FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH with Blake Melnick

Campfire Jesus with Guest Oliver McQuaid (2 part episode)

April 08, 2021 Blake Melnick Season 2 Episode 14
Campfire Jesus with Guest Oliver McQuaid (2 part episode)
FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH with Blake Melnick
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FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH with Blake Melnick
Campfire Jesus with Guest Oliver McQuaid (2 part episode)
Apr 08, 2021 Season 2 Episode 14
Blake Melnick

Send us a Text Message.

I am really excited about this week’s, 2 part episode called #CampfireJesus. It is the first in person interview we’ve conducted since the show began (albeit at opposite ends of an 8 foot long banquet table); the second episode of our #PasstheJam music series, and the inaugural “passing of the jam” from our current artist in residence, @BenHunter to an exciting new artist, OliverMcQuaid. Oliver is  originally from Squamish B.C, but has lived in Mexico for large periods of time. He now lives in Kimberley BC with his family. He is a local legend in the East Kooteney’s and has played at various events and festivals throughout the Province over the years, as a duo with his cousin Kurt, as a solo act, and most recently with his band, The Tumbleweeds. Heavily influenced by the music of John Prine, Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, Chet Atkins, and Jimi Hendricks, he is a prolific songwriter drawing inspiration from "the land" and the writings of existentialist philosopher, Fredrick Nietzsche. He is a gifted entertainer, who effortlessly draws his audience into each and every performance - From soulful ballads to rock'n, foot stomping country blues, he keep folks on the edge of their seats (if not completely off their seats during his performances)

Part 1 of the interview, Oliver discusses his songs, musical influences, the impact of Friedrich Nietzsche; the importance of family, and his early days as an aspiring singer / songwriter

Part 2 of the interview we are joined by Ben Hunter, the current "holder of the jam" live from Los Angeles. Ben and Oliver do a deep dive into the art of songwriting; the music business, personal motivations, and future career aspirations, all with disarming openness, humour and honesty. I think you are going to love this episode .... For What it's Worth

Pass the Jam Music Series

When the idea of Pass the Jam was born, we imagined a creative new approach for supporting artists, their music and their stories; one which breaks free from traditional Industry norms and the typical directed listening experience. An approach which placed the artist and their music "at the centre" and allowed listeners to hear music they might not otherwise be exposed to, while developing a deeper connection with the artists, their stories, and their music.  At the same time we hoped that having artists directly involved in "Passing the Jam",  would foster connections between the artists themselves, leading to opportunities for collaboration;  new musical directions, friendships, and provide a great listening experience for our audience.

I think you will agree this episode is a testament to that vision.

We have been amazed by the positive response and i

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

I am really excited about this week’s, 2 part episode called #CampfireJesus. It is the first in person interview we’ve conducted since the show began (albeit at opposite ends of an 8 foot long banquet table); the second episode of our #PasstheJam music series, and the inaugural “passing of the jam” from our current artist in residence, @BenHunter to an exciting new artist, OliverMcQuaid. Oliver is  originally from Squamish B.C, but has lived in Mexico for large periods of time. He now lives in Kimberley BC with his family. He is a local legend in the East Kooteney’s and has played at various events and festivals throughout the Province over the years, as a duo with his cousin Kurt, as a solo act, and most recently with his band, The Tumbleweeds. Heavily influenced by the music of John Prine, Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, Chet Atkins, and Jimi Hendricks, he is a prolific songwriter drawing inspiration from "the land" and the writings of existentialist philosopher, Fredrick Nietzsche. He is a gifted entertainer, who effortlessly draws his audience into each and every performance - From soulful ballads to rock'n, foot stomping country blues, he keep folks on the edge of their seats (if not completely off their seats during his performances)

Part 1 of the interview, Oliver discusses his songs, musical influences, the impact of Friedrich Nietzsche; the importance of family, and his early days as an aspiring singer / songwriter

Part 2 of the interview we are joined by Ben Hunter, the current "holder of the jam" live from Los Angeles. Ben and Oliver do a deep dive into the art of songwriting; the music business, personal motivations, and future career aspirations, all with disarming openness, humour and honesty. I think you are going to love this episode .... For What it's Worth

Pass the Jam Music Series

When the idea of Pass the Jam was born, we imagined a creative new approach for supporting artists, their music and their stories; one which breaks free from traditional Industry norms and the typical directed listening experience. An approach which placed the artist and their music "at the centre" and allowed listeners to hear music they might not otherwise be exposed to, while developing a deeper connection with the artists, their stories, and their music.  At the same time we hoped that having artists directly involved in "Passing the Jam",  would foster connections between the artists themselves, leading to opportunities for collaboration;  new musical directions, friendships, and provide a great listening experience for our audience.

I think you will agree this episode is a testament to that vision.

We have been amazed by the positive response and i

Buzzsprout - Let's get your podcast launched!
Start for FREE

Knowledge Management Institute of Canada
From those who know to those who need to know

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Support the Show.

review us on Podchaser
Show website -
Follow us on:
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Campfire Jesus – Part 1


[00:00:00] Blake Melnick: Oliver great to have you here I'm stoked this is our first face-to-face interview since we started the podcast. 

Oliver McQuade: Yeah. I'm very excited myself. Thanks for having me. 

Blake Melnick: I love the songs you submitted and I'll be playing clips from each of the tunes throughout this episode and of course we'll be playing the tunes for all the intros and outros to all success of shows until we get to the point where we pass the jam once again 

so, what's it been like for you as a musician living in Kimberley, British Columbia. And not being able to play live during the COVID pandemic.  

Oliver McQuade:  It's been tough and different.  And I think those would be the two words that everybody would start with,  when describing that. But it's also been interesting having a new young family to raise and a new career and other aspects aside from the music. So  playing live and that sort of thing shutting down has definitely been different, but there've been other aspects that I've fully am able to focus on  that kind of make it a little bit different.   The not playing live things is really [00:01:00] interesting because we came back from Mexico, from living down there in March.

 March 20th. So just over a year ago, stuck in Mexico City for three days on the way back, dog and baby and hotel room, and finally made it home , and then had a few gigs, believe it or not,  it was great to get back with the band and play live. And a few venues had figured it out here in Kimberly and it was kind of exciting and different and people were stoked to be out because  restricting something a little bit. It makes it that much more exciting when you can do it. And  you were at that show, the golf course.  And  we had a blast and then all of a sudden it was gone and  it's basically been a year now.  Almost,  since really playing live and I've only done a couple,  just on my own with me and my suitcase since then. So it's been different. It's been challenging, but, interesting in other ways, 

Blake Melnick:  that sort of give and take, that's been a fascinating,  as you say, you just feel like you're maybe getting it out of this and going in the right direction and things are returning to a semblance of [00:02:00] normality and that all of a sudden, there's a pullback, as we saw just yesterday with the BC government shutting down the Whistler resort and closing down restaurants and bars and I know you had a show tomorrow night as scheduled and I had a table for that show, and unfortunately that's no longer going ahead. 

Oliver McQuade: Sorry Blake 

Blake Melnick: worse for you and worse for the restaurant, but yeah, it's very difficult for people. I think people miss live music,  live entertainment, all kinds, but certainly music.

Oliver McQuade:  We've seen that in the venues that were able  to host it and provide it. The stone fire, for example, it took a couple of stabs at doing live music in the past, and it didn't really work out in the way that they had wanted, but now with COVID they figured it out, they had their stage, they did the setup that they needed to, and they were the only game in town doing it. And you have to book a week in advance. That's right. You know, and,  that just really goes to show how much,  how important it is to everybody.  There are standing [00:03:00] reservations every single week with the same people who need to get their fix. And I think it shows how,  not even important but necessary. That aspect of culture and arts and things like that is , in our society 

Blake Melnick: and just seeing other human beings, basically all for sure. A hundred percent. Yeah. I, these are the first, live shows  since September I've seen it been out here and both at the stone fire, it was a bit like boy in the plastic bubble,  disconcerting seeing all the screens and the shields and the plexiglass and I'm sure that's challenging for a musician too, because  you hear the sound and it sounds much louder when you're behind the plexiglass, that it does when you're sitting out in the audience so that's a challenge as well, but Hey, it's better than not, right. 

