The Middle Coast takes its sound to Japan

Local band travelling to drum up new audiences

From JUNOfest to Japan, local pop-rock band The Middle Coast is keeping up its tradition of touring.

The three-piece band, consisting of Dylan MacDonald, Liam Duncan, and Roman Clarke, is starting a 10-stop tour through Japan April 5. The tour announcement came alongside the news that The Middle Coast has signed with Japanese label Moorworks for the release of their next album.

“Stuff like this, the Japan thing, we have no idea what it’s going to be,” Liam Duncan, keyboardist and bass player said.

“There might be no one there. Probably there’ll be some people there. Hopefully.”

Duncan said they have been paired with many local Japanese bands for the tour.

“It’ll kind of be like old times in Canada, except we’re trying it out in Japan instead,” Duncan said.

“And we’re lucky to have a lot of grant support from, especially, Manitoba Film and Music, to be able to go and do it.”

The Middle Coast has been playing Canadian tour dates regularly over the past year. The band had a jam-packed 2017, logging over 70,000 kilometres and playing 150 tour dates. The band toured the west coast with Michael Bernard Fitzgerald more than once, released its debut album, and performed at several summer festivals.

Duncan said the way the band tours has changed since they started out. At the beginning of the band’s career, they toured “for the sake of touring.”

“We were living in Brandon and we were super young, so we didn’t really know what else to do, so we just toured, like a lot,” he said.

“Lately we’ve been dialing it back, because eventually [we’ve been] starting to focus on tours that are going to have more of an impact, rather than just touring for the sake of it.”

Though The Middle Coast is being selective about shows, the trio did not hesitate to accept the opportunity to tour Japan.

“The worst that could possibly happen was we lose a little bit of money and have a really interesting experience,” Duncan said.

Until now, The Middle Coast has been an independently-managed band. Partnering with Moorworks is their first experience working with a tour manager.

“They book everything, they book all your accommodations, a bunch of promo, and then you just go and hope for the best, basically,” Duncan said.

The band just returned to Winnipeg after performing at JUNOfest and spending time in the studio in Vancouver. Clarke and Duncan said they chose to record in Vancouver because they have a favourite studio there. It was only afterwards that they realized the JUNO Awards were happening while they were in Vancouver.

“We were actually already out there recording, and then we just were like ‘Oh, the JUNOs are happening, I wonder if we could play JUNOfest and then someone figured that out for us,” Duncan said.

Clarke joked that “We just showed up at the venue and was like, ‘Hey guys, can we play?’”

The Middle Coast will be doing a short tour of Alberta after returning from Japan in late April.