Eco-warriors and musicians, Victoria-based Carmanah hope to inspire others to care a little bit more about the planet.
Drawing inspiration from the destruction of the earth, the band, headed by singer-guitarists Laura Mina Mitic and Pat Ferguson take action through their music.
“If a song leads to challenging conversations and gives people the power to think and influence the world a bit and take an activist role, that excites me and my band mates. When we are up on a stage we make sure we are doing more than just partying. We take a bit of responsibility to connect with people in a different way too,” said Mitic.
Their single Nightmare, from their debut album, Speak in Rhythms, is currently climbing the charts. Mitic’s voice elevates ethereally over the folk-rock infused melodies. The lyrics are inspired by the old growth forests near Victoria, B.C. that are being depleted.
“They are the victims of greed and shortsightedness about environmental disasters. We keep seeing this happen and can’t help but feel helpless, and there’s like not necessarily anything you can do,” said Mitic. “(Nightmare) is a wake up call and even if you close your eyes it’s still there.”
The band is dedicated to nature and the environment, incorporating it into its lyrics and sound. Its tour bus runs on vegetable oil from local restaurants and the band sticks to a low-waste lifestyle on and off the road.
“No one is perfect. On the road we are five people,. We have a footprint, but it’s fun to challenge yourself,” said Mitic, who is currently on tour with band members Ferguson, Marek Olsen, Mikey Baker and Graham Keehn and opening for Vancouver’s Hey Ocean!
After founding Carmanah with Ferguson years ago, the pair have now found a perfect match to create their signature earthy, layered sound. Working with a producer for the first time, Mitic says it has taken their songs to the next level with a little fine tuning.
“We are definitely evolving, our last album showcased how we have evolved musically, lyrically and kind of personally too. It allowed us to tap into our creative energy that allowed us to create something we are proud of and release it to the world.”
When Mitic and Ferguson started Carmanah, they had a folk influence and a country twang, but in the last few years they have welcomed rock-n-roll and soul to bring out an edgier bite to their music.
“There are still some songs that have a more heavy folk or country influence, said Mitic. “We enjoy mixing the genres and that free range to move around. It’s a little bit more edgy now and we are influenced by soul and vintage rock-n-roll.”
They have been experimenting to find that vintage feel they have been craving from playing in the studio with vintage amplifiers and Ferguson’s shift to electric guitar.
“We turned it up a little,” said Mitic.
Their new sound flows easily with their activist message to save the planet, making activism more approachable while Carmanah leads by example to a greener future.
“No matter who you are, you have something to give. Everyone can be an activist in their own way,” said Mitic.
Carmanah will play The Habitat in Kelowna with Hey Ocean! Saturday Nov. 24. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are avilable from Ticketfly.
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