Oliver McQuade: I'll take it every day of the week. I was so excited to get out and see people like you mentioned. And as you know, my style on stage is very interactive and conversational. So even though I'm on stage performing, I do feel like I get to hang out [00:04:00] with everybody and kind of catch up with them in a way. It's not, like sitting down at a table having a two-way conversation, but to some effect it is. And so that's been great. That's been really great. 

Blake Melnick: Hopefully,  by the middle of summer we can come out of this a little bit more, who knows?

 But you're busy you have two young children. , that's the handful. That is a handful. I am busy. That's an understatement. Well, so that's a good thing.  The problem with COVID is if you don't have something else, you do, you're busy and focusing on a new family and that's great and I understand you're building a house too 

Oliver McQuade:  Yeah. We are we actually close on it in two days,  the property and yeah, it's been wild designing something to suit our needs and , it's been really, really exciting. 

Blake Melnick: So Kimberly's home now, 

Oliver McQuade: Kimberly's home and we knew  it would be, we had that sense.

I grew up in Squamish and when we first came to visit Kimberly and check it out, we'd had our eyes on it for a while. It felt like Squamish back in the day  and I loved my childhood growing up in Squamish  Natalie makes fun of me because I compare everything in [00:05:00] Kimberly to Squamish, but to me that's a huge compliment.

And so we have always had this future vision of raising a family here I'm not dead set on that things can change. And we're pretty fluid go with the flow type of people. But we're pretty happy with the way the ship is pointing right now. Yeah. 

Blake Melnick: And you make a great point. Kimberly is very much like Squamish back in the old days.

 I used to go up to Whistler in the seventies and ski when there was nothing there. There was no Black Comb or anything, and Squamish was kind of this…

Oliver McQuade: McDonald's on the way. 

Blake Melnick: Absolutely. And it's certainly flourished now and it's such a popular spot for all the outdoor activities, the hiking and everything like that and we were talking earlier just before the show about Squamish music festival, which was one of my favorite music festivals. Unfortunately, it's no longer going, Squamish really developed into a cultural hub and I think is continuing to do that. So how did you find Kimberly?

Oliver McQuade:  Interesting  when I met Natalie and that actually ties into your Squamish music festival because we were just starting to date [00:06:00] and hang out with each other, and then we actually went to Squamish music festival and had an amazing time. 

 I could say we fell in love there. Uh, but, um, with the, sorry, you gotta ask the question again. I lost myself. So how did you find Kimberly? Okay. Yeah. So that's the thing is if you ask a question and I know the end result, I will start at the furthest possible part and then eventually hope to get there.

So yeah, so hanging out in Squamish and at that time with Natalie getting to know her, she mentioned that she had done a real estate seminar. And Kimberly was on the map for a place that  ticked a few important boxes to us. Not that we were talking about moving to a place together at the beginning of our relationship, but she mentioned that she did a real estate seminar and that Kimberly had a ski Hill and affordable housing and all this nature in the backyard and all these wonderful things that Squamish had.

And we had never been, so she was kind of dreaming about in the future, buying a [00:07:00] house here and what it would be like , so it was Thanksgiving after that summer of the Squamish music festival, where we turned left on the highway. So we were living in Whistler and we were supposed to go see family in Vancouver.

And instead we pulled out of Tamarisk where we were living by Creekside and we were about to turn right on the highway, head past Squamish and into Vancouver. And instead we said, want to go, Kimberly? And we turned left and drove 10 hours a long drive. Yeah. And it was, it was nighttime too. So we were just leaving it dusk and we turned left on the highway. We had our camping gear with us as we always do and did, and we just found a spot by the river. Just a pass Lillooet and camped for the night. And the next day made our way to Kimberly and pulled into town. And there were tumbleweeds blowing a little hint towards my band named  but nobody in town and we went, are we in the right spot? Like, did something happen here? Where is everybody. Drove up to the ski Hill. [00:08:00] There's nobody.  Is the restaurant open? We go knock on the door, eventually somebody. Yeah. Yeah. We're open come in. Nobody else sitting at a table. And we're just like, what is going on here? And then we realized that it's just a small, community and people are at home having Thanksgiving dinner with their families.

 There aren't a bunch of people bustling around and stuff like that. And so we ended up going to the bar that night and having  dinner. And we met a couple of people Chris and Ashley , who we're friends with now, but this is years and years ago. And had a beer and were invited to a campfire in somebody's backyard and had a wonderful evening and we thought. We could be here for sure and steered our ship towards that. And as we watched Kimberly grow we made our way back here in a pretty random way, but camped out for three weeks shopped for homes and the rest is history. 

Blake Melnick: Well, you know, my own story about discovering Kimberly 35 years ago. And you thought it was desolate when he arrived. As I mentioned in the last episode of the podcast called a good place to be when I arrived in the mid-eighties. [00:09:00] The mine was in shutdown mode workers were being laid off and leaving town to work elsewhere in the province and other provinces. And you could buy a house here for $10,000. And that's when I bought this place. Incredible. Yeah. So you've got a bit of equity and equity, but if you want to unlock that Blake, , I don't have a mortgage, but you could. Yes, I can. But  it's kind of  remarkable  what I've seen over the years.  The demographic has changed.  A lot of young people came to Kimberly in the last 10 years.  For the same reason that you did, because it was affordable, it was accessible. You have an airport right here and it's not a long drive from Calgary. So I started to see a lot of young people coming into Kimberly and that seemed to change the whole nature of the community, we started to see things , developing around ecotourism the sun mine that was developed, where the old tailing ponds were from the Cominco mine, the trails being built from Kimberly to Cranbrook, the nature park opening near the top of the ski Hill and the [00:10:00] expansion of those trails and so almost a reshaping of the community. I didn't even realize Mark Creek was there for many years because it was covered up and it was dirty and it was not an attraction at all. And then all of a sudden it was, yeah. Now they say Kimberly has one of the youngest demographics in all of British Columbia, which, I want to relate  to music because I think that's when the music started.

And I remember seeing you, I don't even know how many years ago it was,  I equate you with coming to Kimberly. It's part of that experience. That's how much you've managed to find your way into  in to the culture of Kimberley and the surrounding area. And I've seen you play everywhere and it's been fantastic. So whenever I come, I think, I wonder where Oliver's playing this weekend. 

Oliver McQuade: I appreciate that. 

Blake Melnick: I'm going to miss you this time, obviously, but hopefully, when the weather gets warmer, you'll be outside again and playing 

Oliver McQuade:  yeah. 

Blake Melnick: Okay.  I wanted to talk a little bit about Your background and how you came to your music.

 You come from a musical family, correct? [00:11:00] Yes. How much of an influence was that for you?

Oliver McQuade:  It was all of the influence. Pretty much, especially, as a younger kid it was just all around me. You couldn't help be influenced by it. It wasn't like it was available to me. It was me, it was my environment. And  it comes from every single facet of my family. So it wasn't just one particular person. 

It could be pretty easy to say, well, my dad was a musician and therefore, I emulated him and looked up to him and did it because of that. But that was just one part.

My mom is an amazing singer and hugely creative person.  My mom and dad sang together back in the day and those are some of my fondest memories them harmonizing together and singing their songs and my  uncles and aunts,  they all played. So every family gathering that we had was passing the guitar around and everybody taking their turn.

And I just couldn't wait to get up and take my turn  and show my stuff. And the biggest part of [00:12:00] that, that kept me going was the support  the unconditional support , and appreciation for it .  It didn't matter how good you were they made you feel like a rock star, right? I've told you before.  I look back and think back and have heard,  a couple of recordings of me back in the day. I was not good. That's a fact that I'm aware of now, but I was so unaware of it as a kid. And that was the biggest difference maker.

