Canadian rock band Andre Pettipas and the Giants recently talked about how the band came together, their inspirations, the release of their new single “Homesick”.Canadian rock band Andre Pettipas and the Giants recently talked to ai love music via email about how the band came together, their inspirations, the release of their new single “Homesick” with Blind Melon member Christopher Thorn, and about their upcoming sophomore album No Fools No Fun. Check out what Andre Pettipas said about the meaning behind “Homesick” as well as how he and the band wrote the song. You can also listen to the band’s newest single down below and let me know what you think of it in the comments!
First of all, please introduce yourself! How did you become a band?
From the East Coast of Canada, Brothers Andre and Travis Pettipas join long-time friends Mark Cosh and John MacDonald to bring you “Grease Coast Rock N’ Roll”; sing along to anthem songs with earworm hooks. Their signature genre will reel you in and release you into a musical wave of southern rock that is heavily influenced by 90’s rock/pop and classic rock lovability.
The band formed in 2015 shortly after I was hospitalized with a brain virus called encephalitis. I was unable to work or drive for six months. This is when I began to focus on music wholeheartedly and realized it was the path for me to take. My brother, Travis (bass), was the first member of the project that turned out to be “Andre Pettipas and The Giants.” About two months after starting the project we began looking for a drummer, (oddly enough only a few days before we were supposed to head into the studio to begin tracking our debut album, Stay Gold.)
It was a Saturday evening and we were at our local haunt having a few cold ones when I noticed the drummer in the band playing was fantastic. I knew him from when we were in our early teen years playing shows in different bands. After the show, we chatted and I filled him in on the project and told him we’d love to have him come down and jam.
Two days later, we had our first band rehearsal as a trio. That was the day Andre Pettipas and The Giants were truly born. We set up in my parent’s basement as I’ve been doing since I was twelve years old and played all day working on arrangements on 4 songs that we would be recording over the following two days. We recorded the album and began getting to work on making a name for ourselves on the East Coast of Canada. Over the next few years, we gained traction with our energetic live show which helped us win multiple contests (q104 Homegrown Challenge, Jim Beam National Talent Search) and showcase internationally (Live at Heart Sweden.)
In 2018 we added a long-time friend, John MacDonald to the line-up to help broaden our sound. We began recording our sophomore album, No Fools No Fun, in 2019 at Chalet Studios in Uxbridge, Ontario with producer, Brian Moncarz (Alice Cooper, Our Lady Peace.) With the Global Pandemic delaying its initial release date of Spring 2020 we were able to spend that time to grow our fan base and the now July 9th release date is set in stone.
What musical genres or artists influence you?
The band’s musical taste is definitely “Rock” based. Our sound and influences come from southern rock, punk rock, hair bands, prog rock, and pop/rock. My all-time favorite band is Blind Melon because of the way they’re able to slither through so many sounds throughout a single track seamlessly. They have a way of keeping the listener interested and that’s such an important trait to have in a song. We are big fans of Foo Fighters, Nirvana, The Beatles, Guns N’ Roses, The Rolling Stones, Jason Isbell, Butch Walker, and pretty well 90% of any mainstream 90s pop/rock tune that has been put out (bands like Third Eye Blind, Our Lady Peace, The Gin Blossoms.)
Let’s talk about your latest single “Homesick”. What is it about?
My adult life has seen me on the road more often than not, whether it be with music or sheet metal work (day job) that has seen me away from home for months at a time. This definitely can take a toll on your mental well-being as you aren’t able to be around your family and friends for long periods of time. Missing those special occasions, good night kisses, morning coffee with your loved one; it’s the small things from a home life that you can easily take for granted.
The song comes to a realization in the bridge that even when things aren’t going so well that these people at home will be there for you, “When the lights fade and you’re still by my side” into life on the road “when I drift away into the night, thank you in advance through thick and thin.”
What inspired you to write the song?
The initial inspiration behind “Homesick” came from a tour we were on in Alberta in 2018 when we played a Wednesday night and had maybe a handful of people show up. I went back to the hotel room and the initial chorus line was written that evening. It was the only time in my life that I questioned if the music was the right thing for me to pursue. That feeling dissipated quickly.
