Adam White, vocalist and guitarist for The Reason, describes his band as “honest and hardworking” – but that doesn’t mean success has come easy. Lineup changes, legal red tape and management woes have littered the way since they formed in 2003. The latest album Fools – produced by Steven Haigler (Pixies, Brand New, Quicksand) – has turned the tide, however, garnering critical acclaim and top five rock radio success with the single, The Longest Highway Home. En route to Quebec with bandmates James Nelan (keyboards, vocals, guitar), Michael Caputo (guitar), Ronson Armstrong, (bass, vocals) and Steve Kiely (drums, percussion), White is appreciative of the Owen Sound quintet’s most recent accomplishments, noting, “This is what we love to do the most.”
Lots of people start bands, but few enjoy even moderate success – how is The Reason different?
A lot of bands don’t want to deal with the negative stuff, but we’ve never given up when things got tough: member changes; management stuff; legal issues with old labels; tours where we’ve lost out on thousands of dollars. Now – thankfully – it’s starting to get better.
How did you come to work with Steven Haigler on Fools?
We sent our music to him and told him: ‘We’d love to work with you; we love your stuff’ and he got back to us saying, ‘Yeah, I like your stuff too.’ So we flew him out to Hamilton and had a little jam session to show him the songs. He was very vocal about how the band should sound on record: exactly like we sound live. We’ve never been able to achieve that before and ultimately, that may have been what deterred us in the beginning. This time, we captured exactly who we are.
Do you learn more about yourself when you’re in the studio?
For sure. In the studio everything is under a microscope. You can work really hard to try and perfect everything or you can choose to embrace the little mistakes: if you go off-key, it’s okay because it might still sound cool – or if you screw up a drum fill it could wind up being a golden moment on the record.
Is this the record you’re most proud of?
Oh yeah. With the others, we’d get them done and be all excited, then two weeks later we couldn’t listen to them anymore. For this one – and we recorded it over two years ago now – I can still put it on and feel like there is nothing I want to change about it. We did everything right.
What do you credit for that?
It’s being comfortable together after doing this for such a long and not really having anything to lose. We’ve made many mistakes that we’ve been able to learn from, and we just wanted to make the best record we could. Warner gave us some money to record in North Carolina for a month: we were away from home, the cell phones were off and we were focused on just making the album.
A lot of doors must open when you have a top 5 rock radio hit.
Absolutely. Our booking agent has been booking us since 2004 and he called us about a month ago saying, ‘This is the first time where I haven’t had to go out and look for shows for you guys – we’re getting calls everyday from people wanting you to play.’ We’re finally at the point where we’re turning stuff down.
You’ve got Edgefest coming up – is it your first one?
We played the side stage in 2005 and it went pretty well. We’re on the main stage this time and it’ll sound a lot different. The festival is a pretty big deal – it’s the highest profile gig we’ve ever played – so just getting booked means even more opportunities for us.
Describe your live show.
We devote our whole day to it. It’s not about the bus or the hotel we’re sleeping at, or the beer on the rider. For us, the whole day just culminates in the 45 minutes that we’re up on that stage. When we finally get to do it, we put it all out there.
You mentioned having made mistakes. Are you a better off because of them?
This record wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t go through everything that we did, you know? I feel like we know who we are and we know how everything works. I’m not glad that we made mistakes but it’s shaped who we are… so I feel cool about it.
Fools is available online and in stores now. To learn more about The Reason and to view their official video for The Longest Highway Home, visit www.thereasonmusic.com.
*Originally published under ‘Interviews’ on MyTelus.com.