So  as a dad, now, I'm going to make darn sure that my kids are full of confidence,  brimming with it. That's what kept me going there was I wasn't shy at all. I thought I was the next Bob Dylan, the next Jimmy Hendrix, the next, whoever. My entire childhood, it was just a matter of filling in the blanks  until I was famous.

Blake Melnick: Right. . You know, it certainly comes across .  One of the things that always amazes me when I come to see you play is that you are so comfortable on stage. That's a real gift. I've seen a lot of musicians over the years. Great ones, not so great ones, but very few have that level of confidence when they're standing on the [00:13:00] stage that you seem to feed off the audience. do you want to talk a little bit about that and how important that is to you. 

Oliver McQuade: That's one of the most important things when I'm playing live is the connection with the audience. And it's really interesting, there are a few places and we mentioned the stone fire and how they have the plexiglass, the light reflects off of that plexiglass.

And I can't quite see everybody the same way and it really affects me. So you'll notice me looking around the the screen, because I need that connection with people when I play. And another example is playing at center 64. Wonderful venue, historic venue. I love that building and everybody involved with that, but the lights come on and I can't see a damn thing. And and it really gets to me because then I'm just performing. I'm just trying to hit notes and I'm just trying not to screw up my guitar and that's not what drives my music. The perfection the execution of it is not what drives my music. It's the effect that it has on people. And so if I can't see that effect taking [00:14:00] place, if I can't see somebody's reaction to a lyric and Oh, they like that type of thing, that's going to dictate how I finish the song, what my next song is.

It's such an integral part of it. And I love that stuff. I love it. 

Blake Melnick: well it's clear you have no, there's no trepidation I get from you when I watch you on stage. You bring the audience right into the music  you actually look out in the audience, you can see people, you know, and you actually incorporate something about those people into your songs, which I think is really great.

Oliver McQuade: Yeah, it can it can fall on its head sometimes, but I give it a shot. And that's the thing is I know that the worst case scenario, maybe I say something a little silly or don't hit a note. If I'm trying to do something particularly adventurous musically. It really pales in comparison to the effect that it achieves you know, with bringing people in and making it interactive and fun

Blake: you've become kind of a local legend out here. Everybody knows you, everybody says, Oh, Oliver's playing here, Oliver's playing there. We should get [00:15:00] tickets. What is it about your music that people find so appealing?

Oliver McQuade: I don't know. There's a lot of local legends here. I am one of many, and that's been the really cool thing of moving here and discovering the music scene. There are a bunch of people that have that same sort of effect. And I think it's a combination of having a good audience. I know how to pick my audience.

That's a big part of it. And then also just having fun and having accessible songs.  I play a lot of John Prine and Johnny Cash and stuff that's funny stuff that is just enjoyable to listen to. And then, I guess it's probably the spectrum as well, because you can play some serious songs when it's not all serious.

The serious stuff. You can feel it a bit more when it's lined up against something that's not so serious. So I think the variation in what I play and how I play it lends itself to a lot of people enjoying it instead of just one lane. 

Blake Melnick: Yeah. Well, you mentioned John Prine and, unfortunately we lost John Prine. . This past year to COVID, but I'm with you. He was [00:16:00] one of my favorite songwriters of all time. There was something so visceral about the songs that he wrote . They seem simple on the surface and yet  conjured up such a strong visual images for me - memories of my childhood you know, still images of my family members engaged and mundane life tasks And somehow he managed to capture it in a song. It's like  as he said in his song he put pictures in the picture show he's one of my favorite songwriters of all time

Oliver McQuade: mine as well. I actually  grew up thinking that my dad had written all of his songs. 

Blake Melnick: I think my kids did too. 

Oliver McQuade: Yeah. I honestly, I remember hearing it on the radio one time and being like, Oh, some guy is doing dad's song and radio.

He's not doing a very good job of it. 

Blake Melnick:  That's the one nice thing about being a father is you can convince, your kids of all kinds of things. I convinced mine that I wrote California dreaming and they said the same thing, dad, they're playing your song on the radio. Yeah, exactly. 

You've talked about John Prine as being an influence who [00:17:00] else is an influence for you?

Oliver McQuade:  Well, that's changed over the years. I was totally a singer songwriter guy.  As a kid trying to write music as a 13 year old, 14 year old, 15 year old living in Mexico,  you know, on my own to a great degree, which was great for writing music.

 Bob Dylan,  I don't know how we came across it, but my dad, all of a sudden had a four disc. Bob Dylan,  anthology and I just devoured it and absolutely loved it and all the different, lyrical spins and turns of phrase and stuff like that. So a lot of my early stuff in that, my brother, that song very influenced by Bob Dylan.

I used to sing it when I was 15. Yeah, man, brother and put on his voice. That's how it was written. But but yeah, Bob Dylan was a huge influence and remained so throughout most of my early years playing music, but then Jimmy Hendrix was huge as well. I was massively into his ability on guitar and  trying to emulate that. And then I came across, another CD [00:18:00] that dad happened to have in the car  but the Doors and I think it was another anthology. So we had, most of the greatest hits and just fell in love with it. And then I got a Jim Morrison biography. Oh, I read that. Yeah. The no one here gets out alive and that changed my life.

Honestly, I read that book and I went and bought, The Next Time so we used to, we lived in Puerto Penasco in Mexico, Rocky point an hour or so from the U S border. And we would drive to Phoenix to grab supplies, things you couldn't buy in Mexico. And I would always go to the library and I became obsessed with biographies

so once I had the Jim Morrison biography, I went and bought every single book that he had read. As a kid. Right. And a lot of it was Nietzsche and different things like that. And so  I started devouring all these philosophy books and just going into this worm hole of why are we here? What the hell is the point of everything, trying to figure it out.

And I had time to do it. I didn't even go to school for [00:19:00] a year. Self-taught. Yeah. And, even if I understood a fraction of  it just by osmosis seeped into the questions that I was asking . So that's, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan are probably the top three from an  early standpoint.

Blake Melnick:  Let's talk a little bit about your song. So my brother, which, by the way, I loved it actually brought a tear to my eye.  I remember years ago I saw the great Chet Atkins play a song about his father. 

Oliver McQuade: You know, my brother's named after Chet Atkins. 

Blake Melnick: Is that right? And while he was playing the song every band member was weeping as was i just watching this, and  my brother had that kind of impact on me.  It made me think about my brother. we've had a complicated relationship over the last number of years and it's, somewhat disheartening, but it, made me think of him and miss him. It's a beautiful song.  I think any song that has that kind of impact , that makes some emotion well up in you is a really powerful song. You mentioned, it was influenced by the existential [00:20:00] philosophers, Nietzsche in particular. What about Nietzsche influenced that song?

Oliver McQuade: There's actually a passage. I don't know if it's called my brother, I'd have to look it up. Maybe it was, but some of the lines were borrowed or the influence of the lines were borrowed from it. And it basically talked about if you were going to go Out there  and adventure, whether physically or mentally and try and figure things out and put yourself out on a limb, you risk a lot of things.

So this like go the way of the lover. My brother love and hate yourself as only lovers. Right? No, it's what  really resonated with Nietzsche was the juxtaposition. So many philosophers were, , are, everybody trying to figure out what the right thing is trying to break everything down to the ideal  you know, figure it out.

And what Nietzsche was saying is that you need the extreme light and the extreme dark for any event to matter. And so that's actually what my brother is about is [00:21:00] putting yourself out there and accepting that there are consequences to that. But that being the whole point ,  and the beautiful thing of song, why I'm hesitant, to  convey what spawned  the song specifically is that it can have so many different meanings to different people. And you saying that actually could not have been a bigger compliment because Chet Atkins was a huge influence on my dad and our family. My brother's name is Chester for Chet Atkins. And I think the song that you're referring to is the Hat my daddy wore that one. 

Blake Melnick: I don't know whether it was called father or dad.

Oliver McQuade:  It's that one.  My dad played that at my grandpa's funeral. He couldn't practice it without crying. I can't play it without crying. I tried to learn it. But then managed to do at the funeral of course, perfectly. But  for you to compare "My Brother" to that song, you could not have picked a higher compliment.  

