Q&A: Canvas People urges Happy If I'm Wrong is not about Former Governor Rick Perry

by Jake Navarro

There are plenty of bands on the Austin music scene. This city is not short of finding talent or bands that can pull through on a live set to get you rocking out. Canvas People, though, is one of those bands that is able to get you from discovering new music to finding out where they are playing their next show. As a collective of four dudes: Kyle, Wes, Luke and Pat, they make you stop and truly appreciate what this city has to offer. The chemistry that lead-man, Kyle, and guitarist, Wes, have is so apparent you can almost physically see the energy be exchanged on stage. 

After listening to the live version of "Happy If I'm Wrong" the first time, I was instantly hooked to these guys. The track takes the listener on a five-minute journey of making greivences to "the governor" with a guitar riff that makes you effortlessly jam out with them.  Although the band resides in Texas, they reaffirm that the song isn't about the former governor, Rick Perry. 

With a new album in the works and projected for a 2016 release, MyCityATX was able to catch the band on one of their days off to sit down and chat a bit more about who Canvas People are. 

"One of the songs that caught my attention was "Happy If I'm Wrong." Can you tell me a bit more about the context behind it?"

Kyle: "That was my attempt to crack the political song. Just about my frustration with the political process. I created this governor character to take out some of my anger. People think I wrote this song about Rick Perry--that is not true!" 

"What does the writing process look like for you guys?"

Kyle: "Typically, I'll write a chord progression or sometimes full songs, just a verse or chorus. I'll present it to the guys and they'll put their two cents in. They start to craft their parts and slowly the song starts to take its shape." 

Luke: "Some songs we work our asses off and nothing comes of it!" 

Pat: "Out of every four songs--we'll get one that we spend a long time on. It might be something we're just not happy with and move on." 

"I've been sharing your music with my friends and some have said that your style on some of your music could be on Sons of Anarchy. I thought that was interesting. Have you been told that before?" 

Luke: "You're not the first person to say that! I actually had a guy that thought "Happy If I'm Wrong" was a theme song for some sheriff show [laughs].

"What did the beginning stages of Canvas People recording Sirens look like?"

Luke: "When we started, we were an acoustic trio that happened to have a dude come play drums with us. We were like, "let's make an album, dude!" We just wanted to release an album. We didn't have a band or a purpose. We had no "Motives". [laughs] We learned a lot from releasing our first record and we've changed our style quite a bit since then as well. We know who we are now."

"Wes, your and Kyle's energy on stage is so apparent. You can see the exchange of energy between you both. Where does something like that come from?"

Wes: "We have been playing with each other since we were twelve years old, so we've had a lot of time to build up that chemistry. Kyle's dad taught us both how to play guitar at the same time. We got to see what each other was exploring musically and really grew together as musicians. Over time, playing with each other on stage and feeding off each other just came naturally."

"With your SoFar Sounds acoustic showcase, how were you able to alter the set to still have some drumming in there, Pat?"

Pat: "It's kind of difficult to be honest. I took a torn-down approach. I thought of the songs in a bit more simpler way. I decided to play certain sounds with a shaker or tambourine, since I didn't have a kick drum. I had to be very aware of the vocals. I didn't want to walk all over them, so I had to be careful. If I didn't need to play it to make the song, I didn't."

"What is something that makes you guys different than other bands on the Austin music scene?"

Kyle: "What separates us from other Austin bands is no shorts! We allow no shorts on stage!"

Luke: "What Kyle writes is very different. When you're in a band with someone that is that great of a writer, it helps your creativity blossom. It makes you want to play things you haven't played before."

Wes: "Three part harmonies help us stand out. We put three-part harmonies on weird indie-rock songs that most bands don't do" 

You definitely feel the closeness these guys have outside of the band. They let me in on "a bad response" when asked that last question on live radio. Apparently, having a drummer that was born in the 80s makes you different on the scene. 

The guys continue joke about blaming Kyle for the downfall of Canvas People if the "writing isn't good enough." Canvas People is one to definitely keep your eye out for. Catch them before you're going to be pushed up against a barricade to see them up close. 

You're able to keep up with the dudes at www.canvaspeoplemusic.com and their twitter: @Canvas_People!