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Toronto’s Sadies elect to self-produce Internal Sounds

Canadian country rockers the Sadies are back with Internal Sounds, the highly anticipated follow-up to Darker Circles, a shortlisted nominee for the 2010 Polaris Music Prize.

According to Sadies drummer Mike Belitsky, the veteran Toronto group spent a year slowly plugging away at its new LP.

“We spent more time on this record than we have in the past,” Belitsky says on the phone from his home in Toronto. “Back in the early days we’d only spend two or three days and try to bang out as much as we could. 

“Over time we’ve definitely become more selective. We’re looking for songs we think are great, not just acceptable. If we didn’t like something we’d redo it and if it wasn’t happening we just didn’t bother putting it on the record.”

In addition to Belitsky, the Sadies is comprised of vocalist/guitarist Dallas Good, his brother Travis Good on guitar/fiddle and upright bassist Sean Dean.

The band formed in 1994, but Internal Sounds is the first Sadies album produced by Dallas Good – though Belitsky admits the band got a bit of consultation from Gary Louris, the man who produced some of its previous releases.

“We have a language amongst ourselves and sometimes when another person comes in as a third party, they don’t speak that secret code,” says Belitsky. “Sometimes that’s a good thing, but this was just a different thing we wanted to try this time. We all have experience at getting what we want to hear on tape so we were already ahead of the game that way.”

The band is excited to play Western Canada as previous tours through the Canadian prairies influenced some aspects of Internal Sounds.

For one, the album title loosely refers to a time when Dallas Good wasn’t able to perform in Saskatoon because he’d just broken his leg after slipping on a patch of ice. What’s more, legendary Cree singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie went to see the Sadies at the Pyramid Cabaret in 2005 and ended up joining the band on stage.

That encounter led to the creation of “We Are Circling”, the last song on Internal Soundswhich features a guest appearance from the iconic Canadian musician.

“It was all done via file sharing, phone and email, but we did meet her on tour in Winnipeg and it was an honour to be able to have her on the new record,” Belitsky says. 

Now that Internal Sounds has been unleashed, the band plans to keep hitting the road into 2014, which also marks its 20th anniversary as a band.

“Meeting the people who are influential to us is probably a highlight we can all share from over the years, like getting to be in the studio recording with Neil Young [on his 2010 rendition of the Bob Dylan/Rick Danko penned song “This Wheel’s on Fire”] or writing and recording with John Doe from [influential L.A. punk band] X,” Belitsky says. 

“We enjoy playing together a lot so there’s really no reason for us to quit.”

Published in Volume 68, Number 6 of The Uniter (October 10, 2013)

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