SURREY — Corbin Murdoch and his bandmates say they’re thrilled to perform at what they consider to be one of the Lower Mainland’s most unique cultural spaces.
East Vancouver-based band The Nautical Miles has a gig booked next week at Centre Stage, the 200-seat theatre that doubles as council chambers at Surrey City Hall.
“That facility, I’ve watched it be built and grow into what it is,” said Murdoch, who for a time worked as an arts programmer for the Surrey school district.
“Surrey Civic Theatres is a great team and it’ll be a great sounding concert in there,” he continued. “We’re certainly interested in the space partly because of how unique it is. Everybody I talk to about the space is kind of wowed that people were forward-thinking enough to want to transform the council chambers into a cultural venue. In Vancouver, we hear a lot about the lack of cultural spaces, so it’s great to be kind of wowed by our suburban neighbours with a space like that.”
The seven-piece band will perform two full sets of music at the venue next Thursday evening (Nov. 5).
The Nautical Miles has grown in size and sonic diversity since the band was formed 10 years ago.
The original core quartet featured vocalist/guitarist Murdoch, guitar player Tim Tweedale, bassist Simon Rotheisler and drummer Lucas Shuller. Along the way, the men added vocalist Rachel Tetrault to the mix, and like to perform with the horn section of trumpeter Alison Gorman and trombonist Ellen Marple whenever they can. Drummer Brendan Krieg is also a frequent contributor to the band’s varied sounds.
The original band was particularly fond of creating folk-roots songs, Murdoch said, but that’s slowly changed over the past decade.
“The biggest change is that we’ve become less genred, less concerned with perhaps the overall sound of the band and fitting into any particular category,” he assessed.
“A lot of bands are experimenting and branching out, and I think that has a lot to do with people’s listening habits, given the volume and diversity of stuff that’s available for consumption out there,” Murdoch added. “That digitization of listening habits probably makes for more schizophrenic listening experiences. I hear it in some of the bands I love, that they’re experimenting a lot more.”
The Nautical Miles’ most recent record, 2014’s Ode to Joy, offers a boundary-pushing collection of sounds and stories that, in part, document Murdoch’s travels to arts and musical festivals in the Sahara Desert, Colombia and other parts of the world. For six months, he set out to discover how people of other countries made, produced and consumed art.
“That trip inspired (Ode to Joy), some of the ideas I was exposed to, and it sort of became a record about the future, just how people think differently about the future in different parts of the world,” Murdoch revealed. “Our view of the future can be a bit pessimistic here, and it doesn’t have to be that way, you know. We take it for granted that pessimism is kind of a default but I think there are parts of the world where people are feeling optimistic — not in a naive way but in a way that is motivating for them.”
Murdoch has begun writing songs for a new album, work on which will start after a fall/winter tour of soft-seater theatres around B.C.
“We do like work thematically, and those themes are brewing,” he said. “We have some preliminary ideas down but we’re still awhile off from a new release. And meanwhile, we’re doing a bunch of shows at arts centres like in Surrey, Revelstoke and Ashcroft Opera House. Those shows are a great way for us to access different audiences without straying too far from home, because there are some Nautical Miles babies now and we’re not the road warriors we once aspired to be.”
Tickets for The Nautical Miles’ concert at Centre Stage range from $23 to $28 via Tickets.Surrey.ca.