A few months ago, on a warm sunny spring afternoon in Scarborough Ontario, I had the opportunity to sit down with the band Chinook, which consists of vocalist Shannon Doherty and guitar guru Zo Rane. I immediately jumped at the opportunity to be one of the first people outside their close-knit circle to listen to the songs they’d recorded during the last 12 months.
Chinook formed in the summer of 2012 after Rane held auditions for a vocalist. From the start, it seemed that Rane and Doherty’s musical aspirations and desires were almost completely in sync.
Chinook’s first album is self-titled, which is appropriate given the band’s musical goals and philosophy. A Chinook is essentially a warm breeze in the winter; a new breath into things – something both Rane and Doherty aim to bring to the Canadian music scene.
Rane is quick to offer an explanation for the band’s name, which reflects his attitudes towards the current state of music, “Where music is right now, it’s a lot of re-doing things that have already been done. There are a few bands that come out with things and you’re like, ‘Oh, that’s new or refreshing,’ but a lot of its re-hashed,” he continued. “We haven’t had a U2 in Canada, a Led Zeppelin or a Chili Peppers… because of this, and our name, we are looking to bring a sort of change.”
It becomes apparent almost immediately that both Rane and Doherty have set their goals high and are optimistic about what they’re bringing to the Canadian music scene.
Doherty adds that they don’t feel limited to one sound, and want to explore all musical avenues, “We aren’t trying to be a trend or to fit in that box… We allow ourselves to create any sounds that we are drawn too. We don’t need to stick in this genre of rock alternative, if we want to write a blues song, we’re going to write a blues song, and we’re going to rock it.”
But they also recognize that their views and ambitions have made them a bit of an anomaly in the Toronto music scene. “We’re on the outside looking in, given the lack of response we’ve had from people willing to commit to the band.”
Rane continued to explain the frustration in finding other members to jam and rehearse with on a consistent basis, “I’d love to have that happen… but I feel like Toronto has lost its scene, people just don’t seem to be into it.”
In part because of this complication, Chinook has remained a duo. With the exception of one or two tracks, the entire album was created, recorded and mixed solely by the two.
Doherty remarks that they’d like to add members to the band, but she makes it clear that she and Rane are the driving force behind Chinook – a hierarchy they want to keep. “We are the solid band mates. If we do bring someone in we have to make sure, because they become like family, they’re on the same wave length.”
In fact, the two have such a great musical connection that they already have enough material for a second album, but for now the duo is focusing on their first release, which is set to be released on iTunes on July 15th.
Rane quaintly summarizes the relationship between he and Doherty: “I get what she’s doing and she gets what I’m doing, and that’s the music that comes out of it.”
Sound Cloud: https://soundcloud.com/followchinook/open
Music Video for “Open”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Fm7MjgGmLXU
Written by Tyler Hooper