After reopening under new management with a new look and feel, the Station Neighbourhood Pub is even putting a new twist on Halloween celebrations by delivering a different kind of sound for the ghoulish yearly tradition. The musical duo that makes up Chimney Swallows will be playing a multi-set show on Wednesday, October 31 at the Station and singer/songwriter Raghu Lokanathan describes what they do as a theatrical combination of folk traditions, reggae, hip hop and more.
“We feel out the room we’re playing and if it seems like more of a listening songwriting environment then we play something mellower but we certainly have livelier things we can flow in too,” Lokanathan said. “Generally what we do together is get up there and try to have some kind of conversation with the audience.”
He and his stage buddy Corwin Fox have been playing together for about ten years, and touring for the last six, but it was only recently that they gave the name Chimney Swallows to their touring act, after the birds that live near where Fox resides on Vancouver Island.
“They all swoop around chimneys then suddenly all dive in to nest,” Lokanathan said. “That was kind of a thing that we both found amazing and so it seemed good to give your band a name after something you find amazing.”
Fox, a resident of Vancouver Island, is a recording engineer while Lokanathan is based in Prince George where he works as a music teacher — he also plays in a big band, hosts open mics and tours as a solo artist.
“We both make our living in some configuration of music making,” he said.
Lokanathan is an accomplished guitar, banjo and accordion player while Fox plays guitar, mandolin and ukelele. BOth sing harmonies and are “quite obsessed with words,” Lokanathan said.
The two musicians met in passing about ten years ago in Smithers, then started collaborating musically after they both moved to Victoria, where they played the first gig together — a picket line during a strike at Victoria Public Library, where they worked at the time.
Since then, they’ve toured throughout B.C., playing clubs, festivals, cafes and house concerts. Even after Lokanathan moved to Prince George, the two have continued to tour a couple weeks of the year each spring and fall.
“I think we’re both kind of preoccupied by how fantastic everything is,” said Lokanathan.
Their Invermere show is part of a wider tour that’s taking them to numerous B.C. towns throughout October and November and is showcasing their newly released self-titled debut album, comprised of a combination of songs Fox and Lokanathan have written respectively as well as the beginnings of their co-writing.
“It wasn’t until earlier this year that we actually wrote a song together,” said Lokanathan. “In a way that’s what crystallized in a sense that we had a project on our hands and not just a tour thing.”
The live entertainment by the Chimney Swallows on Halloween night is set to start around 8 p.m. at the Station Neigbhourhood Pub in Invermere and Lokanathan said the plan is to play a couple sets for about three hours. To get a sense of what each artist is bringing to the show, check out Lokanathan’s solo work at www.raghumusic.com and Fox’s other collaborative project Morlove at www.myspace.com/morlovemusic.