Five Questions With… Paul DesLauriers

Three years after the release of its acclaimed album Relentless, Montreal’s The Paul DesLauriers Band is back with an ambitious new album Bounce, available now through Bros Records.

Bounce was recorded during breaks from the Maple Blues Award-winning group’s extensive 2018 Canadian, US, and European tours, with the trio laying down 13 new songs—the lone cover being Anthony Duster Bennett’s Jumpin’ At Shadows, popularized by the original Fleetwood Mac led by Peter Green.

Deeply anchored in the blues-rock idiom, Bounce finds guitarist/vocalist Paul DesLauriers, drummer Sam Harrisson, and new bassist Alec McElcheran achieving a level of musical chemistry and camaraderie that is undeniable.

The band is currently back on the road in Europe and the US before they get to meet their Canadian fans on summer dates across Canada. This November, they will also take part in shows at Quebec City’s Palais Montcalm to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Deep Purple’s groundbreaking Concerto for Group & Orchestra album that will feature Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson joining L’OrchestreSymphonique de Québec under the direction of Paul Mann.

We caught up with Paul DesLauriers to talk about the band’s progress, and for more info go to pauldeslauriersband.com.

 

What makes Bounce different from your past work? 

We recorded live off the floor, as with our other albums, but this time we did the recording ourselves at our drummer Sam Harrisson’s home in Montreal. The songs would get written and recorded on the spot, whereas with our previous albums we’d go into a studio once the material was put together and rehearsed. I believe you feel a sense of spontaneity on this record. The songs are raw, yet there’s a fresh energy about them. 

What songs on the record are you most proud of and why?

The song Waiting On You is a favourite of mine, simply because it came together so quickly. I had this idea for a song I’d written years ago and brought it to the band. We developed a form after just playing it a few times, but as we were rehearsing I broke a string on my main guitar. We only had about ten minutes left to work, so I grabbed another guitar that was lying around, a Hagstrom that belongs to our drummer. We played it through with no pressure, and upon listening to that recording the next day, we realized it had all the feel and emotion we were looking for in that track. Sometimes, when you play without expecting results, you play more freely, and you’re in the moment. That’s when the magic happens. 

How would you describe your artistic evolution so far? 

I believe for us it’s all been about sticking to our guns and believing in what we do, and having confidence that we know what works best. Trusting ourselves and knowing how we should sound has brought us to the point where we know how to record and capture the essence of the band in the studio. The band has had its own sound from the beginning and I feel like there is still so much to explore as our songwriting matures. 

What's been the most significant change in your life over the past year?

Professionally, the biggest change has been a change in our line-up. Alec McElcheran joined us midway through the making of Bounce and he’s brought a real freshness to the band, both musically and personally. He’s been in the family for a long time, collaborating with me on lyrics since the first album and occasionally playing bass with us live. Now he’s a permanent member of the band and it’s been very positive in every aspect for us. 

On a personal level, it’s been a very challenging year. I suffered a brain injury from a fall I took while on tour last August. I was bedridden for almost a month before I had to get back on the road for a tour in Europe. I’m still suffering from post-concussion syndrome nearly a year later, so I’ve had to modify my life and be much more conscious of when I need to rest, otherwise the symptoms return with a vengeance.  

On a happier note, I got engaged this year as well, so that’s been a source of solace and joy. It’s been an eventful year to say the least!

What's your best touring story?

I like to think that still being in the game after over thirty years on the road is the best touring story of all. I’ve been very lucky, I’ve had more than a few close calls out there and I’m very grateful to be still able to go out and perform for people and feel the love they give us in return. Surviving it all is a success story all on its own.

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