Interview: Alberta Cross

Photo by Brantley Gutierrez

I chatted with Petter Ericson Stakee of Alberta Cross when they played at the El Mocambo earlier this month. He was pleased to return to Toronto after a 10-day touring break in London, but he told me he went up the CN Tower earlier that day, which wasn’t a great idea while feeling jetlagged.

The band released Songs of Patience in July of this year, a title that really speaks to the experiences of the band when recording the album. The record took three years, which is especially because of “touring the [Broken Side of Time] for 2 and a half around the world.”

But that’s not the only reason why the album took a while. “It’s like the classic second album when we try to figure out what kind of sounds you want for the record and that took us a bit of time,” Ericson Stakee states.

While he says it got a little crazy, he assures me that “the whole thing ended on a positive note.”

Part of what took so long is that the band used three different producers. The band worked with Joe Chiccarelli (The White Stripes, My Morning Jacket), Mike Daly (Young the Giant) and Claudius Mittendorfer (Muse, Interpol). The band took a while to settle into finding a producer that suited their needs.

Ericson Stakee says, “I think we found what we ideally like to do is work with one guy that works with us instead of getting one guy that runs the show. I feel like we’ve always kind of liked to produce our own things. I feel like on the last couple records we tried different people to get experience, to teach you different things.”

In fact, the band’s beginnings started with producing their own work and they’ve learned a lot since then. “We produced our first mini-album and that’s why it was so organic and it felt so good. We’re really proud of [Songs of Patience]. We just had to go back to that place.”

After a recording process that required a lot of patience, the band came up with the title “Songs of Patience” in the end. But it’s not just about patience, as he jokes that it’s also “an ironic thing with Terry because he doesn’t have patience at all. He can’t even go to a cinema and watch a film because he gets impatient.”

Ericson Stakee is the primary songwriter, but he works closely with Terry Wolfers to critique and get the songs where they want them to be. It’s a situation that Ericson Stakee says has “been working well for a while.”

While the band is actually a duo, they enlist others to help with their live show. With their live show, they hope to bring the audience to a different place. “I think with bands like The Verve or old school Stones or Radiohead, T. Rex, you kind of go to get cleansed. Your mind kind of drifts away from the normal day, whatever you’re going through.”

“We’re drifting, so I hope others are too,” he says.

He then adds, “We’re in a good place live, having been touring for a long time, so it’s hopefully very good.”

As the band looks ahead, they’re looking at much more touring. Without revealing too many details, Ericson Stakee says, “We’re doing some press stuff and TV. Then we’re doing more touring in America and some massive touring in Europe and more touring America and here. We’re releasing our record in Australia and Japan, so we’re probably going to tour there.”

The band had already finished up 7 and a half weeks on tour before their 10-day break, but Ericson Stakee says, “We love to tour, so it’s cool.”

But he does add, “As long as I get a break every now and then so I can stay and chill out, go and do some cool shit, stay healthy.”

Ericson Stakee chooses not to share a drunken story, given that “the fun drinking stories are the ones where everything goes crazy.” Sort of as a consolation, without naming names, he does reveal that he had to drag out a band member when one fell into a river in Glasto.

As far as shots of choice, Ericson Stakee says that he’s a tequila guy, while Wolfers is a whiskey guy.

Check out Songs of Patience, a record that is appropriately described as “soulful spiritual” by Ericson Stakee. The choirs that appear in the background in a number of songs accent Ericson Stakee’s soaring high vocals in a way that is absolute magic.

No dates have been announced yet, but look out for when Alberta Cross makes their way back to Toronto!


Categories: Interviews


Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: