Interview with Last Ditch on the Left
Last Ditch on the Left is a Canadian roots duo from Winnipeg Manitoba with a magical sound with two very nice, honest and genuine talented people. They are both brilliant and accomplished musicians singing with beautiful, soft, warm, deep, voices and telling us stories from their hearts. So don’t miss the chance to see them perform.
Here is an interview just a little ahead of their Germany/Europe Tour this month…
-Tell us about the point in your life you decided to become a professional musician.
(Brent) It would’ve been a gradual realization, but the first hint that I can recall was after playing in a garage band for a few months. I was thirteen. We got to a point where we felt strong enough to open the garage door and ‚perform‘, if you could call it that. There was a feeling that came from that experience. It was terrifying and joyful all at once.
(Kerri) – I think I always assumed is never have the chance to become a professional musician, but I loved singing. When I was in college, my dad dropped off a guitar to me saying that him and my mom had thought that if I wanted to pursue music, that I should learn to back myself up. I played my first show about 5 months later. It wasn’t very good but that guitar made me realize that I could do this if I worked hard enough.
-How long have you known each other?
(Brent) We first met in 2003 but didn’t play a proper gig together until 2008.
(Kerri) – Brent and I have known each other for about 10ish years? That being said, I really only knew him in passing that long ago but I remember him as being the guy that had a mutual love for Patty Griffin.
-What artists were most influential to your career?
(Brent) It has changed plenty over the years but everything sticks somehow. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds; Tom Waits; The Band; The Pogues; Joe Strummer; Daniel Lanois; PJ Harvey; Howlin‘ Wolf; Johnny Cash; Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings; Willie Nelson. It’s hard to stop there but that may be the creme de la creme.
(Kerri) – Going with the above answer, Patty Griffin’s first solo album really shaped the type
of songwriter that I became. Since her, I have been introduced to numerous artists who inspire me on a daily basis. These range from Billy Holiday, Bing Crosby and Mario Lanza, to Nick Cave, Ryan Adams and Thunderbitch. I still run out the first day any new Patty Griffin album is released too
-What are your top favourite songs of all time?
(Brent) Love Letter : Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Ceremony : Joy Division/New Order
Picture in a Frame : Tom Waits
Tears of Rage : The Band
Stay (Faraway, So Close!) : U2
Home : Depeche Mode
In the Name of the Father : Gavin Friday & Maurice Seezer
Blank Frank : Brian Eno
The Last Gasp (Safty) : Gallon Drunk
How Soon is Now? : The Smiths
(Kerri) – this is a very difficult question. I don’t know what my all time favourite songs are. I think it would be easier for me to name my top 5 songs right now (in no particular order)
1. Dave Rawlings Machine – The Weekend
2. Glen Hansard – Winning Streak
3.Patty Griffin -Servant Of Love
4. Thunderbitch – Leather Jacket
5. Nick Cave – Jubilee Street
-You were on tour in Germany/Europe last year with singer Matt Epp, how did you like your experience?
(Brent) Loved it! We absolutely fell in love with Germany.
(Kerri) – I didn’t know what to expect to be honest. I’d never been out of North America before. I remember being so impressed by how many people spoke English. I remember German breakfasts, how much food there is and how everyone gathers around a table to enjoy it. There was a real sens of family there. We spent most of our time in Germany and absolutely fell in love with it. It was beautiful, the people were lovely and the tour itself, felt magical. Sharing that time with Matt Epp as well, brought the three of us even closer.
-What are the differences you noticed between your audiences in Canada and your audiences in Germany?
(Brent) It would appear that there is a different value placed on independent live music in Canada vs Germany. Big names have no trouble selling out the huge arenas and stadiums in Canada, but it’s shameful how small the crowds can be at many smaller Canadian venues right across the board. It’s as though finding an excuse not to go is the default. The people that do attend are equally as attentive and loyal as Germany; just less of them.
(Kerri) – well, for the most part, they listened. Haha. No, in Canada it depends on the type of venue you play in. In Germany, people seemed to invest in the songs, to focus on the lyrics and ask questions. They really wanted to understand the stories behind the songs. I loved that.
-As you were on Tour in Tübingen, you decided to get married. Was it planned? And why Tübingen?
(Brent) It was not at all planned. We’d played a show in Tübingen the week before. We both felt the time and place were perfect to do it our way. We knew we’d return a week later and have some time. Matt helped bring it all together!
(Kerri) – As I had mentioned before, there was a magical element to our tour and the night we arrived in Tübingen, I had a dream that B and I got married there at the castle and that Matt officiated it. Brent and I had been together a while but hadn’t planned to get married. I told him the dream and he told me that he had a similar thought. We were going back to Tübingen a week later and decided to do it then. Matt helped me shop for a dress and made me mimosas in the morning. He was our officiator, best man, maid of honour , photographer, DJ and someone that made the event incredibly special.
