Led by talented singer/songwriter Chris Eaton, they released their breakthrough album Are They Not Horses last year to much worldwide acclaim, signed to influential indie label Yep Roc Records and toured all over North America and beyond.

As they work on their much-anticipated follow up record, Rock Plaza Central are playing the summer festival circuit across Canada. They play The Theatre Centre this Friday night as part of Summerworks.

I spoke with band member Don Murray about all the attention they've been getting, how the new record is coming along, and (of course) the rain. Note: Don swore twice and edited himself both times. I thought that was hilarious.

Keep reading for the complete interview.

BlogTO: Why are you called Rock Plaza Central?

Don Murray: "100,000 Leagues Under My Nutsack" was already taken. Seriously, we saw a poster for these guys in Chicago - you can't make that @#$% up!

How did the band form?

Under duress from our parents to do something with our lives.

How has 2008 been treating you so far?

With love and understanding.

Your last record was a breakout success for you. What's it like touring across the US and Canada and seeing your fanbase grow?

It's like watching bread rise - takes a while but mmmm the smell of fresh baked bread!

Any crazy road stories yet this year?

We ran out of gas today - true story - you can't makes that @#$% up!

How has your success changed how you're making the new record? Do you feel any pressure to make an even better album? Has it been more or less fun recording this time around?

Well, more touring has meant less time to write, so the process this time was a little more from scratch - we've always done a lot of the writing in the studio, but this time even more so. We just really want to make a record that we like and it's been maybe a bit more fun this time just because we're taking more time - not rushing as much.

Are We Not Horses was a concept record. Will your next record also have a concept that connects all the songs? Is that always how you write?

Yes, and not always but seems so lately.

In terms of instrumentation - are your new songs headed in any new directions? Are there any new influences or inspirations for the band?

Chris got a banjo for Christmas which he's playing a lot. More guitars maybe. Because we took more time in the studio, the sound is maybe a bit more lush.

What do you like best about living in Toronto? What do you like least?

Best: the diversity of food and drink and music and people. Least: distance to salt water.

What do you think of the weather we've been having this summer? Where do you most like to enjoy the sunshine and where do you prefer to be when it's raining?

We just left the Regina Folk Festival where rain shut things down for a few hours - we were doing a workshop (jam) with this really fun band from England called Bellowhead and we had to stop after 15 minutes - bit of a drag, but the mainstage performances went on through the rain - it was great to see so many people not deterred by the weather. My favourite place in all types of weather is my front porch.

What can people expect to see/hear/feel at your show this Friday at Summerworks?

Beauty, peace and joy.

Rock Plaza Central, Evalyn Parry
as part of Summerworks Music Series
Friday, August 15
The Theatre Centre
1087 Queen Street West
Doors 8pm
$12 cover/$60 festival pass available at totix.ca

Call & Response is a series of weekly Q&A's with artists from or playing in Toronto. Photo: Sebastian Politowicz.


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