Homegrown band returns to launch third album
Saint Anyway is returning to its roots to launch the stompgrass band's third album, "Behemoth," with a quick tour of some of their favorite places to play in the Northland. Not wanting to be left out in the cold, the Pine Journal connected with band members Jamie Kallestad, Tony Petersen and Dane Levinski, all Cloquet High School alumni.
Pine Journal: For those who have only recently moved to Cloquet or who came of age after your debut here, how did Saint Anyway come about?
Jamie Kallestad: Dane, Tony and I all know each other from Cloquet High School but Saint Anyway wasn't founded until 2008 when Tony and I began touring as a "summer job" between semesters of college. We started out with a set list of mostly folk-standards and classic rock covers, but eventually began incorporating more and more original music into the show. Dane "officially" joined the band in 2010 and we started performing full time during the summer of 2011.
PJ: Has your music changed over the years, either in style or content, in any dramatic way?
Tony Petersen: We've gotten louder and more aggressive, and also tighter and more proficient. We're more professional now than when we began, I suppose 300-plus shows in two years will help with that!
PJ: Is there a story behind "Behemoth" - the title of your new album?
JK: The Behemoth is a giant mythical bull-like creature, but also a word used to describe a supremely immense, powerful thing. We're paying homage to Minnesota's own folk-mystical heritage with the image of the blue ox, which we've used as part of our album art - our own Behemoth. Also, Behemoth is a supremely talented black metal band from Gdansk, Poland ... we are paying tribute to them as well.
PJ: It's been just over a year since Saint Anyway decided to REALLY give it a go and try your hardest to succeed in the music world. How do musicians in the modern world make a living in music?
TP: We're getting closer to figuring this question out. From August 2011 until August 2012 we played full time, nearly every day, which made us enough money for food, rent and the survival goods. This year, we're calling it "Saint Anyway 2.0" and performing less in order to focus more on promotion within the cities we play. It's different for every band, but there seems to be a tried and true method of performing as much as possible in the right place at the right time, with the right music. I'd ask Springsteen but he won't return my calls.
PJ: Are the songs on Behemoth about particular events or people or are they random thoughts of what could have been? Would people (as with ex-boyfriends of Taylor Swift) ever be able to recognize themselves or a shared experience in your music?
JK: I think my songs are more personal than before. I used to imagine scenarios that were song worthy and then write from my imagination. This past year has given me plenty to write about, without relying on that process.
PJ What do you tell people (not from Minnesota) about growing up in northern Minnesota to give them a glimpse into your formative years?
JK: "Our school mascot was a lumberjack."
PJ: Who are Ben Cosgrove, Troy Groenke, Matt Patrick and Jason McGlone ... I know they're contributors on your new album, but why did you ask them in particular?
TP: Ben Cosgrove is our good friend from Boston, Mass. We met him while searching for an East Coast bass player, and later found out he can also shred on organ, cello, trumpet, accordion, flugelhorn, and anything else he decides to play. Troy Groenke and Matt Patrick are the guys who run the Library Studio in northeast Minneapolis, where we recorded "Behemoth." They are both fantastic musicians, so we asked them to lay down a few parts here and there for some icing on the top. Jason McGlone was recommended to us as a drummer that would fit our style, so we had him come into the studio for a few parts. Needless to say, he aced it.
PJ: Is there a place you always have to visit when you come home?
JK: Jay Cooke Park!