Blake Melnick: It's a beautiful song. 

Now let's jump to the next track you gave us, "Gone" tell us  about that song. 

Oliver McQuade: I was living as an adult now in Mexico, so I went back to Mexico as a 20 year [00:22:00] old.

My dad was living down there and  I wasn't the best musician. I was the guy who played at the campfire  and all that, 

Blake Melnick: and thus the name of this episode, I hope you don't mind. 

Oliver McQuade: We'll get to that no, I appreciate it. Actually, I just went to band practice for the first time in a million years and I walk in and go, Hey, CJ, what's up. That's where that came from  being the campfire guy. But, I wrote the chords that song, and  I remember sitting in my apartment,  this was one of the first places I've had on my own that I'm living on my own. I'm 20 years old  and I felt gone  and I really enjoyed writing it. And I actually didn't finish the third verse. It was an unfinished song, as many, , it's a theme of mine. They sit on the shelf for years. It was coming back to Canada. And then I moved in with my OPA and lived on his blueberry farm in Richmond for a number of months. That's actually where my musical career really began.

But I I don't know how much we can tell about this on here, but we'll give it a [00:23:00] shot. So I worked at the airport, so he lived in Richmond. I worked at the airport. This is again where I answer a question by going as far as I can, the other side. And I would find all kinds of things at the airport, working landscaping at the airport. Anything I needed happened to show up the next day at the airport. Like somebody left it behind because they were late for a flight. Honestly, I need to runners the next day I find runners. They're still, my runner is 10 years later, so I could probably use some new runners, but I found a jar of weed at the airport not recommended that people delve into stuff like that, but I did. I brought it home and I'm not a big weed smoker or anything, but I'm living at my Opa's house and I'm in the basement and I've got nothing else to do. I'm in the middle of nowhere, the nearest bus stops two miles away. And so I rolled the joint, smoked it under the patio there and wrote the third verse and it was, and all of a sudden I'm like, Hey, this is a real song.

And I kind of pieced it together and made it happen. And it's become the quintessential track [00:24:00] that we can jam and everybody joins in and the sing along and the footsteps . So it's interesting how much it's grown. 

Blake Melnick: It's a great song and I've heard you play it many times. 

This is “Gone”


So let's move on to some of your other songs. So the next one that you wrote in sequence was heartbeat of the earth, correct?  

Oliver McQuade: Yeah, that would be, so that song, that's a special song to me. So me and Natalie my wife, future wife we were camping on Kooteny Lake and the across from Kaslo. So the Kaslo jazz festival was going on, which is a magical festival. Anybody listening, ever gets the chance to go. It is incredible, but  instead of going to the festival, we drove on the other side of the Lake and Natalie's got, again, I've gone as far as I can, I'll find my way back or ask for directions.

Okay. But so we have this uncanny, Natalie has this uncanny ability to find unbelievable, magical spots for us to camp and experience. So we're driving on the other side of the Lake and we pass the campground that we had sort of aimed at. [00:25:00] And we're like, ah, I don't really know. It's not giving us the best feeling.

So we kept driving and the whole time with, nah, let's just go back to the campground. It's on the water. It's beautiful. Let's set up the trailer and crack a beer and start a fire and get camping. And she's going. No, no, no, no, no. Trust me. 

There's a better place. 

Yeah. So we're driving up to this forest service road. Away from the water up into the mountains. I mean, the elevation's going way, way up I go Nat we're nowhere near the water. We're nowhere near where we want to be. What are you doing? She says "trust me". And so sure enough, we see the sign going deactivated road do not enter. And she goes there funny. 

Okay. We're too far. Let's do it. So we could drive down this road. We've got the canoe on the roof of the Jeep. And we have to duck and maneuver under fallen trees, all the sudden we get to the most magical spot on the water you could ever imagine. And we have it all to ourselves and we stayed there all weekend.

We [00:26:00] canoed across to the festival and watched all the shows floating stage from our canoe. Beautiful. It was unbelievable. And we could go back to our sanctuary and that's where we wrote Heartbeat of the Earth. So this whole time there's smoke on the water. It's the fire seasons incredible. This is three years ago.

Blake Melnick: Of course I remember 

fires are raging. everybody's going, is this just the new normal that every summer we're going to have these incredible fires that prevent all types of things. And, it was nighttime and you know how we wrote it. I asked her to pick numbers from one to seven, letters from a to G we came up with the key. We came up with the chord progression that way. And then we wrote that song together about being there , swimming naked and hanging out under the moon and stars. And the bats were swooping in on us. And it was a pretty magical song to write. She's a good writing partner, and adventure partner.

Here's heartbeat of the earth. [00:27:00]

I love that song really is a beautiful song. 

You also gave us a song that you wrote during the time of COVID. Yeah. Yeah. And do you like this song? 

Oliver McQuade: I do. It's funny. I feel like others may not like it as much as I do. And I think  that probably happens to musicians often.  I know there's quotes from Eric Clapton where he goes.

He hates every song two months later that he writes like, he's not a fan of himself. Right. And this is a song where I am a fan of myself and other people might not be,  it was a music competition,  a songwriting competition for some Canada music thing where they wanted a COVID type songs.

The theme of it was alone together. And I set about writing it and I came up with that cool rift and . And, uh, and challenge myself to write a song that I wouldn't normally write. And so the interesting part about this, and this is probably why I like it. You can't hear it when you listen to it, but the whole song is in the key of a and I never played an A [00:28:00] chord.

 And so I kind of thought that was cool. Cause I'm such a  I'm a pretty normal, three chord kind of guy. And it was fun to sing the chorus as if it was an "A" chord, but it's not, I'm playing an E and it's the little bit of dissonance that is so not my style that I really found it gratifying to have made it work. And then at the very end, it resolves on anA chord finally goes to where it needs to go. So I enjoyed that even if it might not be the The best song , I really enjoyed writing it.  

Blake Melnick: The songs called we're only human. 

Oliver McQuade: Yeah. Yeah.  The opening lyrics.

' You, you can build a shelter master of the earth. It's all about how great are we as humans we've come all this way. But we, the reason we evolved the way that we are. Is working together. Yes. That's the whole reason human beings are as successful as we are. It's not because we have no fangs in our jaws hands, instead of [00:29:00] claws, we are supposed to be together. That's where our strength comes from. And so it  is this mocking. Yeah, you can build a fire, you master of the earth, but what's all your hard work really worth if you can't share your stories, and so it was pretty cool to explore that and the effects of COVID on people. 

Blake Melnick: Sure. And that, of course is what everybody misses  we miss that human contact  the things we normally take for granted, just seeing people,  not long ago, I went over to Vancouver Island to Victoria and How much I enjoy just walking the streets and seeing people in shops and in restaurants  engaging with one another, because of course Victoria's numbers are quite low. And so life was somewhat normal over there, but I realized how much it just missed it.

And it wasn't that I needed to be talking to all these people. I just needed to be seeing them and seeing them interacting that was enough to give me a, quite a lift actually. 

Oliver McQuade: Yeah, I think you're right. I think people are unaware of the effect that it could have on them. And I fall into that category as well. I go, yes. So what we can't. Do some of the things we want to do, [00:30:00] I'll hunker down and focus my energy in other areas. But after a year you do start to realize that it has  an effect on every little bit of you. 

Blake Melnick: Yes, sure. It does. 

Oliver McQuade: Yeah. So I agree for sure. 

Blake Melnick: The impact is going to continue for some time, even once this pandemic is under control, I think we're going to feel the effects of it.

When I think about children, not being able to socialize with one another, during those formative years, that's going to be a tough thing for them to deal with. And I don't know how you make up for it. I really don't have the answers for that.

One of the things that we talked about in a previous episode of the show was the creative elements that we think might emerge from COVID, especially in the era of music where a lot of people have been sequestered can't play live, but they've been writing and they've been thinking, and they've been observing and they've been reading.

 Do you think something's going to come out of that?  A Renaissance of creativity and new music?

