WITCHPOLICE RADIO: Welcome to Witchpolice Radio. I'm here with a band that I haven't talked to in quite a few years now. It seems like it was yesterday, but because of the pandemic and everything, time has no meaning anymore. So it was actually, I think, like, four years ago now. But I'm here with the Rules, who were last in the podcast… we met up at a donut shop and talked about punk rock and your record that was out at the time and everything. And now you have new music coming, and it seems like a great time to catch up. So I think the best way to start this off is if the three of you want to introduce yourselves and what you do in the band so listeners can put a name to the voice. So whoever wants to go first, I'll just throw it out there.
KARLA: I'm Karla. I play bass and backup vocals.
KIM: I'm Kim. I sing and I play guitar.
JOHANNA. I’m Johanna. I play the drums.
WR: Cool. Okay, awesome. So that's who we're talking to today. And it's the same band members as last time, which is cool. It's not always the given you talk to someone four years later, but there's going to be the same band. But I guess maybe that's a good place to start, too, is how has your band been able to get through the past few years of sort of chaos where shows weren't happening, practices weren't happening. I know we're hopefully past all of that now, but you have a new album coming out. You must have been working on some of this throughout that period of awfulness. What was that like for the three of you?
KIM: Sorry, there's a cat walking through. This isn't a Zoom meeting without a catwalk.
WR: No, you need one of those.
KIM: I think the pandemic just slowed us down. It just stopped us. I don't think we ever we didn't break up. A lot of bands broke up and we stayed together, but we just had to put everything on pause, and then once we were able to do stuff, we just went and did it. That's basically how the pandemic affected us.
Yeah. I forgot what the question was.
WR: No, that was kind of what the question was.
Let me reword the question, because you have a new record coming out, and were these songs that you were working on prior to the pandemic, or are they all stuff that you've been able to put together sort of after?
KIM: Were all written prior to the pandemic?
I think we were playing most of these songs live at our shows before the pandemic ever happened. So when I say we put everything on pause, it was true. We didn't write any I mean, I don't think we wrote anything during the pandemic.
JOHANNA: I feel like we added a couple in pandemic, did we not?
KIM: We might have, but the ones we ended up recording were all songs we were playing live already or had been written already.
WR: So what does it feel like then, now these songs are finally getting to get out there in recorded form, and you've obviously had them sitting for a while in terms of wanting to presumably get them out there to listeners. Does it feel weird now that you're a few years on with some of these songs and they're finally going to see the light of day in a recorded form?
KARLA: Little bit. I think we're just finally like, hey, let's just do this, get it out, and maybe we're kind of over listening to them right now. But no, it's been time to get it out.
KIM: Yeah.Well, it's exciting because I think there's some of them that we've wanted to have everybody here for a while.
WR: Yeah, that makes sense. For people who've heard the first record, what is the difference as far as the sound of the band?
You you were nice enough to give me an advanced listen to the record, and I really like it. I like the previous one, so it's not a surprise, but I do have a lot of things I wanted to talk about regarding how it sounds. But just from your perspective, how has the band changed? How has the sound sort of developed over the time between the two releases.
KIM: Does anyone want to take that?
JOHANNA: I feel like the production is upped this time, and I feel like that's down to JP.
He just, like, amped up our sound.
WR: Yeah, well, that's something that I noticed as well, for sure.
I was trying to think of think of a way to say it, because saying it sounds polished is kind of like I don't want to be offensive because you're essentially a punk band and polished and punk rock don't necessarily go together, but it sounds bigger and it sounds tighter and bigger and louder. And that's obviously got something to do with it. It's just going to get him to put that together for you.
KIM: Well, that's JP. We did the first EP with him, but I think the second time around, he knew what we wanted in terms of, hey, we want to take this a step further. And I think that's literally what we said, and I think he made us sound amazing.
I'm still kind of blown away by how great it turned out.
