Dalhousie University student, Braden Lam’s band, Driftwood People, are releasing their debut single, Ruby next month. Originally a solo performer, Lam began jamming with the band last summer.
While on tour around Atlantic Canada, through performing together and almost crashing on the highway from a loose wheel on their van, they developed a chemistry that, as Lam says, made them “a lot more than just a backing band.”
In September the band performed at the annual DalFest held on Dalhousie campus, opening for JUNO-nominated Charlotte Cardin.
The on-stage energy of the band was something unmatched for Lam in his solo experience. And he knew the real project was cooperating with Saint Mary’s University students Nick Pothier, Jonathan MacKenzie and Aaron Hillier. The four of them make Driftwood People.
Compared to Lam’s solo material, drawn from the singer-songwriter and folk traditions, their collaborative style is more of a “pop indie vibe” as Lam describes it, with “acoustic folk elements and roots.”
Ruby, the single recorded on Prince Edward Island over reading week break in November, personifies the Canadian portion of the Ruby Range mountains which begin in Alaska and go through southern Yukon into British Columbia. The central evocation of the song is the wide-eyed awe of being at the base of a mountain and wishing to take in the view from the peak.
Lam was captivated by the mountains and used them as inspiration for his music.
“Picture yourself standing at the bottom of a mountain and looking up at it,” said Lam.
That’s the exact feeling that Lam was trying to encapsulate in the new single. Lam attempts to capture elements like “breathing in the alpine air” and the sublimity of all the sights and smells of simply being there.
In the song, a girl symbolizes the mountains. The artwork for the single is a silhouette of this girl filled with a landscape photo taken by Lam himself. Ruby draws a comparison of the mountains to the beauty found in a loved one by using this symbolic girl to get the point across. It also includes a dope sax solo by Marlee Saulnier.
Ruby will release on March 15 and on March 29, Driftwood People will be celebrating the single release at The Seahorse Tavern with Rain Over St. Ambrose. They’re offering free entry for ticket holders of the Wintersleep show at the Marquee Ballroom happening on the same night.