Team Coostin’ – Presenting profile pieces on friends of ours, interesting people doing really cool things.
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Bud Rice has been a regular of the Montreal music scene for the past decade, playing in bars and cafes since the tender age of 15. Now, at 25, our man is one of MTL’s most trusted and sought out musicians. And a hell of a good time.
Growing up in Montreal’s Mile End under the tutelage of his father, local Montreal music legend Dave Gossage, Bud’s own personal music history culminated in the release of his debut album, Belfast, in January 2015. He’d never say it, but he’s killin’ it. Winner of the 2015 Best Out-Of-Province act at the Toronto Independent Music Awards, and rocking appearances in two categories in Cult MTL’s Best of Montreal Winners 2016, Bud’s sound is now making its way out of Quebec and its surrounds to all of North America and beyond. 18 months after Belfast dropped, he’s kicking things up a notch.
And that’s exactly what we are trying to do at The Coost, making Bud ideal for the inaugural Team Coostin’ profile. Not a bad looking guy either – a face to launch a thousand clicks…
We’re approaching 18 months since the release of “Belfast”, your debut record. What’s life been like since?
Life’s been good. The release of the record allowed for some bigger opportunities that I hadn’t had prior to releasing any music. I was kinda just doing the pub circuit and playing shows here and there. I feel like once you have a physical copy of something it proves you have some kind of credentials as a musician. You get more opportunities within festivals and stuff like that. I’ve been playing a lot more showcase shows and that’s been really rewarding.
What’s the reception to “Belfast” been like?
The reception overall has been really, really great. People seem to really dig it. I’ve had a lot of people approach me saying how much they like the record, which is cool to feel like people appreciate what you’ve been doing because I’ve been at this for a long time now.
You’ll always have people that have their own opinions about it that are more negative than others. I’ve had people say that it’s too polished and doesn’t capture what I do live, but we made it a point to make the record polished because I wanted it to sound a certain way. I didn’t want it to seem loose and not well done.
A lot more work goes into keeping the ball rolling after you’ve put something out, so it’s been keeping me constantly busy with things that I care more about, like my music career. It’s been a good kick in the ass.
“Belfast” is clearly a personal record and family affair. ‘Family’ can be such a loaded word sometimes. How would you define it?
Family is everything to me and it has always been. I don’t know if that’s my strange Irish heritage coming out but I was taught very young to stand by your family more than anyone else. If things go bad the only people that are really ever going to be there are your family, so you’ve gotta put up with the craziness and just keep on having a good time as long as you can with each other.
And playing with my father (Dave Gossage plays regular gigs with Bud and also produced Belfast as well as contributed bass flute, harmonica, and guitar to the record) is a great experience to be able to share something so personal with someone who feels the exact same way about music. I’m lucky to play with my dad mainly because he’s an incredible musician, but also not only do we have that father-son bond but that musical bond that I don’t really share with anyone on my mom’s side, at least playing wise. But that’s also something that’s evident in our relationship. It’s a great feeling.
Does that sense of family extend to Montreal, your city?
Yeah, absolutely. I’m only learning now that the musical culture that exists in Montreal is so massive. With the help of the record I realise now how connected all these musicians are. Everybody knows everybody. It’s a collective thing more than a combative thing, Montreal has a real group aspect and group vibe that allows for really wonderful things to happen.
What significance does the city of Belfast hold?
Belfast is the home of my grandfather and the hometown of my mom. I wanted to go back to the roots of everything, where the insanity of my family sorta stems from, where everything happened and got put into place. That’s why I called the record Belfast.
I went back there in March for the first time. I saw my mom’s hometown, saw her home street, saw where she went to school when she was a kid. It was a surreal moment, a bit of weird feeling to be out there, knowing everything that has happened since they moved to St Bruno, Quebec. It was a very cool experience to check out where it all started.
“Belfast” isn’t only about family. The album also tackles your experiences with love, loss, and general day-to-day life. It’s a deeply personal record, isn’t it?
Absolutely. I think any art that you put out will have a certain amount of your own personal touch on things and I think if it doesn’t then that would just seem weird. I never try to write for a certain cause or reason unless I feel the cause or reason to write, so I think that it will all just inherently have my own personal day-to-day life and things that I’ve experienced in it just because it’s coming from me. I don’t think you could really get away with something that doesn’t somehow show a piece of you.
Do you find it easy to be so personal?
I find it easier to show who I am through music than just in regular day-to-day conversation because generally I’m a pretty shy and awkward person, so when I get up on stage it’s more freeing than anything else. I feel like that’s where I’m supposed to be, that’s where I feel most like myself, and I have very little fear on stage. It’s almost like I’d rather be on stage all the time than walking around the street and making small talk with people.
I’ve been lucky enough to find this outlet that has allowed me to express myself on a level that I can’t really do just through conversation. I feel like there’s a certain amount of escape that I have playing music that doesn’t exist in me when I don’t have a guitar in my hand or if I’m just talking to somebody.
It’s funny you say that. On the last track of the album, “Who I Am”, you sing “I’m confused and afraid but I’m acting like I’m not.” But you seem to have such a command and ease on stage…
Honestly, on stage is a totally freeing experience for me. Everyone tries to play a certain kind of role when they talk to people but it’s just a freeing experience to get away from all the things, all the difficulties in just being a regular person, and be on stage playing songs that I care about. It’s quite selfish and really quite personal because I do all of this, more or less, for me. I love showing my music to people but it’s really just a sense of escape that I crave so, so much.
When I started playing I was about 15, performing live, and I guess that’s kind of the shaping years of a young adult. I think I always had that guard up, and with music I was most myself, trying to get by and escape the normalness of day-to-day life with honesty on stage, as opposed to when I was in the playgrounds at school.
Have you ever had trouble giving so much of yourself in music or on stage?
No, but I’ve gotten myself in trouble by giving too much of myself lyrically. Sometimes it can be too personal for my friends if I’m writing about a certain situation. I didn’t lose friends but I’ve pissed friends off in the past. But I never really think that I should hold back from what I feel, especially in an art sense, just because that would be untrue.
If I didn’t write from the heart and didn’t write honestly, I would be kidding myself. I’m lucky enough, like I said, to have that outlet, so I’ve never had trouble abusing that outlet as much as I can. If I was sacrificing my artistic integrity for the betterment of others feelings than it would be dishonest to what I’m trying to do and what I’m trying to get out for the most part. That being said, I don’t write hate songs about people. It’s just sometimes things that have happened in my life coincide with people around me, and that might turn them the wrong way. But without the music I wouldn’t be able to get by anyway, so you have to let it happen.
Words – Zac Strevens
Camera, Audio – Zac Strevens and Luke Gerald
Editing – Luke Gerald with Zac Strevens
Direction – Zac Strevens