Getting Tour Ready with Ian Casselman
Along with Josh Ramsay, Ian Casselman is one of the longest standing members of the Vancouver-based band, Marianas Trench. Ian has been their drummer since the early days, when Marianas Trench was once known as “Ramsay Fiction”. When that version of the group underwent some changes, Ian explained that Ramsay and Matt Webb had gone to high school together so “Josh asked Matt to join the band”. Then Ian found out that Mike Ayley was the final piece of the puzzle. Having played in a band together before, Ian asked Mike to audition for Marianas Trench because they were in need of a “wicked bass player” and Mike “crushed it, of course”.
Marianas Trench celebrated the tenth anniversary of their debut album, Fix Me in 2016. Casselman said this was “hard to believe, but we're still young and we love what we do”. 2016 also saw the band wrap up their “Never Say Die Tour”. Shortly after, they began “Marianas Trench and the Last Crusade” which is still ongoing. It will be followed up in May with their European tour named, “The Final Countdown”. When asked what keeps the band motivated in terms of doing back to back shows, besides playing music and traveling, Ian answered that it was the fans.
“They seem to love what we do and they give it their all at our concerts so we have to give back as much as we can…. Playing shows is probably the most rewarding for us. Getting to see your fans over and over again and becoming friends with a lot of the people who come out to the shows has been a great experience in my life. I'm extremely looking forward to going back to Europe, it's such an amazing place and people over there are quite forward-thinking and open-minded, and it's very refreshing. Touring in Europe has been a lot of fun mainly because we're hitting cities we've never played before, and for most of us, never even been to before. It’s a brand new experience but the fans are crazy-passionate and we love it over there.”
Even though Marianas Trench has made a name for themselves world-wide, their “Trencher” fan base is sure to expand as they continue to tour and make music. With the idea that new listeners are still out there and discovering the band for the first time, Casselman carefully thought about what he wanted them to know:
“I guess I'd like people to know that we just truly care about music. We put a lot into our recordings and we produce our albums ourselves, which hopefully allows the music to come out as close to our vision as possible. We try and make sure each one of our albums is complete from top to bottom-- we really don't like songs that are fillers so we keep trying and recording until we feel everything on each album is full and complete.”
Marianas Trench’s most recent albums, Ever After and Astoria were both examples of the band’s “no filler” work ethic because each song seemed to lead to the next one. However, they could also stand on their own. “For me, I would say ‘Wildfire’ and ‘Yesterday’ are my favorite songs to play live. They're a couple of really cool rock tracks and it's fun playing drums in those two songs” Ian explained. Another song that stood out on Astoria was “Who Do You Love”, not only for the song itself, but also for the music video. Instead of doing a big production for this video, Josh, Ian, Matt and Mike used their budget to help people, animals and organizations that they love. Casselman recalled a few of his favourite memories from the video shoot:
“Visiting Children's Hospital was probably the most rewarding. They do amazing things for families with sick kids. Kids are so strong and I almost think they did more for us than we did for them. We also all love pets, so helping out the SPCA was a very rewarding experience. I think I almost get along better with animals than I do humans, so anytime we can help them out it's a good day.”
Although Ian might “almost get along better with animals”, it’s obvious that Marianas Trench are a close-knit group that has maintained strong friendships over the years. However, he admitted that the key to their success on and off the road includes having time to themselves: “Giving everyone the space they need on the road is the most helpful. We're still all very close but road life can be hard, so it's important to give everybody their space so they can chill out when they need to.”
With so much to look forward to in 2017 and beyond, Ian Casselman wasn’t about to spoil any surprises. So, in order to stay up to date, you can visit marianastrench.net and use the hashtag, #gettingtourready on social media, because according to Ian, “Of course there's stuff we haven't tried yet! There's so much for us to touch upon-- but I ain't spilling my guts! You'll just have to wait and see.”
Photo courtesy of 604records.com.