How does Daniel Carriere—lead singer and guitar player for Edmonton rock band Royal Tusk—relax after a stressful day on the road? It’s simple—he doesn’t.
“I don’t unwind as much as I just crash [and] like, pass the fuck out,” said Carriere. “It is exhausting. People think you play a show and you’ve done nothing all day ‘cause you’ve been driving and you should have time and energy, but it’s the contrary because there’s no routine. You don’t know when you’re gonna eat sometimes, especially with a tour like this because you’re following a bus and the drives can get pretty long.”
Despite the never-ending trial of touring, Carriere wouldn’t have it any other way. To him, a seasoned road warrior with over a decade of experience with his previous band Ten Second Epic, the road is home. Despite touring with a mostly new set of bandmates, the road experience never changes.
“The road is always the road,” says Carriere. “It’s almost like you get used to that as a home. I’m quite comfortable touring […] we’ve done it for so long. Right now [when on tour] I feel like I’m at my other home. It’s really tiring, I mean just travelling all the time, but something about the transience of it all is really kind of nice for me.”
Carriere is in the midst of Royal Tusk’s second tour in support of the band’s debut EP, Mountain. The EP, is in many ways, a culmination of ideas accumulated by Carriere and Royal Tusk bass player Sandy Mackinnon during their time in Ten Second Epic.
“It’s just a sample of what we were doing,” explained Carriere. “We toured so long in [Ten Second Epic] and for all that time we were just thinking of other music we wanted to play, so when we got a chance to start making this stuff we wrote like crazy. We went into the studio in New York with 25 to 26 songs and had to cut it down to six! I think it popped a cork of inspiration that we’d been saving for a long time”.
Mountain also reflects a more collective approach to songwriting than exhibited in the past by the musicians. Carriere suggested that this strategy was just as fulfilling as writing on his own.
“We’re all pretty competent at our instruments and we don’t tell each other what to do,” he said. “Everyone writes their own parts. It’s exciting because sometimes if you’re writing everything from the drum part to the last lyric, there are no surprises. You get to be more of a fan of the song if you’re surprised by it.”
As for Carriere’s two-band relationship with Mackinnon, Carriere couldn’t put his finger on what has made their partnership so special.
“I don’t want to try and get analytical about it,” he said. “It’s just something about the chemistry of it all. I guess it’s effortless, we’ve just known each other so long. To have a successful band, you need to have successful relationships with people. That’s what keeps it ticking and makes it fun, because God knows this isn’t the easiest job to do.”