by Katie Rankin
Raccoon Bandit may have already released two albums since forming in 2008 but now the band is anticipating their most unique project yet. This month the four-piece folk-rock group will release a split ten-inch vinyl with fellow Charlottetown band Sister Jack. “The idea is four songs, two per band,” explains Bandit singer and guitarist Fraser McCallum. “Two A sides, essentially. There’s no letter B, just A and A.” Each side of the record will feature two new songs from each band.
McCallum says they approached Sister Jack with the project because of their friendship with the band and their complimenting sound. Both bands even sat in on each other’s mixing. “It’s been cool to work on a project with more than just the immediate band, with other voices in the room,” says McCallum. Bassist Scott Gallant says, “Part of the fun too is releasing something that isn’t a standard album. A weird EP.”
Produced and recorded by Bandit guitarist and singer Adam Gallant, McCallum says they purposefully chose less heavy songs for the short tracklist. “It’s nice because we don’t have to wait. It’s a lot more immediate. We wrote the songs and then rehearsed them quickly over a few weeks and then we were ready to record.” Gallant has done similar compilation/collaboration projects in the past with Well Oiled and The Thirteen Days of Christmas. McCallum says they serve as ways to keep a small music scene thriving and interesting.
As for the decision to release the collaboration on vinyl, it was a learning experience for the band right down to the tiniest detail. “You have to pay for all kinds of crazy things,” McCallum says. “Like even the puncture in the hole of the vinyl is a separate cost.” Bandit’s drummer, singer and guitarist Roger Carter says vinyl’s sound is clearer and more true than digital recordings. This also meant the bands had to be more aware of the length of their songs in relation to the ten-inch width of the record, even tightening and trimming some parts.
“I think it comes down to the tangibility of having a record in your hands. You can put it on your wall, put it on your shelf, you can hold it forever,” says Carter. Raccoon Bandit and Sister Jack will have two release shows on December 17—an afternoon show at Back Alley Music and a show later that night at Baba’s.