WR: Yeah, it's really cool. I mean, comparing the two, I listened to the new one and then I listened to the previous EP, and, yeah, there is something it does sound, again, not polished, but it sounds like the production values have gone up. It sounds like it went from, like a $10 recording to $100 recording, if that makes sense.
JOHANNA: Ooh, ouch.
WR: I'm just using random numbers. I don't mean that in a negative… year $10,000 whatever.
KIM: I think that maybe the way I would describe it is the first record was kind of an experiment.
KIM: We were a brand new band and we just wrote a few songs and we were like, we want to record these. We didn't even have a sound yet. Whereas I think after a few years, bands develop a sound.
JOHANNA: Did we do it all in a day? The first time? We just went in the studio. We're like, what can we do? Two days? Oh, we did, right. Just vocals on the second day. I think so. And then the second time around was more than two days, but I don't know. Was it like four days, five days? I don't remember.
WR: But it was more that was a year ago.
KIM: We recorded it a year ago. So it's been a little while, but we definitely spent more time on it.
WR: Well, I mean, it comes through. And again, not to be here I am insulting you with the $10, $100 thing, but I meant comparatively.
JOHANNA: it was more expensive than that.
WR: Yeah, I believe it, but do you think that over that time, minus the pandemic, obviously, when you couldn't get together and rehearse and stuff, but do you think you've gotten tighter and just gotten better at writing songs together as a band?
KIM: Yeah, for sure. I think after a certain period of time, you know each other's language without having to say anything, I know that Johanna and I for sure have this thing where I'll just look at her like she's a guitar player, too. And sometimes I can't explain what I want and I'll just kind of look at her and go, I want this.. mleh. She'll go, oh, yeah, just do it like this. Or I'll add in like I don't think we had that in the very beginning and I think we have it now. What do you guys think?
KARLA: I agree. Yeah.
WR: Is the songwriting process any different this time around? Like, I mean, are you writing more collectively than maybe you would have the first time around?
JOHANNA: We actually have a couple this time around that weren't written by us.
JOHANNA: Which was exciting and cool to record songs that other people wrote and that.
KIM: In the first one brought to us sorry, go ahead.
WR: I was going to say the first one was all you guys, right? It was all original.
KIM: Yeah. Where did these ones come from this time? There was a couple of songs that were brought to us or given to us by a couple of friends and we just added what we could to make it a Rules song because we, of course, wanted it to be a Rules song, so we added to it. Anyone want to talk about those two songs? Yeah. Well say who was there?
WR: Say who made that was my next question. Actually.
KIM: The first song that we co wrote that was brought to us was from Mike Koop who showed up to one of our shows at the Royal Albert. I don't remember what year it was. Probably 2019.
I don't think it was earlier than that. But he just kind of came up to us after the show and just said, would you guys ever consider doing one of my songs?
Would you make it into a Rules song? And I was like, Mike’s been in so many bands in Winnipeg over the years and I knew he was a really good songwriter, so I said, yeah, of course. And we listened to it and ended up jamming it out and sent him a copy and said, what do you think of this? That's how that happened.
Do you want to talk about it? Yeah, we took a spin on it. You wrote the last verse and we things up and it was pretty fun. He's super stoked on it. He can't wait for it to come out.
KARLA: But then also, we found out after we were all excited. We're like, so nice of him. Oh, so nice of him. Can I say what we found out after?
KIM: I don't remember what we found out.
WR: Well, it's too late now. Now you have to say it.
KARLA: He had asked someone else to take it first.
WR: He's going around shopping his songs to people or something.
KIM: Did we ever verify that story?
KARLA: I don't know. I think he thought about it, but I don't know. So he's been trying to pawn this song off for a long time. Other people were the ones that finally took it. We got stuck with it and it's ours now.
WR: Yeah, I mean, if you're going to get someone to write a song for you, though, I mean, Mike Koop is like you said, he's been in so many local bands, and especially as far as writing, like, really hooky punk stuff, I mean, he's kind of the guy in Winnipeg who's been doing that for decades now.