Oliver McQuade:  Yeah, I do. I'm 30 years old now and  I don't know a time that has been difficult. We're in  this window of time where we haven't had a world war, obviously there [00:31:00] are conflicts everywhere, but nothing that really touches us where we live and affects our day to day, we hear about it on the periphery it's third-party sort of stuff and I think what this does,  it's like this jab in the ribs saying, Hey, life's comfortable and cozy because people made it that way. And  it doesn't mean it's always going to be like that. , so who are you actually? Are you only okay because your surroundings are okay.

Are you dependent on that, on everything just being hunky-dory or can you be okay with adversity? And so it's a little bit of a challenge to society saying, Hey, what's going on here? We just going to live in this sort of manufactured utopia forever. Or are there some other questions we need to be answering?

 And I think that people that are asking those questions and whether I don't think there's a right or wrong sort of way of approaching it , are those the best questions to be asking music? 

Blake Melnick: Yes. True. 

Oliver McQuade: Isn't that where music is able to navigate like some other , [00:32:00] things can't  music plays with those in-betweens of right and wrong and questioning and not having answers.

And so I absolutely think that some art has already come out, but once we've had time to digest all of this. And sing about it and talk about it and write about it in a past tense. I think you're going to see some really creative stuff. 

Blake Melnick: Yeah.  I'm quite excited about it. I actually, I do think that is going to happen.

This concludes part, one of campfire Jesus with our guests all over McQuaid. We'll be back in a few moments with part two. Where we will be joined by the current holder of the jam. Ben hunter live from Los Angeles.

In the meantime, here is  "We're Only Human"

“Campfire Jesus Part 2


[00:32:41]Welcome back to part two of campfire Jesus on for what it's worth and the space in between. Oliver i loved our conversation but as you know it is now time to move into the next segment where we will bring Ben Hunter into the conversation Ben is on hold in los angeles and he [00:33:00] will take part in officially passing the jam to you.


[00:33:04]Hi, Ben. Welcome to the show great to have you here as always


[00:33:09]Ben Hunter: ,It's been great listening to you guys  Oliver you talked a lot about your inspirations and how you got started and everything, but how did you get started writing songs? When did you start writing them?,

[00:33:19]Oliver McQuade:  I started writing songs when I was 12 years old. And I remember the first song that I had written. I thought it's hilarious. So I was actually listening to a ton of iron maiden at the time, 12 years old and rocking out, growing my hair out. I had hair down past my shoulders and I was 12.

[00:33:39] And my brother who was 10 played drums, we had all the gear in my basement in Squamish there, and we wrote this song called Hell Rider. , trying to emulate iron maiden and it was, it's hilarious. It's so bad, but we wrote this song and we literally ran upstairs and we're jumping around on the [00:34:00] couches going, we're going to be famous.

[00:34:01] This is it. We've just done it. And so we, it started at 12 and I remember the specific moment and I really didn't slow down after that. 

[00:34:12] Ben Hunter: That's great. So was that it was it you and your brother sitting around going we got to write a song if we're going to get ahead in this business, you know, or how did that happen as you actually start?

[00:34:22]Oliver McQuade:  I don't know. , I didn't even really know what chords were. I just had like power chords, like just the,  the two fingers on there and I just slide it around and see what sounded cool and try different effects on the amplifier and just messing around with that kind of stuff. But definitely the lyrics of  from run to the Hills and things like that from iron maiden came up, this mysterious rider, ripping  through the town. It's just too funny. I actually remembered it the other day. And sometimes family members of mine will get me to play it. And  I can't even finish it cause we just laughed so hard.

[00:34:57]Ben Hunter:  Since you write a lot of songs, have [00:35:00] you just been writing constantly since then, or has gone in and out of phases or how does that work? 

[00:35:05] Oliver McQuade: that's an interesting question. So when I was young, so right after that 12 old period where,  I discovered that writing a song didn't have to be Epic, you could just do it. And then we moved to Mexico. So from 13 to 15, I lived in Mexico and that was prime time for writing songs because I was basically on my own, did a bunch of different schooling things, but had a lot of free time to myself. And I would  write a song a day. My dad would come home from work and I'd show him the song that I had written that day.

[00:35:35] And so I was writing all the time then, and then when I got back to Canada and then, into my adulthood, it would be a song a year, it really slowed down and a lot of half songs and just not having the the tenacity to sit down and do the work of actually finishing it. So a lot of great ideas, but it definitely was realizing that it took work to get a final product and maybe being more critical of it at that [00:36:00] stage.

[00:36:01]Ben Hunter: What about that?  The first song that you wrote inspired by Iron Maiden  but then all those songs that you wrote in Mexico and the songs you've  written subsequently, do you go back and look at it though? I think it was like, I think 'Wondering" which is a Neil young song, I think he wrote that when he was 15 or something like that.

[00:36:19] And he put it on his rockabilly album, , 30 years later.  How do those early songs,  stack up? And is there a difference between those and the ones that you're writing now? 

[00:36:28]Oliver McQuade: That's such an interesting question because I can look back to those early songs and say, well, you didn't really know what you were singing about.

[00:36:37]Talking to my previous self, my kid's self, so you don't actually know what you're talking about, then you just thought it sounded cool. But when I do replay them and re remember them and listen to any recordings that I have that have survived since then, they're actually pretty good. And I think that  it kind of highlights that you can get trapped in your [00:37:00] own logic as an adult and as a more mature songwriter.

[00:37:05] And when you're unfettered, so to speak  as a kid, you can just let that stuff flow and you're not judging it constantly.  And I think that can allow for, , some pretty cool stuff to come out.  I think songwriting is really balancing those two things, because you don't just want a bunch of jibberish that you don't really believe in necessarily, but you also don't want to logic yourself into this ridiculous song that's,  makes so much sense. It's not cool.

[00:37:31]Ben Hunter:  Well, and I guess  you were talking about that, earlier in terms  of, , suspending that part of it. I've listened to the songs  we've had on the show here and "You think I'm bad". I love that song.


[00:37:43] Great song. Tell me about that.  When did you write that? 

[00:37:46] Oliver McQuade: That's the most recent song that I've written that one's only three or four months old or something like that? And I've always tried to write these like Epic,  deep solving the world [00:38:00] mysteries type songs. And I never let myself just write a song that is my emotion in that moment.

[00:38:07] And it was really cool to actually do that for this one. And so me and Natalie  had an argument or whatever, and I was sitting there with my guitar and just,  strumming a seventh chord with a little bit of a funky groove and feeling sassy or whatever. I was just like, you think I'm bad?

[00:38:25] I've been on my best behavior  and then the next line,  imagine if I didn't even try, like I'm trying to here, , and  she actually helped me finish it and she's such a good partner for writing and finishing songs, but, , it was really cool to just explore an emotion or an idea there and follow it through to its conclusion.

[00:38:46] I actually went for a dog walk and put my son in the backpack and walked around beautiful day on the mountains and the snow and everything, and  wrote the rest of it in my head. And then couldn't wait to get home and put it all down and [00:39:00] really happy with it. So, yeah, that's a different one for sure.

[00:39:02] But I really like it. Yeah. 

[00:39:05]Ben Hunter:  I think that's what really appeals to me about it is that there's all this. It's so relatable, and especially that line that you just quoted that's so  you think I'm bad now? Like this is me being good. Imagine if I were  and you even put in the line, which I always want to put it in that kind of song, which is  thinking what it would be like, if I didn't try,  so , that's one I really love.

[00:39:25] So obviously was that you really just followed how you were feeling at the time, just wrote it down. And what's the difference between that process and the process that you normally would use to write a song? , I'm always interested, as a songwriter myself, when I'm having that experience, I sit down and  I try to stay to myself.

[00:39:45] Wait, what am I actually thinking? Because so many times when we speak to people, we say things other than what we're thinking, and I can really relate to your whole thing of, if you ask me a question, I'm going to go back,  like 10 miles before I tell you all the background before I get back.

