Rah Rah gets a boost from an unexpected nomination

by Chris Morin

Rah Rah
Friday 28

When Rah Rah first discovered they were up for a 2014 Juno Award, it came as a bit of a shock to the six-piece. Nominated for Alternative Album of the Year for their LP The Poet’s Dead, bassist Joel Passmore says the band is honoured to be nominated with Arcade Fire, Royal Canoe, The Darcys and Yamantaka//Sonic Titan — but the news definitely came out of left field.

“It was really unexpected. I was paying attention to the nominations and then tuned out after they announced the “Breakthrough” artists — I thought we would maybe have a shot at that — and we weren’t among those acts, so I stopped paying attention,” he says with a laugh. “And then suddenly I started getting a bunch of text messages later from people congratulating me and I had no idea what that was about.

“It’s crazy news. We were obviously shocked and completely excited by the idea. We’re honoured, but you never expect something like this to happen, especially to be held up amongst the other artists in that category. It’s staggering to think of how many good albums have come out in the past eight months.”

Not that awards and accolades are anything new for the group: Rah Rah was long-listed for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize in 2013, and picked up Independent Album of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards.

Formed in 2005 by Erin Passmore (Joel’s sister) and Marshall Burns, Rah Rah has since released three albums and several EPs, in addition to a touring schedule that has taken them across North America and Europe several times over.

Industry recognition clearly isn’t the end-goal for this group but that’s not to say it isn’t nice, says Passmore.
“I don’t know if bands really ‘make it’ anymore. For every step a band makes, there’s always more work to be done after. But it’s nice to have these milestones, whether it’s from the WCMAs or this nomination. It hammers home that we’re doing something that people are connecting with.

“We’re working on a new album right now, so it’s been really motivating news for us to receive.”

As for working on new material, Passmore says the group is in the very initial stages of pre-production — recording their ideas, mostly so they don’t forget them. The band hopes to spend the majority of the year working on their next full-length, he says.

“We’re going to spend a few days in Vancouver with Erin before our first show of this upcoming tour, and work on some of these ideas as well. It’s been a different process in terms of songwriting while Erin has been in Vancouver. We just have to make the most out of the time we have together.

“We were always the kind of band that had a lot of energy when you got us all together: we wrote and finished songs together. So working like this is going to likely produce a very different album. It’ll still be a Rah Rah album, but it won’t be the same.”