Following the release of their debut album Uncommon Good, Montreal natives Busty and the Bass head out on their North American tour throughout Canada and the United States. As a nine-person band, Busty have garnered much attention for their high energy performances that resonate with fans of all different ages.  

Before their performance at Maxwell’s Concerts & Events in Waterloo, ON Canada, GIGsoup had the pleasure to sit down with lead vocalists Alistair Blu and Nick Ferraro to discuss the band, their new album, and the tour. 

You guys have gained a lot of attention over the past few years with your two EP’s and now your album. But for those who don’t know you yet, can we get a little introduction on the band, where you’re from, and the type of music you play?  

Nick: We are Busty and the Busty and we’re from Montreal. And we’re just playing a bunch of music and we’re not caring really what it sounds like but we hope its good. And we’re trying to throw genre out the window a bit, and make a little bit of smorgasbord on stage and have some fun.  

You mentioned Montreal which is where you all met at McGill University during frosh week. I was curious about the formal schooling you received. Did you take any fundamentals or lessons from school and apply it to the band? 

Nick: It’s pretty separate. Music education, especially in universities, is just its own thing. And the biggest thing the school gave us is that we met each other.  

And I know you mentioned (in previous interviews) how Montreal is a city where you can experience a lot of growth as an artist.  

Nick: Ya we feel much more like Montreal artists than having anything to do with McGill. The city provided us an amazing space and we happen to just be lucky enough to meet somewhere like that, that the school provided.  

Alistair: You definitely take elements from what your teachers give you about your instruments and bringing it to the stage, but like Nick said it’s pretty separate in terms of what we do compared to what we were taught to do. 

But I know you had your first EP come out when you were in your fourth year. Did you ever have those moments where you doubted yourself in the band? Whether you can actually make it (as artists)? 

Nick: I mean we still do.  

Alistair: There is a constant doubt and insecurity…and that’s what musicians have.  

Nick: That’s what trying to be an artist is. If anything, when you start to do more it gets worst because it starts to become more serious and then you have more reasons to doubt and you have more expectations.  

Alistair: There are more expectations that can be shattered.  

That is to be expected, especially now as you release your first album, Uncommon Good. Speaking of which, I was curious about where you got the name (for the album)? And what inspirations did you have behind it? 

Nick: We were thinking sort of a community thing trying to talk about our music being multi-disciplinary and trying to bring a lot of different types of listeners together. And with our shows, try to bring a bunch of different types of people together at different ages that like different music. That’s a big thing for us. Just having our show as being generally accessible for anyone. And we started talking about this whole theme of commonality but then we realized that word wasn’t good enough because we’re doing something different. So, we just thought Uncommon Good because it’s not common. We’ll flip it a bit and call it uncommon and see what people think. 

And as we talked about before with your first EP coming out a few years ago, there was a significant gap between then and your album now. Did you approach the album differently than you would have approached your EP? And did you have new challenges or had to dig for new inspirations when creating the album?  

Alistair: I think that it is definitely a different process in terms of how we produced the album, how we wrote for it, because it happened over the span of about two and a half yearsSo, we were writing some of those songs while we were making our second EP and we kind of recorded our second EP ourselves and we were learning how to produce and learning how to engineer. And so, we did it in the basement of what we called the “Busty House” where four of the guys lived at the time, and then we did some things in the studio. But really for the album it was mostly a studio recording process with our producer at the time, and still our producer, Neal Pogue. 

And I did want lead into that (talking about Pogue), but I did quickly want to ask if anything memorable happened during the recording sessions that you can share 

Nick: We didn’t really have any of those moments. You always hear about a wacky tour story, but as far as a wacky studio story? Studio is kind of like this sanctuary where musicians are actually, I feel like, more boring than people think. If someone is like “oh I’m heading to the studio with this band,” and you’re like tagging along, like you’re bringing a friend, they’re always disappointed. Because they think it’s always a wild party. 

Alistair: It’s like recording the same line for like two and a half hours sitting on a couch. But it’s still fun. 

