Features Interviews Amy Cole and the Advantage of Departing

Amy Cole and the Advantage of Departing

Rural Alberta Advantage
The Rural Alberta Advantage
Interview by: Natalia Buia

With their sophomore release, Departing, The Rural Alberta Advantage trio has a few things to leave behind in the pursuit of new things.

Amy Cole (keys, percussion, vocals) tells me, through a phone interview, Departing refers to friends, family and the themes the band explored in Hometowns.

"You can tell by the cover art there's a more winter-y theme [with this album]. It's a sort of darker album. The songs are more intense and we've gotten more confident," she says.

This album features some of the strongest songs they've recorded, including "Tornado '87", the title referring to the second deadliest tornado that hit Canada in Edmonton. While it continues with the repetitive lyrics of love lost and refereces to the Rockies, Nils Edenloff's voice is hungrier this time around, which makes for a more personal and moving record.

The album, now released on Paper Bag Records in Canada and Saddle Creek Records in the States, will hopefully garner the band the same praise and recognition as Hometowns. On the same night as their album release, the band was recently spotted at The Verge Music Awards but unfortunately lost in the Emerging Artist of the Year category to Hannah Georgas. Amy, however, claims she still had a lot of fun attending and can now breathe a sigh of relief now that Departing has taken flight.

The RAA will pack up for a heavy tour with Pepper Rabbit, a psychedelic pop band from LA, beginning March 8. This means they won't be in town for Canadian Music Fest.

"We were excited for The Indie Awards. We figured we were going to present an award because we won last year, and meet Janelle Monae!" Amy says.

What is on the itinerary is a pit stop in Austin, Texas for SxSW. Amy says this year will be mark their third time attending.

"The first time we went, we discovered some really cool bands," she recalls.

For those Canadian bands that are heading south for the festival for the first time, the multi-talented performer offers some words of advice.

"Sleep a lot before you leave! There's so much to see, so many bands. Play as many parties as you can. The day parties are really amazing because, depending on who's sponsoring, there's free beer, free food and people are more excited to move around in the day time."

The RAA have some of the most loyal fans a band could ever ask for. The people who sing along to every song, word for word at every show, almost drown the band in gratitude.

"It means so much to me. It never gets old. I can't remember us ever saying 'Ugh, we never want to play this show...'" Amy says.

But really, who can remember ever saying, "Ugh, I never want to see this RAA show"?