Candiana folk band, Rosewood's Diary, from Vanderhoof, British Columbia brings an exciting, fresh feel to the genre that won't disappoint. Read our interview with singer-songwriter, Greg Ventin, to learn more about how the band got started, their album Unforsaken Melodies, their best experiences in the music industry, and more!
G: How did Rosewood’s Diary get started?
GV: We started out as a two-piece acoustic act (Greg Ventin & Allan Trampuh), and to be totally honest, at the time we started playing together (2008) we had no plans of performing our music publicly. We were just a couple of friends getting together to ‘try’ something acoustic. I had written songs before in my younger years with a couple of different punk rock bands, but hadn’t really sat down and seriously tried my hand at song writing from an ‘acoustic’ standpoint for quite some time. I found these early days kicking around new ideas very refreshing and moving. Realizing a song could ‘hold its own’ with just a voice and guitar intrigued and inspired me in my writing. Then people heard we were writing music and started inviting us to venues. Anyways one thing led to another and ‘bang!’, last night I counted 7 of us on the stage!
G: Who are your main musical influences?
GV: I personally was not into or aware of the coffee house scene at the time of our beginnings and hadn’t listened to a ‘folk’ record since I was a kid. So I would have to say a lot of our sound probably comes from earlier influences such as Jim Croce, Johnny Cash and others from the 70’s folk/country era. One thing I should mention is I am very aware of the North American folk scene now and soaking in as much of these vibes as possible. We are in an interesting era though, where the ‘pop’ scene (in my opinion) may be drenched in ear candy with very little substance yet the independent music movement is very alive and well (thanks to modern marketing)! I have found the last few years very exciting as I discover new groups, new sounds (or re-inventions of) and some amazing songwriters of our age as well as those of old.
G: How would you describe your sound? Where do you see it evolving to from here?
GV: Hmm… That’s always a hard one. I would describe our sound as Canadiana folk, I think, but I’m really curious to what our listener’s ears would say. As far as where our sound is going…
I’ve been immersing myself pretty hard in old classic rock vinyl so we will see how that affects my song writing. But to be totally upfront, I have no idea what’s next. I never do. It usually starts with a chord progression or melody, or when I’m really lucky, I’ll hear words and rhymes running though my head so I’ll quickly grab for my device or notepad, hit record and start documenting before the fleeting thought runs away from me. And from that point, I like to bring it to the band and see what they can make of it. And almost without fail they make it sound much better then I could have dreamed up on my own. They are good group. We (Rosewood’s Diary) may be a little rough around the edges musically but there’s a lot of heart there and friendships that create a pretty cool vibe.
G: How do you feel about the local music scene in your hometown? In BC?
GV: I feel it’s all moving forward and that’s always exciting. Our hometown is very supportive of our music and the local scene. This summer the district put on a small music festival (Music in the Park) and showcased a lot of great local talent (that I wasn’t necessarily all aware of). And last night we played the Nechako Valley Exhibition (an annual fair held in Vanderhoof) and received a very warm response.
As far as local artists, I have some cool, talented friends with some killer sounds that I’m hoping will hit my studio in the next little while. I like when a friend says ‘Hey Greg, listen to this tune I wrote”, and then it blows me away! I just love that! So with that said, keep your ears tuned to the north. BC in general is full of great original songwriters and artists. Just take in a festival or two in the summer or winter (such as the Coldsnap Festival) and you will find out. This is a good province for growing and budding musicians.
G: What is the message you want audiences to get from your music?
GV: I would hope they leave our show or listen to our album and be encouraged to keep on keeping on. And leave with a feeling of maybe a burden being lifted off or something. You know when you hear a good song or band and your soul just feels better and glad you took in that moment? That’s how I would hope people would feel anyways.
G: What can people expect to see from you at a live show?
GV: If its on a bigger stage with the full band?- A foot-stomping, good time! In a coffee shop? - Probably something soothing with some nice harmonies to take in.
G: What is the biggest challenged you’ve faced so far as a group?
GV: We have definitely had our share of road bumps. Most of which are not ‘musical’ challenges but more personal journey material. But to be totally honest, I think it’s all just part of this life and makes us into who we are, right? I guess if we have come under any ‘musical’ challenges, it would be the steady stream of new and old musicians joining or moving on from the group. But you know, it makes it new and refreshing at the same time, so we just roll with the punches.
G: What has been your best experience in the industry and musical journey so far?
GV: CBC Radio 1 giving us the call that our music for Hey Shame is now the theme song of Daybreak North. That was pretty cool and still is!
The other cool thing is having someone stop you and tell you they were touched by your music. I don’t consciously write to make someone happy or try to fulfill them necessary but it sure is cool when a tune is relatable. I know of many songs that bands have written that have touched me in some special way. Music is so universal. I love it.
G: How would you describe your latest album Unforsaken Melodies? What inspired you when creating the album?
GV: This EP is a small collection of previously unrecorded songs that we had been pulling out at gigs or with our friends the last couple years. I just thought it would be good to get them down and be able to offer them to the general public to have a listen. Now not to sound arrogant, but I really like how this new album sounds. We captured it the way we wanted it to come out and that is a real accomplishment for us. It was a real team effort with help from not only the band but a collection of friends who stopped by the studio and graciously added their flavour to the mix as well. And it’s been encouraging to hear the feedback of our listeners and that they are enjoying the fruit of our labours.
G: Thank you for your time!