"There is so much killer music that comes out of here, and always has. It’s amazing to join in on the tradition of West Virginia music."
And today's interview is with a modern Southern rock band who do just as their birthplace suggests: holler. This... is Ducain.
How did the band start out?
Jeremy Sargent and Jared Holley had been putting on two-man jam sessions for years after meeting and bonding over music while working at a small gas station in Ona, West Virginia. Brandon McCallister and Rich Mills had been playing together for years in church bands. It just so happened that Jeremy and Brandon met and began talking music, and each one brought their friend into a couple of jam sessions that turned into a steady gig.
Where does the band name come from?
Jeremy’s dad was in a band called Outlaw Cain during the early ‘90s through around 2000. They played regionally, covering southern and classic rock as well as playing originals. This band is where Jeremy solidified his love for music watching his dad play.
When our band first formed, we went nameless for the better part of a year, we were even playing open mic shows without a name because nothing hit us quite right. One night, we were sitting in the studio after an ill-fated recording attempt, looking up landmarks in and around West Virginia, when Jared’s girlfriend found Fort Duquesne in Pittsburgh. We loved the sound of the word itself, but we didn’t have any connection to it. When it was mentioned to Jeremy, he immediately made the connection to Outlaw Cain. We changed the spelling and ran with it.
How has Ducain’s music changed over time (if at all)?
We started out as a smooth blues band following Brandon’s influence, but after everyone began adding in their own flavors and Jeremy began writing more, we started to swing towards this modern Southern rock thing. A lot of the songs on our first album (which we’re set to release soon) are in that Southern/arena rock spectrum. After recording and waiting on post-production to finish up, we’ve gotten even more on the Southern rock side in our recent writing.
What’s been the highlight of your musical journey thus far?
Really the highlight has been making music with good people. You can’t beat that. If you’re playing to a room of 10 people or a crowd of 150 people, you have to enjoy the people that you’re playing with. We all have really different personalities and watching those differences gel into a creative hive-mind has been amazing.
What’s your best advice to anyone starting to make music?
Just do what you like. Play what you want. Experiment. If you like jamming in the backroom with a couple of buddies and never plan to play a show, that’s fine. If you want to go hit the stage and tour the world, then that’s awesome as well. Just do what you like. Also, don’t let anybody tell you that there isn’t room for you or what you’re doing in a particular scene. West Virginia’s music scene is big enough and diverse enough to facilitate all of us. You’ll find your place. Just keep working.
What’s it like making music in West Virginia?
Making music in West Virginia is a dream. We love being from here. We are proud to be from West Virginia. There is so much killer music that comes out of here, and always has. It’s amazing to join in on the tradition of West Virginia music. The scene that has been built in Huntington fosters creativity so thoroughly that the city is literally oozing it right now. The connections that you’re able to build in this town are super helpful and really heartwarming.
Do you feel held back by being in West Virginia? Or does it feel like a musically-supportive place?
It’s really supportive. Especially in Huntington. When you play a show there, the crowd is 40% musicians from other bands that are there supporting the scene.
What, in your opinion, needs to happen in the West Virginia music scene for it to move forward?
I think that things like this program are doing a great job at moving WV music forward. Mountain Stage featuring several West Virginia artists in the last year or so has really helped to spread our profile across the country. So, you guys are kind of the engine to this bus at the moment. Other than that, I think getting more people out to shows, stacking shows with local talent, and maybe starting those shows a little earlier can help us all out.
Ducain’s latest release is the Getaway EP. Keep an eye (and ear) on the band’s social media for their upcoming full-length (which was recorded with Ona’s Max Nolte). Hear more #WVmusic on A Change of Tune, airing Saturday nights at 10 on West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Connect with A Change of Tune on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And for more #WVmusic chats, make sure to go to wvpublic.org/wvmusic and subscribe to our RSS / podcast feeds.
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