I COME ALIVE
A CONVERSATION WITH ONE BAD SON’S SHANE CONNERY VOLK
Formed in 2004, Saskatoon’s One Bad Son has grown to become cult icons among the Canadian rock scene. Having released six records between 2006 and 2017, things have been quiet on the band’s end in the past three years. That has changed with “I Come Alive”, their first single in six years. Lead vocalist Shane Volk reflects on the making of their new release and the band’s need for pause preceding “I Come Alive”.
Opening with up-tempo and cutting drums, “I Come Alive” is led by melodic guitars that are nostalgic for classic alternative rock outfits of the likes of I Mother Earth and Our Lady Peace. Volk’s vocals follow a distinct melody before the song erupts into a larger-than-life chorus where his vocals grow into a bellowing roar. Topped off with a climactic guitar solo, “I Come Alive” is a triumphant return for One Bad Son, one which should leave their audience excited. Reflecting on how the song took shape, Volk remembers, “it was a little guitar riff I had kicking around. I was working with Tara [McLeod, guitarist] on it and anything worthwhile we’d shoot over to Kurt [Dahl, drummer] and, when he put those drums on it, we knew we had to make this one happen.” Lyrically, the song followed an experimental path for Volk, as he describes, “This was a different experience for me. I normally come in with the lyrics and melodies ready for the studio, but with these tunes, “I Come Alive” specifically, I wanted to listen to what the band was doing, how the music was forming to inform the lyrics. It really paid off for the song. The lyrics really capture the moment for the band; this feeling of rebirth, this feeling of being brand new in a way.” He continues, “I always came into recording with a feeling that I needed to be overprepared. For lack of a better term, I never wanted to be caught with my pants down at the mic with nothing to say. This time, everything felt so creative with Kurt and I, Tara, and Ryan [Kuly, bassist] that I just knew I was going to get it. There was this feeling that it wasn’t time to worry about the lyrics until the music was formed.”
“I Come Alive” follows a lengthy period without releases from One Bad Son. Six years without new music is a long time for any band, no matter what level you’re at. Volk states, “2019 was a huge year for us, we got our first number one, we had a big US tour. It really felt like a culmination of the past 17 years.” Such progress however came at a cost of creativity, “Kurt likes to say, and I agree that we ‘forgot how to write music’. You get so inundated with writing for radio and people getting in your head asking ‘do you want a Juno? Do you want to be on radio? You need to have that.’ We had hit a point where there was just so much noise surrounding expressing yourself and seeing what comes out of that.” With the touring industry coming to a halt in 2020, the band took it as a moment to collect themselves and subconsciously assess how they were to move forward. “…we felt like a new version of this band, we were new versions of ourselves… It sounds so cliché, but we wanted to just let things happen without steering them towards anything. For once in a very long time, instead of trying to control everything, we wanted to just let it happen when writing and recording.” The result is “I Come Alive”, at least one track recorded by Toronto based producer Brian Moncarz.
With a handful of live dates set for November and December in Alberta and Saskatchewan, One Bad Son is slowly returning to full form once again. Humbly, Volk exclaims “what a gift it is to get to still do this. The fact that, after almost 20 years, we have a huge fanbase, we have people that want to hear new music and still stream our old music, we came to that realization that it is such a gift to just go and play shows and be able to.” With “I Come Alive”, One Bad Son has returned in spectacular fashion with a single that lives up to the hype that comes with six years between releases. Most importantly, the band seems to be operating better than before, which should leave listeners excited for what else is to come from One Bad Son in 2024.