Altameda continues to authentically grow after new album and international touring
Edmonton-based band Altameda plays at The Gateway on Friday Nov. 29th. I spoke with frontman Troy Snaterse about their album Time Hasn’t Changed You and how the four-piece folk-rock group has found success after two studio albums.
Altameda has opened for, and toured with, bands such as The Trews, The Sheepdogs, and the Nightbeats. Following a few Canadian tours and an appearance at SXSW, they spent time in Germany for a few unforgettable weeks.
You guys are on a short tour break after being on the road a lot since your first album, Dirty Rain. Where all have you been?
“Yeah, it has been really busy. We love touring but we are kind of excited to take a break and focus on the new album. These weekend trips to Vancouver/Victoria, Edmonton/Calgary, and Winnipeg/Saskatoon have been perfect. We have a show next week in Cadillac, SK and those small-town shows are always super interesting and fun.
SXSW was super fun, for sure. It was out first time out there and it was incredible. Germany was awesome as well, it is the promised land for touring bands. The hospitality is insane and people have a whole different respect for live music.”
Where did you go in Germany?
“We played a festival in Dresden, then we were in Berlin, Hamburg, Ostendorf, Dusseldorf, you know, all the ‘dorfs’. It was great, people were super receptive, most nights we had double encores – it was amazing.”
I thought the German Rolling Stone review of the new album was pretty dope. What was it like to see your guys’ names in such an iconic magazine?
“Yeah, we were working with a press guy and he got us the review in the magazine out there. I did some radio interviews with stations similar to CBC or BBC, that was great and helped us out. It was so exciting to see ourselves in Rolling Stone, though. It was cool to be in their store and I bought a few copies, of course. It was pretty surreal.”
We see so many other Canadian bands survive and find success because they tour so hard. Why is it so important for Canadian bands, or up-and-coming bands in general, to focus on touring?
“Especially being from Edmonton, it is sort of a necessity. It isn’t a cultural hub and there isn’t a bunch of agents or labels based out of Edmonton or anything like that. I think if that’s something that a band is hungry for – to get out there and see how far they can take it – I think it is essential to get on the road. When you show up in other cities it doesn’t really matter where you’re from. You just exist within the realm of other touring acts.”
I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up your previous band, Stepmothers. You seemed to match the energy of a punk band so perfectly, but you have also been able to translate that energy to Altameda. Is that just something that intrinsically comes through in performance and writing or is it something you’re conscious of?
I think that just from years of playing in punk or hardcore bands mixed with doing some projects on my own that are a little more mellow. I wanted this project to be able to combine the two. In order for a band to become your favourite band, they should be the soundtrack to any mood that you’re in. That was the vision for this project.
I feel like if you’re putting out that high-energy it is usually reciprocated by the crowd. People who maybe don’t go to punk shows or experience that energy often are surprised at our shows and hopefully we expose them to that energy. We try be as dynamic as possible.”
Altameda played a show with Dan Mangan recently in Red Deer. He is a pretty dynamic performer. Do you see that type of presence in Altameda?
“Yeah that was awesome, actually. Admittedly, I was not super familiar with his tunes but watching him live – I have so much respect for what he does. People were hanging on his every word and obviously they resonate a lot with what he does. It was super inspiring to watch. That is the interesting thing and what we are leaning towards with the new album – finding that energy without necessarily having to be ‘balls to the wall’ loud. Even though that definitely has its place I think there are more dynamic ways to make people feel that and it can be even more effective.”
I’ve described you guys as somewhat Springsteen-esque, but you have been labelled as folk, country, Americana rock, with a Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young or Tom petty influence. How do you describe your guys’ sound and what are some of your influences?
“I think that we are fans are all of those bands and those influences seep into all of our music. Our goal is to make emotional songs that people connect to no matter what umbrella-genre we fall under, whether it be rock and roll, folk, or whatever. Any way we can deliver that – that is our intention.”
Your most recent album, Time Hasn’t Changed You, is coming up on a year of being released. It was produced by Aaron Goldstein who has worked with City & Colour and Daniel Romano, amongst others. Are you happy with the album a year later and how it has been received?
“Yeah, I mean we got to do some really cool things this year and expanded our audience but I am definitely more excited for the future and open a new chapter artistically and see what we can do. I’m optimistic about the future and ready to move on.”
Just a few dates left on Altameda’s fall tour. Anything else upcoming to plug?
“We have been writing and demoing a lot and the plan right now is to be recording the new record in January and then we have some touring plans coming up that I am super excited about and I think other people will be too – not really allowed to share anything yet, though.