SIX NATIONS, ON – For over two weeks in October, Jukasa Studios was hit with some hard-rock flavor from Cree Rising, the Cree rock band from Chisasibi, Quebec. The band recorded their 11-track self-titled album debut in the studios, which was a big move for the band hailing from the cold, remote community on the eastern shores of James Bay.
Back in 2012, self-taught musicians Darrel Spencer (guitar), John Scipio (bass), Brian Fireman (lead vocalist) and Timothy Bosum (drummer) had been in bands of their own but would go check out each other’s shows. Eventually they decided it was time to join forces and wanted to create music of their own.
“I was getting tired of just playing covers and we wanted to write our own material, so that’s how we started,” says Spencer.
“We grew up listening to bands like Metallica,” adds Fireman, “One day we thought we wanted to find our own style of music so we found a style that is a little bit of Nickleback and Linkin Park, some U2 and Bon Jovi.”
Cree Rising have been making waves at the music festivals in Chisasibi and the surrounding area, opening for bands like Hedley, Simple Plan, Faber Drive, Prism, Claude McKenzie and Blackstone, as well as garnering a ton of community support.
With the help of their managers, including studio manager Chris Sam, the band worked towards seeking sponsorship from various parties in Chisasibi and the nearby communities, as well as putting on shows to raise funds to bring them to Six Nations to record their first album at the Jukasa Recording Studios.
“I used to be in the band when it started, but I went my own way to get more education in music production, and the band asked me to join them in the studio,” Sam shares. “My role in the band was talking to the guys to bring their best in the studio, and they did. I’m proud of them.”
The band chose to record at Jukasa after reaching out to other musicians for advice.
“We had a friend who played on the same stage as Blackstone. They recently finished an album with them, so we messaged them and starting doing our own research,” explains Spencer. They got a tip from Stevie Salas about recording at Jukasa and quickly found the studio was accommodating to their needs.
“The price was pretty good and they have a nice facility. It’s a real rock studio,” says Spencer. The group came prepared with some songs as well as writing new music right in the studio. “There were some songs we didn’t really want to do but then out of the blue we just knew what to do with it”, adds Bosum.
“It’s been a very good experience. The people are very nice. Overall, it wasn’t like anything we expected, it was a lot more than that. It’s a really nice place.” Scipio adds, “I thought the process was going to be more strict but our engineers are good men. They like to go with the groove.” The group sang high praises about Jukasa because of their ability to allow musicians to have the freedom to create their own sound.
“Expect to see our name Cree Rising out there. We want people to know who we are and where we’re from,” says Spencer. The rest of the band adds, “We’re doing this for the youth back home. We want to show them what they can do and that’s its possible, you just have to believe in it, and work hard for it. You need patience and sacrifice and it can happen.”
After completing the recording of their first album, Cree Rising have big plans to bring their hard rock ballads to other First Nations communities. You can find out more information on the Cree Rising Facebook page.