By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario - An Ottawa-based alternative rock trio with Cornwall roots is looking to shake up the local music scene with a fresh sound as they record a new album.
Three longtime friends in their early 20s who make up Us With Wolves are working on their self-titled debut album at Pebbles Studios in Ottawa, and their first single 'Kings' is set to drop Tuesday, June 3 on iTunes.
"Our sound is a mash-up of different rock genres," said Taylor Campbell, lead guitarist and back-up vocalist. "It has big rock choruses that you can sing to, but also has those intimate indie-rock moments."
Like a wolf shedding its sheepskin disguise, the band dropped its former name Bryden Avenue (a street one of the member's grew up on in Cornwall) for an edgier "in your face" sound and moniker.
Us With Wolves' style pulls from alternative bands like Kings of Leon, and harder rock acts like the Foo Fighters. Lead singer and acoustic guitar player Ryan McGillis, drummer Martin Potvin, and Campbell were all schoolmates at Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary School.
"All three of us are from Cornwall... born and raised! Due to seeking higher education we had to move away from home after high school, but we still frequent the city quite a bit and really think it's a great town," said Campbell. "We certainly owe a lot to the community."
Campbell and McGillis recently graduated from the music industry arts program at Algonquin College and Potvin is currently earning a bachelor of music at Carleton University.
But Campbell noted that his and McGillis' time spent as co-op students at Indie Guitar Co. in Cornwall helped shape their budding music careers. Even Potvin had a taste of the facility which also houses Dream Builder Studios when Bryden Avenue recorded their first independent album there a few years ago.
"It was kind of the beginning for us..." he said. "It introduced us to a lot of different aspects of the music industry. Afterwards, we kind of ran with what we learnt."
Us With Wolves self-titled debut will feature 12 original songs, but fans will have wait to get their hands on it. The band is only dropping two singles this summer to see how they fare before releasing the entire album.
"We want the singles to really resonate with our fans," said McGillis.
Potvin has been working close with Mike Bond, from Pebbles Studios, to ensure all the drumming on their new songs bang harder than the band's previous sound.
"I had to take a different approach from what I usually play this time around," said Potvin. "But watching our new sound progress and grow into something much bigger has been exciting."
The band has spent countless hours in pre-production to make their new single Kings worthy of the repeat button. Afterwards, they dedicated time and resources into making their product competitive and marketable.
"Making an album is a lengthy process and doing it properly takes a lot of work - we are still finishing it," said Campbell.
To give Us With Wolves a fuller sound during live shows, bass player Justin Lapierre, and rhythm guitarist Ryan Cornett are added to the mix. Both are Holy Trinity graduates from Cornwall.
The band will be playing Friday, July 18 at VU Nightspot along with some other great local talents including Elly May, Chris Benton, and Bearings. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and it's only $5 for an advance ticket.
To find out more about Us With Wolves, visit their website uswithwolves.com.