[00:39:59] And [00:40:00] that happens to me all the time too. I lose track of the question, but so then when I'm writing, I try to pick out the actual words that actually describe what I'm actually thinking or feeling at that moment. And maybe you could talk a little bit about that, about your process in relation to that, how you normally do it, what you did this time can you talk about that?

[00:40:20]Oliver McQuade:   It's kind of interesting. I'm actually thinking about it a little bit differently now  that you ask. Normally when I write a song, it's almost like I'm a few steps removed from it. So typically, my songs are so nonspecific that it could really be anything.

[00:40:37] I might have my own sort of meaning and influence to it, but they're pretty heavily laced with metaphors and , all this existential stuff, which is great. It allows a lot of space for somebody to put themselves into it and discover whatever. 

[00:40:53] Ben Hunter: So you do that on purpose to create that space for the listener.

[00:40:57] Oliver McQuade: Yeah, I think so. Yeah. But [00:41:00] maybe I've been scared of being specific, right? If I'm actually being honest, then maybe that's a part of it. So maybe it's intentional from an artistic standpoint to allow space for the listener. But maybe there's an aspect to it where I'm not being completely honest and saying what I'm actually feeling in a moment.

[00:41:20] So it was really cool. And to me it's a simpler song, but it's also not, it's as complicated and as complex and as important as anything else, if not more. So when you're actually talking about some stuff that's, in your head and your heart, so yeah. 

[00:41:37] Ben Hunter: Yeah, because , that song includes the whole idea, of, who you think you are, who you think your partner is, who they think you are, who they are, who they experienced themselves to be. And the slippage between that,  I mean, that's love, right. I mean, that's relationship really. Yeah. There's so much in there that's and everyone can relate to it. So it is also very universal, I think that's [00:42:00] great.  And also, can I just say that. Your performance of that song is great. Man. You got a great voice soaringvoice and  so fluid and everything. And I can relate to what you were saying  I was thinking about this as I was listening to that song and what you said about Clapton and,  Dave Grohl said that too. And I had that experience, like I have a problem with my music and it's me.

[00:42:24] So  it's easy to be your own  harshest critic. So what else would you like to say? I want to talk to you about, being a musician and where you want to go and stuff like that, but is there more that you want to say about songwriting? What keeps you doing it?

[00:42:38] Oliver McQuade: That's a good question.  I've got this theory that speaks to the importance of creativity. That every time you create, or anytime somebody creates something new, a piece of art or something that is new, that did not exist before, you actually make the world bigger. Because if you think [00:43:00] about it, so you can see this guy, obviously read a bunch of weird philosophy as a kid.

[00:43:05]So the world, there is only so much stuff in the world at this very moment. There is, the universe and it is composed of the stuff that is in it. What it doesn't have in it right now is my next song. And that's a fact, he can't, you can argue that no scientist in the world can tell me that's not true.

[00:43:23] And so when I write that next song, the universe gets bigger, right? Because none of the stuff that existed in it previously goes away.   I don't have to get rid of a song to add a new one. And so you are literally adding to life, the universe and everything. Every time you create something new.

[00:43:41] So that is my ultimate at the very bottom of the roots kind of inspiration. How's that? 

[00:43:48] Ben Hunter: That's fantastic, man. I love that. I totally love that. I'm going to be repeating that to people.

[00:43:54]Blake Melnick:  Good answer. 

[00:43:56] Ben Hunter: Great answer. , I wanted to talk to you also because you have [00:44:00] kids, right?

[00:44:01] Oliver McQuade: Yeah. I've got a seven month old and a two year old. 

[00:44:06]Ben Hunter: Your family has been a huge influence on you musically and, my family was too. And then of course, just,  everybody, I heard, the Beatles and Neil young and  all the music, music was such a huge part of our family life that it was always playing.

[00:44:21]And , I had this funny experience where with my brothers, since we're talking about brothers too, ,  he's a lawyer. He called himself the black sheep of the family. Cause he's the only one, that's not an artist in the family. And, I think he  fears that his kids will become artists.

[00:44:37] He's seen what a difficult road it is and you had  this incredible time in Mexico that was, unstructured that really fostered your creativity and let you just do nothing but do that. How, do you think about creating that space for your kids while still,  looking out for their best interests  how you navigate that, or how do you see that?

[00:44:55] Oliver McQuade: Such a good and hard question to answer  I think [00:45:00] that's  the question I'm constantly asking myself, because you do want to provide a ton of structure,  and safety and you want them to be okay and all of this kind of stuff. And I don't know, like I'm gonna, I'm going to answer that honestly. And not just how I think I should answer it because how I think I should answer is, well, I'm going to give them tons of space to be musically creative and they can fall down all this kind of stuff.

[00:45:24] But if I'm answering, honestly, to build this environment that keeps them safe. So I'll say this, my childhood was very unstructured at times, but  as much as we moved around in different houses every year and living in Mexico and back and all this kind of stuff, I knew that I had my parents, no matter what, for anything.

[00:45:45] So I always felt comfortable. Like I didn't have to hold the world on my shoulders. Like I was free to explore in that sense. So there was some aspect of structure or maybe not structure, but solidity. [00:46:00]  If that's even a word that was present to allow me to do that. So that's what I want to create. I knew that no matter what happened, I had my parents, I had my grandparents, I had this family unit around me. So that was the safety net rather than the day-to-day structure. So maybe I'm figuring this out right now on the podcast, but maybe that's the way to go is not have the rigidity and structure in the day to day.

[00:46:26] But in the background, knowing that it's there,  but you hit the nail on the head. That's really the question that needs to be answered for sure. 

[00:46:33] Ben Hunter: But I think that's it what you said, because  you're making me think about is that movie life is beautiful,  and, that movie  it's about life in the concentration camps , in the second world war, but he creates this fantasy life for his son. And that's the security that the son has  his dad is creating this incredible experience of life, that life is beautiful, even in the midst of this terrible thing. And  thinking a little bit about what you said, because funnily enough, Blake and I were talking about this [00:47:00] yesterday  about COVID and what that represents in our world in  bursting our bubble of security and safety, where  bad stuff happens in other parts of the world, and here in the first world or in the West or  like you said, for your lifetime, we've had this safety in this bubble and we haven't had to deal with that.

[00:47:17] And , I guess there's something in that that I think about without getting too heavy about it,

[00:47:23]Oliver McQuade:  let's get heavy, man. That makes me think about my earliest journals in Mexico and what I wrote on the front of it. And I still haven't to this day, Is that a perception is reality and that everything is relative to something else.

[00:47:39] So the theory relativity  is in every single thing, we are comfortable relative to those who are not, and we are happy relative to those who are not. And that's the whole, thing with Nietzsche as well is that you have to suffer to experience happiness  and I think that's been the driving theme of my music, and [00:48:00] writing.

[00:48:00] So you actually hit the nail on the head there where we, create these worlds for ourselves and the decisions that we make and , in the way that we interact with people and the way that we make choices  and steer our ship, create the reality that we're in. Like the life is beautiful guy,  who's to say that, if the kid is happy and enjoying  his day there who's to say that he's actually wrong, actually you're not, you're suffering

[00:48:27] it's like, well, no,  reality is  what you make it.  

[00:48:31]Ben Hunter:  I was going to wrap up with that, but I have to ask you this other question about that, given like yeah. Blake's going to edit this so whatever. But so it's easy for me to say whatever, then he has to fix it.

[00:48:46] From what I've understood,  from Blake mostly. Cause I haven't seen you live other than the video I've seen in during the porch sessions   but  Blake really, loves your live persona and just how you draw everyone in and you're the campfire Jesus you bring [00:49:00] everybody into it 

[00:49:00] How do you feel about  and you stated yourself, then it's my responsibility people are there to have a good time and they're going to have a good time if I do the song well and if they're enjoying it. And so it is about enjoyment and  it's entertainment but knowing. Now that we were having this pandemic experience, and this is one of the things I can never get off my mind, I know because I've traveled a lot , I know what's going on in the rest of the world. I don't feel comfortable just ignoring it, but I also don't want to bring everybody down all the time.

