Photo: Ronnie Lee Hill
Photo: Ronnie Lee Hill

Five Questions With... Ryan Dahle of Limblifter

When Limblifter’s self-titled debut album was released in 1996, it marked a change in direction for Ryan Dahle and his brother Kurt following the dissolution of Age Of Electric, the hard rocking outfit they’d formed with the Kern brothers, Todd and John. Limblifter showcased a more melodic, power pop approach, and it was hardly a surprise that Kurt Dahle was also soon drumming for fellow Vancouverites The New Pornographers.

Yet, a cult following continued to grow around the first Limblifter album, which spawned the radio hits “Tinfoil” and “Ariel Vs. Lotus,” and now after 20 years the band is once again celebrating the record’s legacy with a run of Canadian shows.

While the impetus for the tour was that anniversary, Limblifter is still one of Ryan Dahle’s going concerns. The band’s current line-up, rounded out by bassist Megan Bradfield, drummer Eric Breitenbach and keyboardist Gregory Macdonald, recently released a fourth studio album Pacific Milk, and Dahle has been keeping busy with the band Mounties and a brief Age Of Electric reunion.

But Limblifter has grown to become Dahle’s primary outlet, even as its membership has become fluid. The band’s resume at this point is certainly impressive, highlighted by two JUNO nominations, with the recent accolade being a Western Canadian Music Award nomination for their latest video, “Hotel Knife.”

In the end, it’s been Limblifter’s commitment to creating catchy guitar pop that has maintained the band’s niche within the Canadian indie scene. Ryan Dahle took a few minutes on the eve of the tour to reflect on how the past two decades unfolded, and what potentially lies ahead. 


What motivated you to celebrate the debut album, and what in your view makes it stand up after 20 years?

The idea of playing the first album in its entirety surfaced a few years ago when we re-released it on vinyl. Our manager Eric Warner revisited the idea to do some 20th anniversary shows and we were all onboard.


What's the biggest difference between the Ryan Dahle who made Limblifter and the Ryan Dahle who made Pacific Milk?

I don't see myself as someone who fears change but I do live in the same house as I did back then. I'm a little less angry, I can grow a beard if need be and now I own my own studio, so I can record anytime. I'm just as confused and driven to make songs though.


You've also recently played with Age Of Electric. What was that like?

Weird, surreal, I liked it. It's an indescribable sound—the new material seems to be the driving force behind it happening. We are hoping to release 4 or 5 new songs soon.


What has been your most memorable experience while touring in Canada?

If by memorable you mean almost meeting our makers, it was hitting a moose near Wawa, Ontario in the middle of the night. Or it was sliding down a mountain highway in the Rockies in the dead of winter. As a Canadian musician, there are some months that scare you just looking at the tour calendar.


If there is anything you'd like to change about the music industry, what would it be?

I would remove the pandering to what musicians and industry perceive as successful. Success is good music, and as Canadians, we want to champion great art and great music and continue to be respected as a place that nurtures many cultures. 


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