KIM: He's so good at like many years ago, I was a band photographer and I would go to all the shows and take photos of bands. And I have a lot of photos of his bands in my archive. I have to pull them up. So funny. But anyway, does someone want to talk about and then the other song. It was an idea that two bands it was going to be Sawchuck and the Rules doing this one song.
We had kind of talked about the idea of kind of going back and forth and recording it. And then in the end, it kind of wasn't, I don't know, I guess a pandemic and everything. So it was like, hey, just take this song. So then we took it and kind of we had to change the lyrics. We changed some lyrics. I can't remember why. There's something that I was like I'm not saying that. Yeah, we didn't want to have all the drugs in there that they were I think the song was talking about doing a lot of drugs and I just said to like, I'm not saying that. Sorry.
So, yeah, we ended up just recording ourselves. But we did have John come in and do backup. Yeah, so that worked out really well. He's pretty stoked on it as well, too. Yeah, that was fun. And I think it just kind of turned out that way. We didn't plan like, oh, we're going to make an EP and we're going to put songs that we collaborated with two people on it.
It was just that we really liked those songs. That's why we chose them.
KARLA: We didn't think we were going to actually have time to record all those songs. It just kind of worked out. And John's song, I don't think we were going to try to record it and then we just somehow threw it in there as well. Oh, yeah, right. Yeah.
JOHANNA: We weren't even maybe going to record it.
WR: Well, it's cool that it works.
How do you make them into Rules songs? What do you have to do other than changing the drug references and the lyrics? What does it entail to make it sound more like a Rules song? What are you adding to it or changing the songs?
KIM: I don't remember specifically what we did with Mike's song, but I took it home and I think the last verse, I wrote the last verse, the rest of the lyrics were his.
And I think I was just writing about whatever I was feeling at the time, which I don't remember because that was quite a while ago.
And also just the way that we play our instruments, too, because he brought it to us as an acoustic song.
KIM: Very Mike Koop, right? Like, not the Rules. So we kind of changed that up a bit. But the essence is Mike Koop, though, for sure. Still, I think.
WR: Yeah, that's cool. Again, you picked, I think, some good choices as far as local people to collaborate with. I mean, those are both well known names within the music scene, at least, right. Especially the type of music that you play. What is sort of the plan once this comes out? I mean, I know it's sort of imminent, the release of the album. Do you have plans for a release show or anything like that?
KIM: Not yet.
WR: Not yet. To be determined.
KIM: To be determined. We're going to try and play a bunch of live shows this fall, so stay tuned. We don't have anything set in stone yet.
KARLA: Plan right now is to kind of release the song slowly and ideally have a few music videos. We did one so far. We'd like to do a few more. Ideally, we thought, oh yeah, we're going to do a video for every song. It's going to be awesome, but really not so much work to do.
KIM: It's a lot more work that goes into it than you would think. So that's turning out to not be what we're going to be able to do.
KARLA: But, yeah, it's so much work when really it was like all Kim's work, but there's a lot of work.
WR: Still work.
When you released the EP pretty previously. Not that I want to keep comparing the new one to the EP, but is the process different? I mean, this idea of releasing songs slowly and the videos and things like that. When you did the first one, did you just sort of release it all at once as an album and then this is a new strategy.
KIM: Sorry, there's a cat about to walk through here. I think when we made the first EP, we were just so excited to get it out, like a lot of bands are, because we recorded that in the summer of 2018, I think it was 2018, and put it out right in the fall. Whereas this one we recorded in the summer of 2022 and we're releasing it in the fall of 2023. So we really took our time with it.
JP spent a lot of time mixing, like far more time than we did with the other ones. And then Karla’s friend Daniel mastered it and he's over in Europe somewhere. Where is he?
KARLA: He's in Germany.
KIM: Yeah, he was in Scotland. And then we don't know where he is.
WR: Somewhere in Europe.