It was actually a song that was taking a little nap in the band’s “Dropbox demos” folder as I hadn’t told or shown the boys it because it was sad and I didn’t think it would translate well into our sound. Mark (drummer) stumbled onto it one day and said to me, “Dude, what is this song?! It’s fantastic.” I never thought it would end up being a Giants song but man, am I ever glad I was wrong.
This was a song that stood out in the demos we sent to our producer, Brian Moncarz during the initial song selection for our upcoming album, No Fools No Fun. He loved the arrangement and felt many people could relate to that “Homesick” feeling. It doesn’t necessarily have to be missing your physical home. It is missing those people and things that make you feel at home.
What was the songwriting process like? What is the most important thing in the song; the melodies, the lyrics, or something else?
It started out with how a lot of our tracks begin. I’ll have the rhythm track/arrangement skeleton written then bring it to the band to start shapeshifting. Like a lot of our music, we like to focus on having a big chorus. We wanted to make the verses dark and mysterious sonically while bringing high energy with a huge chorus. After a few run-throughs in rehearsal, we knew we had a big track brewing.
To me, the most important part of music is the emotion in it. I’m a “vocals first” listener and I want an honest voice behind the music. I want to feel the pain, feel the happiness, and be taken to where the artist is at in their head. The song was recorded live off the floor which helps with this emotion and energy that is so important. Every stop and stab throughout the song is happening together, not overdubbed. To feel a band push and pull throughout a song is what separates a product that’s been overproduced/too saturated from something real and timeless.
What was it like working with Christopher Thorn from Blind Melon?
Being able to work with one of my heroes is definitely surreal. I’ve spent a stupid amount of hours listening to Blind Melon’s music over the years. Hearing CT’s slide guitar part for the first time on my in-ear monitors literally brought me to tears. We can’t thank our producer, Brain enough for lining up this collaboration. Chris recorded his parts at his studio, “Fireside Sound” in California which I hope to visit someday. His lead guitar in the chorus elevated the song to another level and really couldn’t have imagined the track sounding how it does without his part now.
What do you want listeners to listen to in your music?
I want the listeners to feel the emotion and energy we put forth in our music. I have a knack for dramatic flare and that’s why our music likes to teeter along the lines of “showboat and ship-wreck.” I feel like there is so much “safe” music nowadays and we’re missing those moments in songs that are fun, like that impromptu drum fill in John Cougar’s, “Jack and Diane.”
You are releasing a new album soon. Could you tell us a little bit about it?
No Fools No Fun reiterates the message for you to enjoy the journey…don’t worry about where you’re going.” Taking pride in our high-energy live show we wanted to recreate THAT — in album form.
While in Sweden showcasing at Live At Heart in 2018 we were contacted by producer, Brian Moncarz (Alice Cooper, OLP) who heard our single, “The Swedish Motel” on a radio show he heard in Toronto and was interested in hearing what was next.
After months of conversation and meeting in Toronto at CMW in 2019 we started tracking, “No Fools No Fun” live off the floor shortly after at Chalet Studio in Uxbridge.
The experience was nothing short of amazing; Having guests including Christopher Thorn (Blind Melon) who features on the upcoming single, “Homesick” and Eddy Ryuter (Sean Mendes) on “Gone” to having John AngusMacDonald of The Trews produce the first single from the album.
After the pandemic delayed the initial release date in spring of 2020, we kept busy with the video and livestream world connecting and growing our fan base as we are now set for the July 9th release and couldn’t be more thrilled to see light at the end of the tunnel.
Besides the album, anything in store for the future?
With the world looking hopeful for touring after the summer we are preparing for a cross Canada tour in mid-September and planning for Australia in early 2022. Hopefully, in 2022 we will also be able to plan a trip to showcase in Japan. We had an opportunity in October 2020 to showcase in Tokyo that was extinguished because of the ongoing pandemic. We are planning to release a live album in early 2022 followed by another studio album later that summer.
Lastly, do you have any words for the readers of ai love music?
I grew up on a dirt road that had 30 people living on it. I want to put forth the message that it doesn’t really matter where you come from, it’s about where you’re going. If you’re willing to persevere and breakthrough any barriers that may get in your way you will, one day make your dreams become a reality. Take educated chances and don’t let life slip you by because the biggest thing I’d ever regret is saying, “what if” as an old man. Invest in yourself.