-What would you like people to feel when they walk out of the venue after your show?
(Brent) Raw. A touch vulnerable, perhaps. Spent, but awake. As though areas were tapped that needed a tap. Aware. Joyful. Kind of like how I feel after a show.
(Kerri) Personally, I would really like people to feel like they have connected with us. That they understand a bit of who we are and where we’ve come from and been through. I also hope they enjoy the music. 🙂
-What is your favourite song on your album and why?
(Brent) ’Pages‘. Because it’s a dark horse and I like underdogs. And it makes me cry sometimes. The content is personal and heavy.
(Kerri) – I’m always prone to the song ‚anjalee‘ – the story breaks my heart and I’m happy with the way it recorded.
-What are your 3 favourite things about Canada and about Germany?
(Brent and Kerri) Canada: Vast and varied landscapes, cultural diversity, and it’s the only country that can vote Harper out.
Germany: Environmental responsibility (ahem, Harper), far more structure and reliability than Canada, and it isn’t ruled by a dull, sorry dictator (ahem, Harper).
-Which things about Canada and about Germany could be improved?
(Brent and Kerri) Canada: Have you ever heard of Stephen Harper? It’s not just him (or maybe it is) but Canadian leadership panders to corporations. Many of them corrupt, in my view. We have become North America, the country. That system of governance marginalizes the weak even further and threatens all that had made Canada great. That system pits class against class. Our country’s leaders cheat, lie, and hide it all from those who make no effort to look. Our environmental efforts are laughable. Our foreign policy is cowardly and lacking transparency. And the beer is rather expensive.
Germany: Has made no effort to offer us free year round housing. That should change.
-What do you like the most about Winnipeg?
(Brent) The many forests and rivers hidden within the city. We can disappear into them and hide from all that we find unsavoury.
(Kerri) – Exploring the rivers here by bicycle. It’s very private and quiet. It tends to be a lovely place for us to go and reflect.
-You needed five years to create your CD. Now you released it at the end of last November.
What started to happen for you since then?
(Brent) It would seem that having product would give you some credibility (go figure). Booking shows at venues that would previously not have taken us seriously became possible. Some favourable reviews. Steady radio play. Festivals and concert series. We’re proud of our record and it’s necessary to have something to leave behind. We were here after all. The revenue doesn’t hurt either.
(Kerri) – it’s been a long time coming and I’m so happy with it. Working with David Baxter was a fantastic experience and the record will be a good indication of what people will hear when we are in Europe as it’ll be us and two acoustics. We’ve been lucky enough to be given some great opportunities since the record came out and we just toured Western Canada as an electric duo. (Brent – vocals/electric guitar) (Kerri – vocals/drums) so, next up, we need to keep working on the electric element and work towards our second release. We’ve got some big ideas for it.
– You created a blog https://walkamilewithldotl.wordpress.com/about/ a one year journey with ldotl, will you continue it?
(Brent) We plan to carry on with the blog, tho, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook give us plenty of social media options too. The blog has become something more intentional; the story has to be just right; so there’s good reason not to put it down just yet.
(Kerri) – we plan too. Just another way to document our travels.
–Your next projects?
(Brent) We have a concept album in mind. Four distinct seasons mark life in Winnipeg. We feel our identity as a duo is all over the place; like Winnipeg weather. We have many seeds to grow in our song catalogue. We want our next album to represent the diversity of our inspirations. To let us stretch out and let the songs take the wheel.
(Kerri) – working on a new album. Lots to do there.
Thank you so much Kerri and Brent and all the best!
Here are the tour dates for Europe 2015:
10/17 : Wohnzimmerkonzert : Idstein, DE (contact for details)
10/18 : Café ‘t Vereinshoes : Vaals, NL
10/19 : Wohnzimmerkonzert : Blieskastel, DE (private show)
10/21 : Tubinger Stift : Tübingen, DE
10/22 : Acoustic Nights : Solothurn, CH
10/23 : Kultur im Stuehlinger Souterrain : Freiburg, DE
10/24 : TBA : Duisburg, DE
10/25 : Wohnzimmerkonzert : Mulheim a.d. Ruhr, DE (contact for details)
10/28 : Glück und Selig : Hamburg, DE
10/29 : Erbse : Dillenburg, DE
10/30 : Hafen 2 Kulturzentrum : Offenbach am Main, DE
10/31 : Wohnzimmerkonzert : Reutlingen, DE (contact for details)