KIM: So then he mastered it. So our entire record was done in February, and then we just really slowly kind of started to think about what we wanted to do to release it. We weren't on any type of a timeline.
WR: It is yeah, it's what the kids do.
KIM: Now we're on no type of a timeline, but I was just noticing trends of people don't seem to just be releasing records anymore. They're putting out a lot of singles. So we thought, okay, well, let's try that. So we're releasing a single right now every two weeks, and then our record will come out on November 3. So that's a week after the last thing that comes out, I think.
KARLA: Whereas last time we did do one song early, and then we did a CD release.
JOHANNA: Oh, yeah.
KARLA: And then we just had the whole album out.
JOHANNA: That's right, we did.
WR: Have you got any reception from people about these new songs that people have heard them so far? Whether it's people, you know, or just random Internet weirdos?
KIM: Both. Yes.
WR: Has it been positive? I would assume that it's been positive.
KIM: It has been so far. I'm waiting for the negative comments, but yeah, I don't know. So far. So far. Good stuff.
KARLA: I've heard they feel like the songs are kind of more deeper or mature.
KARLA: Not like that, but just not so just kind of whatever. And poppy, I don't know.
KIM: I think maybe you can say that for some of them, but I still feel like I don't really go very deep with some of the lyrics. In some of them, not all. There's a couple that are still just like nursery rhymes. But yeah, maybe in a couple of them we went a bit deeper.
WR: Well, I think that maybe, just like from my listening to it, it seems like the hooks are bigger. If that makes sense. I don't know how to explain it other than that they're just more sort of present and obvious and earwormy, which is what you want out of a hook so that it obviously worked. But is that something that deliberately happened or is that just sort of the way that the songwriting has just gone?
JOHANNA: Yeah. Matuuured.
KIM: Was there a particular song that you found was an earworm?
WR: You know what? I was listening to it while I was working and so it was in the background and I would stop and go, oh, that was cool. But I wasn't looking at the song titles. So I will have to get back to you and actually listen to it while looking at the song titles and let you know which ones I'm referring to. But, yeah, it was good. It's cool to hear that. I think there's different progression from the first one to this one in terms of the sound quality and just playing and singing and songwriting and stuff. It's awesome.
KIM: Cool. I'm glad you like it.
WR: Yeah, I'm glad I got to hear it. I'm looking forward to seeing it get fully released to the world and seeing what people think about it.
Once this is out there…What do you do now? I mean, like you said, these songs have been sort of in the archive for a while.
JOHANNA: World domination.
WR: That's what I wanted to hear. I think that's the right answer. Yeah.
KIM: What Johanna said.
WR: How do you get from releasing the album on November 3 right, to world domination?
JOHANNA: I'm pretty sure it just happens. Like, I'm pretty sure that's the natural course things will just take right out of our hands after it releases. We just become world leaders.
WR: People will recognize just the glory of the album and it'll world leaders.
KARLA: We're going to be world leaders.
WR: Well, you wouldn't do any worse than the world leaders we have right now.
JOHANNA: So true.
WR: Probably not a bad idea.
KIM: Yeah, I don't know. Honestly, I don't know. You put your art out into the world and sometimes people like it and sometimes people don't. And we don't really have any control over what's going to happen, do we?
WR: No, you don't. And I know it's out of your hands once it's been released in the public. And I guess kind of what I mean by that is people know you in Winnipeg. People who have heard your first record, that they know who you are, they've seen you live. How do you find an audience nowadays? You're doing it the way kids are doing it. The kids are doing it these days with the releasing singles and stuff. But everyone and their dog and their dog's brother has an album and has a band and has a Bandcamp and is putting music out in the world and putting it on the internet.
And I'm glad I'm not in a band right now anymore, like I haven't been for years. Because the idea of trying to get people to hear my stuff among just the noise of everyone's records, how are you going to try and get yourselves heard.
Is there a strategy issue to that anymore in 2023?
