It’s hard enough to get three groups of artists to agree on anything, but somehow, hip-hop collectives Pigeon Hole (Dusty, Marmalade), Dirty Circus (DJ Itchy Ron, Metty the Dert Merchant, Mos Eisley) and Innocent Bystanders (Mos Eisley, Conscience) could come to a consensus on something — their love of Bill Murray.
Not only can Vancouver’s Sweatshop Union, comprised of those three separate entities, come together in the spirit of the enigmatic actor, they named their new collaborative album after him.
“Bill Murray is just one of those things, when we’re backstage, it’s one of those conversations, it’s like the one thing we can all agree on — we all like him, we like his movies, we all agreed that if there was one person we could party with, it would probably be Bill Murray,” says Dusty. “I like his face. He’s got this ‘I don’t give a fuck’ outlook on his face all the time.”
The Bill Murray EP, officially released in May, marks a conscious move in a positive direction for the Union, with a shift to a writing style that is more optimistic and uplifting.
“In the past when we’ve worked on an album, everyone goes their repeated ways, works on their songs and brings them to the table, and what we liked ended up on the record. This one, we wanted to make an effort to have a more powerful, uplifting feel and approach to the songs,” says Dusty. “It’s not like we’re complaining about the situation we’re in and being down on ourselves, we were trying to almost trick ourselves and project ourselves into being more positive and furthering ourselves, if that makes any sense.”
Written over the winter months, Dusty says it was hard at times to remain in that positive frame of mind.
“I had to kind of trick myself to get into that mood and that zone to write the songs. At the end of it I felt like I had made myself feel more positive and that I was capable of doing more stuff. It actually worked.
“I would wake up in the morning, obviously I just wanted to sleep in, but I would force myself to get up every morning and sit down at the kitchen table and try to write and write and anything that wasn’t along those lines that we were going for, I would just scrap. I would throw it aside and make sure that the end result was something positive and uplifting.”
The end result is a refreshingly honest and inspiring wake-up call, exploring everything from apathy to the stress and responsibilities of being a first-time parent. There’s even tracks about John Lennon and of course, Bill Murray.
“‘Bill Murray’ was the last song we made for the record. We started work on it after we decided to call the album Bill Murray — we figured we needed a Bill Murray song,” says Dusty. “Through the process of trying to find a name for the album, we didn’t want a name that was going to make it cheesy, so we figured Bill Murray would be the perfect antidote to that situation. It makes no sense, but people like it, so I’m glad we rolled with it.”
The Bill Murray EP is also their first album without Kyprios, who left the group to pursue solo projects.
“He’s always been more inclined to do a solo thing and with this new record we wanted a focused sound and effort and because he was focusing on his solo effort we decided it would make the most sense if he just concentrated on that and we concentrated on the Sweatshop record,” says Dusty.
The album was recorded at the Creative Music Academy in North Vancouver, the Bill Murray EP was engineered and mixed by Jamie “Preme Diesel” Kuse.
You can catch all the Bill Murray antics of the Sweatshop Union, alongside Fight in the Fields, Tha Beat Assassins and DJ SPEEDY SHOES, at Sugar Nightclub on Canada Day. M
Friday, July 1, 9pm
Sugar Nightclub (858 Yates)
Tickets: $15 in advance at Lyle’s Place and Ditch Records.