New Slang: Cody Canada & The Departed

Photos Courtesy of the Artist

by: Thomas D. Mooney

We caught up with Cody Canada of Cody Canada & The Departed a while back, but are finally getting it out now. The Oklahoma five-piece are one of the staples in The Lubbock Music Festival lineup this year and will be playing tonight (Sept 28) down in the Depot District with Red & the Vityls (as well as a number of other acts throughout the three-day festival). 

Last year, they released “This is Indian Land,” an ode to their native Oklahoma and the bands that helped mold Canada and company. Their sophomore record, “Adventus” will be released November 13. You can hear the first single, “Worth the Fight” here.

New Slang: First thing I wanted to talk about was “This is Indian Land.” It’s of course all covers of Oklahoma-based artists. Certainly feels like this wasn’t just a spur of the moment idea, but rather something that had a bunch of thought put into.

Cody Canada: I had been kicking that idea around for about seven years. At the time, Ragweed had a record deal and the label never really wanted to put out a cover record. I always voiced to them that it really wasn’t a cover record to the masses, but only to the people of Oklahoma who know these songs. I wanted people to know where we came from. Wanted them to know where I came from and the music I grew up on and the music that made me want to write and play music. The label really didn’t want to do that. They didn’t like that idea. I’m not sure if they thought it was a bad idea or if they just didn’t want to do it. Also, there were tunes we really couldn’t do as a four-piece garage band. And then there were disagreements on what songs we should put on the record. It really turned into a lot of work. So it got shelved several times. So when Ragweed ended, I didn’t have enough tunes to put out an original record right away. So I thought, with no label to argue about it with, let’s just do this record now and buy some time for a year to write some tunes that we were proud of and the second record will be all original. It was really perfect timing. I was always upset that we couldn’t do that album.

NS: Yeah. How did you decide on the 16 songs? Those artists all have so many great songs. Like how do you decide on a Leon Russell song?

CC: It was really easier to pick the songs than to pick the songs that weren’t going to make it. There were so many. That could have been a 25 album. But we know, in the grand scheme of things, we can’t do too many. You know, there was countless other people who should have had a cut on the record. Tom Skinner was the first one. Red Dirt Rangers was the second. Randy Crouch was maybe the third. Those were the three people who absolutely had to be done.  They had to be on there. The record wasn’t going to be the same. Throwing the ones out was the hard put. 

NS: Those first shows you guys were doing, they were primarily being dominated by these songs versus original, new material that you’re currently working on. How did people respond to it?

CC: I learned in the last year, year-and-a-half, that people really dug it and really appreciated the record. And, really understood why I did it. But, just from talking to people–we’re really into going out before the show and hanging out at the bar and just talking to people and seeing what they have to say. A lot of them loved the record, loved the tribute to those musicians who made us who we are, but they were really, really anxious to hear what we have. We were in Bloomington, Illinois and we pretty much played everything off the Indian Land record. But every time we played something they never heard before, it got the best response. People are ready to hear what we’ve got to say. That just tickles the shit out of me. It’s awesome to have people who excited and that loyal. I can never repay them for wanting to hear what’s on my mind. 

NS: Speaking of new material, you guys are on the new record now. How’s that been coming along?

CC: You know, between recording the first record and recording the second, it’s been about a year and a half. It’s exactly what I wanted to do. Buying some time. Once we got in there, we realized we had 18 original tunes. We talked about doing a couple of outside songs that didn’t make Indian Land on here, but we also thought it’d be a statement to come out with 18 tunes that were all us. On my notes I had, I had written down 12, but once we started doing things in the studio, we realized we had many more. I would like to release all 18 of them. See what happens. 

NS: With this new record–I don’t want to have to compare The Departed with Cross Canadian Ragweed or anything–but what should people expect from them that’s different?

CC: I think being in a band for 16 years–Jeremy and I have been in a band together 16 years–I think people are going to expect what we’ve done in the past. They’re going to get it. Looking at this band, there’s me and Seth, Steve, and Jeremy doing the writing and the singing. Everybody’s going to be able to tell who started that tune. They’re going to be able to tell if it’s a song that I started or if it’s a song that Seth started. They’re going to know. This is the first record that I’ve been apart of in a long time that we had to scrape the bottom of the songwriting barrel to find some slow songs because so far, it just hauls ass. That’s a good problem to have. It’s love. It’s loss. It’s angry. I write a lot of angry stuff. I’m an angry person because, when I find something I disagree with, instead of hitting the person in the face, I write a song about it so it’s recorded forever. 

NS: I guess this next question kind of circles back to Indian Land in a way. Indian Land is about artists who have helped shaped you as a musician. But, Cross Canadian Ragweed was around a long time. You’ve personally been making music for a long time. Long enough where you’ve had an impact on new bands and musicians. You’ve made people pick up a guitar and learn to play and write. What is that like where you can look back and realize that you’ve had an impact on other people’s careers?

CC: It’s a weird feeling. It really is. I’m not an old man by any means. I’m 36, but I also started when I was 16. To hear people say that I’m the reason they picked up a guitar or started writing music, there’s a little bit that makes me feel like I’m really getting older [laughs]. But there’s also that “Really?” feeling. That can’t be. I’ve always written and recorded music for myself. I never have written it for other people and for them to really dig it and to be influenced by it, it’s kind of confusing to me. I thought I was the only one I was writing this for [laughs]. But apparently, it’s helped out this person. It’s made this person feel exactly the same as when I wrote it. It’s a very humbling feeling, but in the same breath, it makes you realize you’ve been doing this for a long time [laughs]. 


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