Exploring the Folk-Rock Fusion in ‘Hanlon’s Razor’. A band from Calgary, Alberta, with a sound as diverse as Canada’s landscape, has emerged. The Dust Collectors are an interesting alternative folk quintet whose sound spans from country and blues to rock with a heavy folk influence.
Matt Easton (lead guitar and vocals), Steve Rozitis (bass and vocals), Scott Stolee (drums and vocals), and Luke Giblin (lead guitar, mandolin, keys, and vocals) make up more than just a band known as The Dust Collectors. They’re a tight-knit group of lifelong pals who’ve graduated from garage bands to mainstream success with their music.
Each member of the band brings their own unique musical sensibility to the table throughout the composing process. As a consequence of working together to compose each song, their sound is complex and multi-dimensional.
The EP “Hanlon’s Razor,” released not too long ago, displays the band’s cohesive sound. Infectious rock rhythms, the raw emotions of folk storytelling, and the crest of country-tinged melodies will take you on a musical journey that will make you feel like you’re on an adventure. Similar to how an artwork reveals new details with each viewing. Excellent vocal harmonies, thoughtful lyrics, and captivating delivery.
Here, The Dust Collectors’ drummer Scott Stolee discusses the band’s origins, their creative process, and the meaning behind the songs on their album “Hanlon’s Razor.”
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Our influences are a bit all over the place, spanning everything from singer-songwriter folk music to heavy rock. Harmonies are a big part of what we are trying to do, so we look to some of the great bands who did multi-part vocals like The Band and CSNY.
What inspired you to write your latest album/song?
Early on in the band, Matt (lead guitar and one of our two main singer-songwriters) spent a year in Australia on an exchange. When he first arrived there he didn’t have a job or any friends, so naturally, he picked up an acoustic guitar and started writing.
Suddenly having more free time than ever meant a lot of room for inspiration, and that was certainly the case with Matt as he came back with a whole catalogue of new tunes for us to work on.
What message do you hope to convey through your music?
Honesty. We’re just trying to write songs that you can really believe when you listen to them. Just good, old-fashioned, real songs.
What was the most challenging aspect of recording your latest album?
If you have a choice between recording during a pandemic or not during a pandemic, I would definitely suggest not-pandemic! We booked, and then subsequently cancelled, studio time two or three times as the changing public health situation meant we couldn’t get together. Of course, we understood that this was a tiny sacrifice given what was going on in the world at the time, but it was pretty frustrating nonetheless.
What has been your favourite moment or experience as a musician so far?
The first thing that comes to mind for me is playing the Ship and Anchor (a long-time Calgary institution) on St. Patrick’s Day 2022.
Personally, it was my first time in a crowded bar in over two years, and I think that was true for a lot of folks in attendance. So we basically played to a crowd that had two years of pent-up partying energy, and it showed.
The crowd went wild, we really fed off that energy, and everyone had a fantastic night.
How do you balance your personal life with your music career?
We are pretty lucky in that we all have fairly successful careers outside of music, so none of us are relying on it to pay the bills. This means we don’t have to take ourselves too seriously, and we can play whatever we like if it sounds good to us.
It also means we don’t have to be playing shows all the time, so we get to be a bit picky and have been really fortunate to play some fantastic venues so far.
How do you handle negative criticism or feedback on your music?
I think a big advantage we have as a band is that there is a real lack of ego in the room. We have had friends make suggestions on songs that we ultimately ended up using. In the end, we are just trying to make the best tunes we possibly can, so if someone has a great idea to tweak a song we’ll take it no matter where it comes from.
Thankfully if there is some huge contingent out there that hates our tunes they have yet to tell us, and in the end, you just have to accept that you will never please everyone. So we just make music we like, and if others do not there are a million other bands out there for them!
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians trying to make it in the industry?
I first thought I’d say something high-level like “play music you really love”, but honestly if you’re trying to make it in the industry my advice would be “get back to people in a timely manner”. This is very often not the case with bands, and the people who book shows are going to gravitate towards the bands that make their life easier. So make their life easier and don’t make them wait!
The Dust Collectors are more than just another alternative folk band. They use their music to spread messages of love and unity. Their music helps listeners reflect on themselves and others.
Their music is a testament to the transformational potential of friendship and cooperation, showcasing the beauty that may result when creatives with varied viewpoints and experiences join forces. The best band you haven’t heard of yet, The Dust Collectors, have only just begun their exciting journey.