[00:49:33] You know what I mean? So how do you balance that? How do you balance  the good times with the campfire Jesus with  the sermon from the Mount how do you inject some gravitas here and there,  or do you think you, should

[00:49:44] Oliver McQuade: I think you do both fully instead of doing a little bit of each one or , something right in the middle or navigating that middle space, I think you do both full on.

[00:49:55] So if you're doing a funny song, make it fricking hilarious [00:50:00] and really go for it, and if that's the style that you're doing,  go for it. And then if you're doing a serious song, close your eyes, tilt your head back  and dig into that. Right. So that's what I would say is just a hundred percent do both ends of that spectrum rather than navigating the middle zone.

[00:50:17] Ben Hunter: Yeah. Perfect. And if you're really writing a song about anything, whether it's the fun song or the heavy song, how can you do anything else? Right. It's like really going for it. Yeah. That's great. That's awesome. So let's go from there. Let's talk a little bit about  where are you going?

[00:50:32] Young, man.

[00:50:38] Yeah.

[00:50:43] Not to worry, where do you want to go? And. How do you want to get there? And let's start with that. 

[00:50:52] Oliver McQuade: What I want is  by the time I go to have a bunch of [00:51:00] music that I've created, that I've recorded in a way that I'm proud of.

[00:51:04] So not haphazard, but  intentional, this is the way I want to represent that piece of art.  I would just want a bunch of that to exist and for others to have access to it. 

[00:51:15]Ben Hunter:   And so do you have clear ideas about what that is  do you have clear ideas musically as a sense of like, okay, I want this instrumentation, I want this kind of deal or not yet.

[00:51:25] Oliver McQuade: No I need a hand with that stuff, I think. Or I need to fully give my intention to that process, which I haven't taken the time to do , and it's probably, actually both of those things, a little bit of help and a little bit of, full focus on that. And so actually,  since lining up this podcast  and asking these sort of questions of myself, I've actually been a little bit reinspired and,  had a rehearsal with my band mates, drummer Ed  and bassiest Murph on Sunday.

[00:51:53] And it was really good. We, instead of, flowing through a whole bunch of songs, we just worked on one song. We just worked on, "You Think I'm [00:52:00] Bad" and it was really cool to give them how are they going to do it?  So Murph comes up with this incredible baseline that becomes the driving force of the song.

[00:52:09] So now I can back off on guitar, give space to that. The drums become a huge factor. As we add in the three-part live harmonies, instead of harmonizing with myself and filling in the gaps where I need them to be filled in, we naturally find our lanes and it changes the melody a little bit changes where the harmonies come in and then there's some extra stuff.

[00:52:29] So just having that group dynamic that you don't have when you're sitting in your bedroom, writing a song makes a huge difference. So I think that's the current path is to actually have some regular rehearsals, be a band , and get  some finished products to the point where we can go into a studio  and do it properly.

[00:52:49]Ben Hunter:  I completely relate to that and  I would say, yeah, that's a great way to do that.  And I would also just say  don't be afraid to push,  I think that's always been my experience as a song writer and band [00:53:00] leader that you got to push the other guys a little bit sometimes it depends on the people 

[00:53:04] Oliver McQuade: good point. Yeah. , I'm the guy in the room that wants everybody else to feel comfortable. And so I think stepping outside of my comfort zone in a way that says, no,  I'm not actually a hundred percent happy with that. That's a tough thing for me to say sometimes, but I think you're right.

[00:53:21] If the ultimate thing that you want  is a representation of your art, the way that you want it, then , that's not a terrible thing to say. That's just the thing that is necessary to say.  So,  I do appreciate you saying that.

[00:53:32]Ben Hunter:  Yeah. And  I can relate to that too I'm always conscious of I've done so many sessions where no one's getting paid so I'm very mindful of the gift and the contribution that guys are giving and at the same time.  And also, , I just love playing with people because the synergies that you're talking about experiencing with your band, that's the only way to get those things to happen. Right. You know? Yeah.

[00:53:54] And so  I'm always wanting to find people, looking for the things that the other guys are going to contribute that [00:54:00] I wouldn't have thought of to me, that always makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts. But at the same time,  I've learned the hard way by ending up with some pieces of music recorded that  I still cringe over because I didn't speak up.

[00:54:14] Oliver McQuade: I have that too. And you know, what you spent the time.  And so if you're spending the time anyways, really spend it. So yeah, I totally get what you're saying. Yeah. 

[00:54:24]Ben Hunter:  So it sounds like you have  a great thing going there in Kimberly.  Let's talk about this other part of a music career.

[00:54:31] And let me say before we go into this, that there's a million ways to do that.  There really are so many different paths to have a fulfilling career as a musician. And so  do you want to move on from there? You've got a family, you've got kids, you're building a house, is that what you already have what you want, or do you want to expand from there  talk about that for a minute? 

[00:54:52] I know Natalie always puts it in my head that, what would you be doing if you weren't, a family man would you be out on the road [00:55:00] and all that kind of stuff? And I tell her every single time and hopefully if she hears it on a podcast, it'll make it true.

[00:55:07] Blake Melnick: I was going to mention people will be listening to this 

[00:55:10] Oliver McQuade: for real now,  is that I am exactly where I want to be. And that is a hundred percent fact, like strap a lie detector to me. I am exactly where I want to be. I think that if I envision the future of my music in an ideal way, it's playing festivals, playing my own music, traveling every once in a while with the family.

[00:55:33]Packing up our trailer and doing a summer of festivals and having that experience, but more than anything else, like I'll always play live. And whether it's covers my own music, a festival or the stone fire, I'll always play live or somebody's backyard or Blake's house,  I just love playing music.

[00:55:49] So I'll always do that. So I'm not worried about getting that kind of fulfillment of playing with people, having people enjoy it and   but more than anything, if I can have [00:56:00] some recorded pieces that will just exist outside of myself and the world, that's  the ultimate thing that I would like to have in my musical career.

[00:56:11] Cool.  Is there any good studios there in Kimberly or do you have to go somewhere to get,  Blake's got this crappy little one here.

[00:56:20] There are, the Kooteney's is just riddled with incredibly interesting musicians and people, and there are studios here, like I've recorded. So gone. The version that we have for the show was me and Curt my cousin, Kurt, who was my musical soulmate and for years and years. And so he came to visit here in Kimberly and we recorded at Ray's studio and he's been unbelievable to musicians.

[00:56:44] Blake Melnick: He's a well-known guy he's been around the block. 

[00:56:47] Oliver McQuade: He's fantastic. So that's one guy locally.  I recorded with Heather, she set up a home studio and she's doing great things out of that and an incredible artist in her own. Right.  And then, there's a whole bunch of the pro ones on the sort of [00:57:00] periphery as well.

[00:57:00] So I think a combination of all of those produce something. 

[00:57:05]Ben Hunter:  To me it sounds like you've got a great thing. Is there anything that you haven't done yet that you want to do? 

[00:57:11] Oliver McQuade: Play a festival. The only times since moving to Kimberly  so I used to play with cousin Kurt again, 10 miles back.

[00:57:19]We'll catch up and so, okay. We're going to go even further back. So back when I moved onto the farm with my Opa I call it my cousin Kurt. He actually grew up in California,  Palm desert basically, and was removed from us and we'd only see each other at Christmases.

[00:57:37] And so the family would come up. His dad played with my dad in Whistler, back in the day in the eighties, they were like the band and Whistler, the McQuade brothers. And so I grew up singing the lead and my dad would sing the harmony. And my cousin grew up with his dad singing the lead. And so my cousin learned the harmony, so one Christmas, he comes out and we're going, we know each other's parts.

[00:58:00] [00:57:59] Like we can just, all of a sudden harmonize, we've never played together. So a few years later I moved to my Opa's farm and was working at the airport  and I called him and I was like, Kurt, you're living in Vancouver. Let's actually see if we can be a real band or really do this musically and make money, play shows, record stuff.

