Ten years after the release of their sophomore album, Today We’re Believers, Royal Canoe will reunite at the Park Theatre to bring their lineup of euphoric, groovy fan favourites back to the local stage.
Following their first “unofficial” album, Co-op Mode, Believers is a true co-creation of their current members and Royal Canoe’s breakthrough record that solidified their sound and reputation.
These multi-instrumentalist musicians (Matt Peters, Matt Schellenberg, Brendan Berg, Michael Jordan, Derek Allard and Bucky Drieger) have been a Manitoba music force since cutting their teeth on projects that include The Waking Eyes, Liptionians, Tele and The Pets.
Matt Schellenberg (keyboardist, songwriter, singer) cites Today We’re Believers as one of their best-received records, with soldout shows fueling a successful 10-year touring career and inspiring creative projects and collaborations along the way.
Their upcoming show at the Park Theatre symbolically brings the band full circle to the venue where they first performed. Citing support from provincial funding sources like Manitoba Film and Music and love from Winnipeg fans and the creative community, Schellenberg credits Manitoba as being, “an amazing collaborator on everything we’ve done.”
He feels that within the community at large, and the artistic community specifically, “everyone’s success is communal success.” Sharing this birthday with the people who supported them from the beginning makes the Park show particularly special.
Stephen Carroll, director of music programs at Manitoba Film and Music, has followed the band members’ careers over the past 23 years.
“I think, in a way, this sophomoric record is where they galvanized their thinking and came together as a collective in a way that hadn’t happened before,” he says. “It gave them a template to go forwards with, to show how far they could take their music, which, in my mind, is as far as they wanted to go.”
John Paul Peters, producer and co-owner of Private Ear Studios, has produced Royal Canoe’s records since Co-op Mode, and the band considers him one of their main collaborators.
“There wouldn’t be a Royal Canoe without him,” Schellenberg says.
“Any time you create something that elevates itself, you ‘normalize’ creating stuff that’s a little bit different in that indie experimental genre,” Peters says, reflecting on Royal Canoe’s trailblazing influence on the music community. “It makes it ‘okay’ for you to explore those directions, too.”
“That’s generally where Royal Canoe tends to shine,” Schellenberg says. “When we’re like, ‘Let’s never be comfortable. Let’s just take something on and make sure it’s always just about to go off the rails,’ and hopefully (it) doesn’t.”
Carroll credits the band with bringing international attention to the creativity that exists in Winnipeg.
“I’m very thankful that they are here and continue to do the work they do and enrich our lives here as Winnipeggers, pushing boundaries as artists and doing extraordinary work.”
Royal Canoe’s Today We’re Believers 10th anniversary show plays at the Park Theatre on Nov. 22 and 23. Tickets to the Nov. 22 show are still available and can be purchased via bit.ly/3SwQIgU.
Published in Volume 78, Number 10 of The Uniter (November 16, 2023)