And as you just mentioned Neal Pogue who has worked with Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Whitney Houston…and many more. What was it like creating the album with him as he was bringing so much experience to a young group like yourselves.  

Nick: Sick! He’s just our guru in the studio you know.  

Alistair: Someone who you can look up to and have an outside opinion when a lot of our opinions can be conflicting or we overthink things a lot. And he can kind of bring an outside voice that will clear things up in our minds a little bit.  

Nick: And it’s cool because he’s relatively hands on in the big picture but he’s very hands off with the specifics as far as like, he’s not writing or anything like that. Because we have way too many ideas in the band, the nine of us, so he’s someone who can filter through that to manage and direct things and be the overall captain of the ship. But every internal piece is with us.  

You mentioned the writing process and actually one of my favourite songs on the album was Bad Trip. I really wanted to know what the story was behind the song? Can you actually share that story? 

Alistair: Uh, I don’t think so but we did have fun with that song.  

And Alistair, when I listen to you on the mic and how nostalgic it is with the 80’s – 90’s influences, was that how it was when you started out, or did that just develop over time? 

Alistair: I think it develops over time, definitely working with these guys. I mean we (Nick and I) started doing live singing and rapping before we started doing recording. So, it’s not like I started in the studio and to think like “oh now I want to be a throwback-like rapper.” But my flow is not what you hear on the mainstream a lot of the time. So, people could call it throwback but I don’t consider it that, I just consider it as just rapping. 

And now you guys are of course on tour for your album and you’re touring in a nine-person band. What it’s like travelling with nine people?  

Nick: A lot of people think it’s more hectic but I think it’s actually easier. We have a walk-in party wherever we go. You can like after soundcheck, go bowling with four of the guys or go get dinner in a different group. Like if I was in a three-piece band I’d go insane. 

Alistair: You’d probably get more sick of people. Like you can hang out with individuals or smaller groups and have your own thing going on for a little and then move on to another group.  

I recall in a previous interview that you mentioned the band having a D.I.Y. model (do it yourself). You have members taking on roles outside of just being part of the band. I was curious about who the parent(s) are in your group?  

Nick: Milo does a lot of “dadding.” We’ll all put on the hat every once in a while, when we have to, but Milo wears the dad pants most of the time.  

Alistair: He’s also our tour manager when we don’t hire one.  

Nick: Ya, we like keeping it all in the house. It’s crazy how so many artists right now start making the slightest bit of money and you just start spending it, bringing in all these other people on the road. I mean, I guess most people also make more money than we do because they’re not touring with nine people, but we realize like “okay, let’s use our size to our advantage,” and then were not that nine-piece touring band, we’re like the nine-piece team coming on tour. Which a lot of three-piece acts tour with nine people, but we’re the nine-piece team. 

Did you have any favourite things about touring so far? And what’s your least favourite things? 

Nick: The only thing I don’t like is that it’s cold. 

Alistair: We’re playing new music for people. Not having our same set anymore.  

Nick: Ya it’s really cool. When we release new music, and hitting up the new spots and hearing people sing along is wild too. 

When you’re on stage, you not only want play songs from your new album, you like to go back and play other songs. Is there one that you like to play at the climax of your show? 

Alistair: I don’t think so. We have a lot of them.  

Nick: Our music is high energy. I think for us more than any specific song, it’s the arc of the set. That’s kinda how we like to plan it.  

To wrap things up, I would like to say thank you and I hope you can let the audience know where you guys are taking your tour next, what you have planned in the future, and where they can get hold of your new album.  

Nick: The new album “Uncommon Good” is out everywhere; everywhere that I’ve heard of. We’re Busty and the Bass and we’re finishing up Ontario right now for the tour and then we’re going to be going down to the States, taking time off for the holidays, and we’re going to be in the U.S. for most of the winter and then hopefully make some new recordings soon because we’re just itching to get back in the studio. So, keep your ears and eyes open. 

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Uncommon Good is out now on Indica Records