The Norman Transcript

Sound Advice by Doug Hill

March 10, 2014

Redrick Sultan bring trippy Canadian music to Norman

Redrick Sultan is a cerebral rock trio from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, looking forward to their triumphant return to Norman. The band consists of singer and guitarist Spencer Hargreaves, drummer and sampler Sean Mitchell and Noah Jordan on bass and flute. All in their mid-20s, they’ve been making music together since they were early teenagers.

Redrick Sultan have played here three times previously and developed an enthusiastic fan base. They’re booked for a show at The Deli on March 18.

“We try to get people dancing a lot of the set and keep it exciting throughout,” Hargreaves said. “Norman has been great every time that we’ve been there. We’ve always had a fun time, there were lots of people there and the response was good. It’s one of the places on the tour we’re most looking forward to because it was positive in the past.”

Redrick Sultan is on a 50-plus date marathon that started out in the Pacific Northwest roared down to SXSW and heads back to north to Chicago before concluding in mid-April.

“We have an attitude of wanting to work hard and bring our A game every night,” Hargreaves said. “There was a lot involved in recording and making this tour happen.”

The trio plays a courageous flavor of progressive rock with elements of folk and jazz. Their sound is occasionally discordant with cryptic lyrics. Songs such as “Recurring Mimosa” have an almost religious quality, as if a group of hipster monks were chanting and playing slowly in an electro-acoustic monastery. “Devil’s Diamonds” could be the Canadian musicians escaping from a great southern Satan intent on capturing them at some mythic crossroads. It’s all pretty trippy.

“Our songs are sometimes based on stories and particular experiences we’ve had using narrative,” Jordan said. “And sometimes they’re based on abstract ideas, or trying to paint a picture of imagery to describe feelings instead of telling a story.”

Girls definitely figure into the picture. He was philosophical about the band’s intents and how they can best relate to audiences.

“It’s all about our approach to all the different situations that life brings and how they relate to music and the interconnectedness between us and the people we’re playing for,” Jordan said. “We try to challenge each other and move each other forward in a lot of ways.”

This is the band’s fourth long tour and they cited travel as having a profound impact on their music.

“The places in the United States we’ve been are so different from each other, from plains and forests to desserts,” he said. “There are so many cities and so many different cultures here. It gives me a perspective on where I grew up in Vancouver.”

He described Canada’s vastness as being more than geographical, the cultural diversity from west to east is enormous as well.

“But just in terms of highway distance we’re much closer to Texas in Vancouver than to the eastern cities of Canada,” Jordan said.

Constant gigging hasn’t been without its lessons.

“Every night is different in a lot of ways,” Jordan said. “There seem to be different expectations in every room. Some things work better than others . Some crowds want to dance and have all the music upbeat and some want music that’s softer or more psychedelic.”

Based on this Redrick Sultan has become adept at adjusting their set to these audience mood variations.

"Sometimes we can read the room and figure out the vibe right away,” Jordan said. “Other times there’s an error figuring it out, so it’s definitely a learning process.”

Jordan likes what he’s doing right now with Redrick Sultan. Brunch that morning had been interrupted for this interview in Albany, Calif., where they were but he didn’t mind. It’s part of the life of a traveling troubadour.

“I feel like it’s a good way for me to explore the different questions of the universe,” he said. “I’ve always been drawn to math and theology and that in combination with music have been the three big influences in my life. Touring brings all those things together and it has been exciting and interesting.”

If You Go

What: Redrick Sultan in concert on two consecutive nights.

When: 10 p.m. March 18

Where: The Deli, 309 White St.

Cost: $5

Redrick Sultan from the great north.


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Sound Advice by Doug Hill