[00:58:18], so  he moved in with me and stayed on the couch for a few months. And then we got a place together. And one of our first gigs was actually my wife Natalie's birthday party. It was a free gig. My aunt knew her and said, Hey, I've got this gig for you. It's for free, but you'll get a ton of exposure because  this woman knows everybody in Whistler.

[00:58:36] And I rolled my eyes and said, not a chance and lo and behold, it was true. We went and played at Natalie's birthday and people that she knew knew the Whistler Blackcomb foundation. And so  we ended up opening up the Hill every year and playing the new opening of the chairlift and getting all these gigs in Whistler 

[00:58:55]and it was  the spawning of all of that. And I can't remember the [00:59:00] original question

[00:59:03] I do fortunately, not me talking this time

[00:59:10] Ben Hunter: if there's something you haven't done yet that you'd like to do. And  you were talking about the festival thing. 

[00:59:14] Oliver McQuade: Yeah, that's right.  So it wasn't until moving to Kimberly that I played on my own. And that was an interesting experience because I had always had the harmony me and Kurt on everything in harmony together.

[00:59:24] It was like the Everly brothers there wasn't a line without harmony. And so when I moved here, hearing my voice on my own was so disconcerting. I had to adapt as a musician and learn to sing on my own. And that spawned a whole new thing. I started doing my own kind of songs. It started changing my writing, and I've actually done shows that have been only originals here in Kimberly and a few different  places.

[00:59:50] And that's been really gratifying. So if I can do more of that at the festivals, that would be, promoting an album, singing songs from a recent album that to me would be [01:00:00] fantastic. 

[01:00:01]Blake Melnick: I've really enjoyed listening to the two of you talk. We've  covered the metaphysical to the existential. In both cases I wanted to jump in.  I was hugely influenced by existential philosophy growing up, and it shaped my view of the world  as John Paul Sartre would say, man makes himself,  we determine the future that we want and the life we want and we make it happen there is -no preordained destiny, although I know Nietzsche  did believe in destiny, but Sartre and others did not. That's a great conversation. I have a question for both of you though, and this would be a question that I would typically ask CEOs running big corporations 

[01:00:38] what keeps you up at night and I'm asking you both that in relation to your music. 

[01:00:45] Oliver McQuade: Ben, do you want to take that one first? 

[01:00:48] Ben Hunter: Yeah, sure. Because  I'm thinking it's going to be a different answer than yours  what really keeps me up at night at this point is running out of time. And, I hate to say that, [01:01:00] but it's the truth.  Most of the things don't bother me. , I'm so far down the road.  I'm actually just getting into doing a whole new kind of music because of COVID,   doing the thing on my own in my bedroom. And  I'm really jazzed about it.

[01:01:11] But creatively, I know myself so well and I've pushed myself so far, like farther than I thought I would ever go. And yet I know there's further to go because I do believe in what you said, the Sartrean thing. I believe in our ability to manifest greater aspects of ourselves than we know.  But, I've got this huge volume of material, so it's something you could relate to Oliver, and there's a tiny fraction of it that's out in the world. And for a long time, I didn't really care about that because I'm really not motivated by fame or attention.

[01:01:43] I'm really not. To me, they're sort of necessary evils of the byproducts of this business, where it's like, if I were a lot more famous, , I assume I would be better off. I'm not sure that I would be really, but,  it is true that I just want to leave. [01:02:00] I just want to acquit myself of all the gifts of creativity that I've been given, 

[01:02:06], I say that without feeling  everyone in the world needs to hear this. No, it's not that, but I want to prove too.  I want to equip myself with those gifts,  cause I do feel they were gifts that were given to me and I've got to give it out and I'm just hoping I still have enough time left to do it.

[01:02:21] So that's what keeps me up at night. maybe kind of a mundane answer, 

[01:02:25] Oliver McQuade: but yeah, I think I'd even agree with that to a large extent for myself. It reminds me of the, what's the movie where he's , goes into the bus and  in Alaska and that Oh yeah. Yeah. Whereas, he's trying to be alone

[01:02:43] and at the very end, he writes in his journal. Happiness is only real when shared and it sorta goes back to that relativity aspect, tree falls in the woods. Do you hear it? It's if you have these gifts, you have , this stuff flowing through you. And you really do need to share it. And [01:03:00] I think \ that's a bit of what keeps me up too.

[01:03:02] I need to muster up the energy and the courage and all that kind of stuff to make it so, cause it's not just going to happen. On its own. Right. And you could get hit by a bus tomorrow, so, get off your butt and do it- that's what I got to tell myself.  

[01:03:18] Ben Hunter: I'm looking at a shelf that has all of my writing on it that I haven't yet digitized.

[01:03:24] Like scores and scores of notebooks that filled with songs and fragments and ideas over the years. And I keep trying, I'm so bad at doing things systematically,  but I keep trying to digitize it just so that I , cause every once in a while I'll be like, Oh my God, what if there's a fire?

[01:03:39] We're here in California. There's my workup, my life's work. And that's just the written part of it.  But I completely agree with you.  I did a lot of traveling. I went around the world by myself and on the one hand I met great people because of that, because I wasn't with anyone.

[01:03:56] So I was really open to the people that I met and really appreciate [01:04:00] about them, but there were so many times when I saw something amazing and turned around to go  Oh my God, look at that. Like in the Himalayas,  sharing to me, it's like, no, man is an Island that really informs it for me. 

[01:04:12] We can get together in person. I'd love to swap stories about your travels. I did six months or so around the world and spent three of those in India. So.  I'd love to chat , with you about that in person, maybe over some beers  around the campfire 

[01:04:28] Blake Melnick: at a music festival in Kimberly.

[01:04:29] There you go. Well, , that is  how we would like to,  cap off the first season of past the jam is if possible to create something beyond,  to  all the musicians together, whether it be out here, which would be great. I know Ben's a big driving fan.

[01:04:46] It'd be nice to do something that's lasting, right? 

[01:04:50]Oliver when I hear that you and your now wife,  just took a turn  and,  drove 10 hours so that you can see Kimberly warms my heart. So I feel  I have to live up to that too.


[01:04:59]  Guys.  I [01:05:00] really, we appreciate you both coming on the show. It's been fascinating for me to hear you talk deeply about songwriting and your motivations  a ton of fun for us. And I think for our listeners,  the jam has been officially passed down to Oliver McQuaid.

[01:05:12] Now the holder of the jam and for our audience, please visit our show blog. There'll be some information about Oliver. We'll make sure that you hear all the tracks over the next month or so as we play them for the intros and outros to the show. And then of course we'll have a culminating, episode where we play all the tracks.

[01:05:29]Ben, I can't thank you enough. You've been one of the most gracious co-host certainly that I've ever had now might  it's only been less than a year, but,  you've been super supportive and it was great to have you on the show. People loved your episode. I'm sure they're going to love this one.

[01:05:44] I hope you'll come join us again on, on future episodes of the show. 

[01:05:48]Ben Hunter: I would never have met Oliver if it wasn't for you and for this show. And I'd like to meet him in person now,  really jam . It's been a real pleasure for me. So thank you so much. 

[01:05:57] Blake Melnick: Oh, you're most welcome. 

[01:05:57]Ben Hunter:  I would love to come up there and Jam, [01:06:00] I'll bring some kind of Gretsch.  That's my promise. That sounds good. I'm a Gretsch fan. No, likewise, Ben, I really appreciate, taking the time to get to know me. And it's been really cool to getting to know you, so I can't wait for the next stage of that.

[01:06:14] If ever have anything that you want to ask me about or talk, or  just shoot the breeze or whatever, , feel free to text me and I can call Canada for free anytime. I'm happy to call you. 

[01:06:22] Oliver McQuade: Cool. I appreciate that.  Awesome. Cool. Yeah. 

[01:06:28] Blake Melnick: All right, Ben. Thanks again, man. We'll talk soon. 

[01:06:31]And Oliver. Thank you. You've been a great guest. This has been a fascinating conversation. I've loved this episode and I'm looking forward to playing your songs for the next month or so. And of course, getting back together with you again. To pass the jam to the next artist. For what it's worth




Part 2 with Co-Host Ben Hunter