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Building relationships: How the RAA connects to the audience, the road, and themselves

The band is playing at the Capital Ballroom on Sept. 24

By Ryan Hook
September 22, 2022
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Building relationships: How the RAA connects to the audience, the road, and themselves

The band is playing at the Capital Ballroom on Sept. 24

By Ryan Hook
Sep 22, 2022
From left to right: Lead singer Nils Edenloff, keyboardist Amy Cole, and drummer Paul Banwatt. Photo: Leroy Schulz
From left to right: Lead singer Nils Edenloff, keyboardist Amy Cole, and drummer Paul Banwatt. Photo: Leroy Schulz
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Building relationships: How the RAA connects to the audience, the road, and themselves

The band is playing at the Capital Ballroom on Sept. 24

By Ryan Hook
September 22, 2022
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Building relationships: How the RAA connects to the audience, the road, and themselves
From left to right: Lead singer Nils Edenloff, keyboardist Amy Cole, and drummer Paul Banwatt. Photo: Leroy Schulz

Touring in Canada is not a romantic thing—cramped vans drag you from city to city where you live off takeout food and coffee. On the odd day off, you take in the city, but more or less you’re living for those few hours on stage in front of your fans.

The bonds that form during a tour run deep, and The Rural Alberta Advantage (The RAA) has kept that bond intact for over a decade. Its latest music video for the new song “3 Sisters” epitomizes the drab duty of touring, as well as the romance.

In classic RAA fashion, Nils Edenloff’s piercingly pleasant lead vocal guides us through a folk-rock journey, while backup singer/keyboardist Amy Cole provides the signature ghostly haunt. Drummer Paul Banwatt brings it all together with his spastic, technical drumming and elevating “3 Sisters” well beyond the folk-rock moniker the band’s records are typically catalogued under at any record store. 

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The video itself is a 3D animated journey created by the band’s friend and collaborator Jared Sales. The van featured is an actual replica of the van the band uses to tour and the ticket stubs are from real shows the band can’t forget.

Keyboardist and backup vocalist Amy Cole told Capital Daily, “The video really captures what it feels like on tour. It's fast, and you're living for these moments where you get on stage—that's what it's all for … The rest of it is in the van and it's all passing by really quickly.”

Being on stage makes all those moments worth it, Cole said, and if the band didn’t feel like family it probably wouldn’t still be making music and touring.

“Around 10 or 12 years ago, we saw each other more than we saw any of our loved ones, family, or friends—it was just us three,” she said. “Now we have a tour manager and a sound person—they become a part of the family now too.” 

The newest EP, The Rise (which features “3 Sisters”), is The RAA’s newest music in the past five years.  

As creative collaborators, Cole said there’s an instinctual trust they have with each other when they create songs. The newest EP, and the time spent between releasing it, is a culmination of the trust they have with each other to get a collection of songs together that they collectively believe are finished.

“We’re not waiting for perfection,” Cole said. “We’re not one of those bands that takes a day off, records a song, and then releases it. We might be too precious, but we all agree we want the song in a good place.”

To get songs there, The RAA takes an organic approach to crafting its music—a lot like a standup comedian trying out new material in front of a crowd. The band plays a new song on stage and measures the ebbs and flows, and if something doesn’t work they go back to the drawing board.

“Performing is having a relationship with the audience, so you can feel it if they're, like, loving it or if they're, like, not loving it,” Cole said.

For The RAA, it seems connections are the key to creative success—whether that’s to each other, the audience, or their songs. Even their band name connects to their roots in Alberta, despite each member living in Toronto. 

The band has been able to carve out its own connection across Canada, and brings its tour to the Capital Ballroom this Saturday, Sept. 24. Not only that, but Cole said the other members—both being newlyweds—may bring their significant others too. “It’s basically the honeymoon tour.” Get your tickets for Saturday’s show here, or at the door.

Article Author's Profile Picture
Ryan Hook
Food, Arts & Culture Reporter

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