After a five-year hiatus, Juno Award-winning songwriter Julie Doiron is ready to make a noisy return, teaming up with singer-songwriter Eamon McGrath and members of Toronto punk band Cancer Bats to release a self-titled album as Julie & the Wrong Guys.
At first glance, it might seem like a curious mashup of styles: a soft-spoken singer-songwriter fronting a hardcore band. One has to think back to the ‘90s and remember that Doiron started her career as founding member of legendary East Coast indie rockers Eric’s Trip.
“It’s kind of ironic that people refer to me as a solo performer or singer-songwriter because that’s not what I feel that I do,” she says via press release. “I made a couple of quiet records after Eric’s Trip broke up because I didn’t want to try to replicate it. Then I played with The Wooden Stars and made two quiet records after that. Every time I’ve ended a collaboration I’ve done that, and people still pigeonhole me as a singer-songwriter, but I love playing loud, heavy music.”
The Wrong Guys, made up of McGrath on guitar along with Mike Peters on drums and Jaye Schwarzer on bass, formed in 2011 during Doiron’s two-year stint living in Toronto. After asking them to join her for a series of shows, the quartet immediately clicked. They ended up recording a two-song 7”, and touring Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes.
Julie & The Wrong Guys was recorded at the Peters’ family cabin in Manitoba, where the band regrouped to write songs (Doiron resides in Sackville, N.B., while the band lives in Toronto). In the quiet of the wilderness, they were able to focus completely and record the album without the distractions of modern life.
“We essentially worked on the record for 12 to 14 hours per day” says McGrath. “It was disciplined but there was no whip cracking. The environment was very tranquil, beautiful, and secluded. There was no cell reception and we didn’t have anything else to do but write.”
The band’s chemistry and energy is evident on the album’s driving first single, “You Wanted What I Wanted.”
For Doiron, who has done many collaborations throughout her storied career, working with the Wrong Guys feels like a natural fit.
“Even if I never collaborated [before] I could have just breezed into this band,” says Doiron “Whatever is going on in my life before meeting up with them, I don’t feel stressed out or like I have a million things to do. We just make music and it’s super fun.”