KIM: I don't know. I don't know if we're trying to do that. Honestly.
I feel like our intention or mine anyway, let's write some great songs, let's record them, let's put them out.
I'm only speaking for myself though. What do you think?
KARLA: Yeah, I think in the end it'd be nice if people hear it but we kind of just did it for ourselves. We got it out there but we are trying different the college radio and we tried to do some boost posts to see that expand the reach on Instagram to get people to see our videos and hopefully that will help out as
KIM: yeah like we're doing what we can here and there but we're not.
I don't know, I guess we don't really have much of a plan for world domination.
KARLA: It would be nice to get on some know even in Europe or somewhere else as well. Just to kind of get it out. I mean at the end of the day it's our art and we'll just have it out for ourselves. Just saying that hey we did this here it is kind of thing.
KIM: What do you think Johanna?
Although if you have any ideas how do you think we can get it out? We’ll take them.
It is fun to get it out. What are we not doing?
WR: I don't know. I'm sitting here trying to get people to listen to my stupid podcast. The wrong person to ask.
KIM: I'm just putting this out to the universe but I would love to go on tour with a more established band just to have that experience playing really big shows.
Universe listen to me.
WR: Well maybe that's how you become world leader. Someone else takes you along and then you use that towards world domination.
KIM: Right? Yeah. I think we need to get onto somebody's coattails for a little bit.
WR: Yeah, it's a good plan.
People who haven't heard you before or are you hearing about you for the first time on this episode, what's the best way to check out your music at this point?
KIM: To check out our music?
WR: I mean by the time someone hears this, I mean the record will be either almost out or already out, depending when they listen.
What's the best way to sort of find you on the vast craziness that is the internet and hear your stuff?
KIM: So we're on Instagram. We're the Rules Winnipeg. We're only on two social media platforms, so we're on Instagram and Facebook, and it's only because we just have no attention span and we can't do more than two. So we're on those two as the Rules Winnipeg. And I believe that both have links to all of the digital platforms. So we're on Spotify, we're on Apple Music, we're on Amazon. Like anything you can think of. And as well. Oh, and Bandcamp. We're on Bandcamp, too.
They can listen to us, all the platforms.
WR: Is this one coming out as a physical release as well, or is it just digital?
KIM: Not yet. No, it's so far not coming out as a CD, and we've gotten a little bit of shit for that.
JOHANNA: Um, from who?
KIM: Oh, Mike Koop for one.
WR: well, I agree with Mike Koop.
You got to put out a physical… some of us don't know how to use Spotify.
KIM: So I promised him that I would somehow get him an actual CD.
JOHANNA: I secretly want. It's not really that secret now. It's on a podcast, but I secretly want a cassette.
KARLA: I'd love to do a split with another band. Like two songs each.
Little seven inch.
I know it's expensive, but that's a pipe dream. I've always wanted to have something on vinyl that I've done that would be so cool.
KIM: I love physical media, but right now it didn't make much cheaper. Spend the money on CDs. We still have tons of CDs from our last release. It's like they're just sitting I don't know, silly coasters. They're coasters, basically.
WR: I think everyone has that, though. Everyone who's ever been in a band has a box of CDs or tapes or whatever sitting around somewhere gathering dust. And eventually I'll find them all at a thrift store and buy them because I can't help myself.
So do you have any shows coming up in the near future? I mean, again, someone could hear this anytime, but at the time we're recording this, is there anything coming up soon?
KARLA: Yeah, we're playing a house party on gate night in St. James.
Some local bands. That'll be fun. Actually, there's a band from Minneapolis as well.
And then we are playing a show we just got asked to play December 22 with some bands at the Park Alley.
KIM: Yeah, that'll be fun.
WR: Yeah, bowling and music is always a good combination.
KIM: It's like that movie Josie and the Pussycats where everyone's bowling and they're trying to just play their songs and get their attention, and no one's paying attention. I can't wait.