By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Even when Calling All Captains’ previous lead singer amicably departed the group after a United Kingdom tour, there were no plans to stop.
Songs had to be written and an album recorded. Stuck in a position where they needed to figure things out, they auditioned for a new singer. Some were greatly skilled, but demands and logistics ultimately didn’t pan out.
Luc Gauthier had always been comfortable as CAC’s drummer through thick and thin. He sat in the street the day CAC were set to record their song “Disconnected” and decided to audition himself. His Métis culture had put him in front of big crowds by way of indigenous dance, so he was somewhat prepared.
“I was given a microphone at a young age, but I was never a vocalist,” Gauthier explained. “Keep that in mind. I’m comfortable with a crowd and talking to them, but singing in front of a crowd is something completely foreign to me.”
After he auditioned, he was surprised that it sounded on par with what the band had sought. It was then decided that the search was now for a new drummer, not singer. Tim Wilson (drums) soon rounded out the CAC lineup of Gauthier, Brad Bremner (guitar), Connor Dawkins (guitar) and Nick Malychuk (bass).
Some days he admittedly still doesn’t feel it, but Gauthier has settled more into his new role.
“It’s a weird transitionary period, kind of losing an instrument and becoming the instrument yourself,” Gauthier said. “It’s cool. It’s nice to be free and up there with the boys. It’s a whole different dynamic the Captains have.”
Gauthier’s vocals can be heard on the group’s most recent EP, ‘Nothing Grows Here,’ released this past Feb. via Equal Vision Records, almost five years to the date of their formation. As he looked back, Gauthier called ‘Nothing Grows Here’ his favorite EP yet.
“It really kind of hit home for me in a way that the other two [EPs] just don’t necessarily do,” said Gauthier. “I just feel like our production [has] gotten better, our songwriting has gotten better, we’ve kind of come into our own sound a bit more. It’s kind of crazy to me too, because lots of our fans, we ask them, ‘What’s your favorite songs?’ and they all choose the songs from the new record. Their favorite stuff is the new stuff, so at these shows, we play old tunes and they don’t go off as hard as they do for the new tunes, so for me, that puts this record right at number one.”
Gauthier hopes fans are inspired right from the moment they put ‘Nothing Grows Here’ on. The record fully encompasses CAC’s motto – “Thoughts Become Things.”
“There’s lots of different vibes on our record, but overall, what I want people to feel is that if they want this, they can have it,” Gauthier said. “If they’re feeling down, like, we feel the same things too. We didn’t want to work a nine-to-five. We didn’t want to work a desk job all our lives, so we just hopped in a van and decided this is what we want to do and people support that.”
The music video for single “Chasing Ghosts” was released in Jan. 2019 and shot at Gauthier’s house in a matter of two days.
“We thought this has to absolutely be the next single because ‘Chasing Ghosts’ was by far the one that stood out for us,” Gauthier said. “The chorus is huge. We thought the tagline [and] the lyrical content, it means a lot to all of us, in especially different ways. We’re all just chasing some sort of ghosts. The way the song starts, it starts very high-energy, right off the cusp. It’s kind of a love letter to anybody out there who’s struggling with stuff that you’re losing, because if you want better, you go get it. We’re all in complete control of our reality.”
The name ‘Nothing Grows Here’ was inspired by the unfamiliarity fans in the United States had when the band mentioned their hometown of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada while on tour.
“Being where we’re from and especially calling the record ‘Nothing Grows Here,’ there’s almost a pre-conceived notion that we couldn’t do it,” Gauthier explained. “Like, ‘You’re not gonna grow out of this city. There’s like, no possible way.’ It’s crazy, but everyone out there [In Edmonton], they support us wholeheartedly. It’s like, literally, the whole city wanted us to get out. And we did.”
They’ve done more than “get out.” Over time, the band has played several continents and shared the stage with other acts like Silverstein, Broadside and Seaway. When CAC played in London, Gauthier was humbled to hear that fans came from near and far. For that specific show, one took a three-hour train ride. Another flew out from Spain.
Of course, the caveat of those moments can be the difficulties that come with a life on the road.
“You’re just not talking to your friends as much,” Gauthier expressed. “You’re missing things. You’re a vocalist, you’re losing sleep. You’re driving all the time, so you can’t talk to anybody, so it’s just difficult sometimes. There’s normally lots of things that people don’t see. Being in a band, people only see the five percent. They see the music videos. They see the shows, they hear the record, but there’s so much in the back that doesn’t get talked about.”
Overall though, the experience has been worth it for Gauthier, especially when he sees just what emotional impact his band has on the fans.
“It’s really crazy that people take time out of their lives, literally change around their whole schedule just to fit us in it,” said Gauthier. “I mean, we were playing our first show on our American tour. We were playing in Lewiston, Idaho and the front row was just five kids screaming every single word to ‘Fools Gold’ and that song came out not even seven days ago at that point and I was in tears, man. I was in tears on the stage. It just made me so emotional. There’s been so many moments like that that you can’t really express into words, but this is definitely what we were all made to do, the kind of life that we were meant to lead.”