For some people, becoming a rock star and playing to festival crowds is a life-long dream. For Sunday Buckets, forming a band was just a logical way of learning to play instruments.
“We all figured why not?” said Kale Penny, lead singer of the funk-pop-rock band. “We wanted to do this for fun and it started to get serious when we realized that we were OK.”
Penny had just begun playing the guitar in Grade 11 when the band formed. What started off as jamming with his older brother Jarrett (also on guitar) and his friends has grown steadily, and publicly, ever since.
Their first “real” show, following backyard performances, was a battle of the bands at Legends Nightclub (currently Club 9one9) in 2006.
The Buckets won.
“We were all learning together,” said Penny, now 21. “None of us knew anything in the beginning, so these past few years have been a big learning process and everything just seems to come to us more naturally now.”
Sunday Buckets, which also includes Eric Frazer (vocals and guitar), Chris Taylor (bass) and Nick McRae (keyboard), earned its unique name the day Frazer joined the band. At that time, McRae had just returned from Thailand with an appreciation of “buckets,” alcoholic drinks served from plastic buckets fit for making sand castles and popular among travelers.
“We were all kinda stoked on the night and riding this high and we went out and had some drinks together,” Penny said. “It was a Sunday, believe it or not.”
From then on, the group of Mount Doug, Claremont and Oak Bay grads have kept the name that embodies the high-energy, party vibe of the band.
“There’s six people in the band so there’s a lot going on,” said Adam Sutherland of Infinity Studios, producer of their last disc Curious Crimes,
Part of what makes Sunday Buckets and their story-telling song style unique, Sutherland said, is the presence of two strong singers in the group. Frazer takes the lead on three of their latest tracks.
“There’s a different voice for every kind of person,” said Sutherland, also the interim drummer for the band. “They blend well together, but they’re definitely unique in their own way.”
Sutherland will perform with Sunday Buckets this weekend (June 24-25) at Tall Tree Music Festival, a showcase of West Coast artists aimed at preserving old growth forest.
“The goal for us is to get as far away from the city as we can and play as many shows as we can in the next few years,” Penny said. “We’re all just focusing on pushing Tall Tree because it’s a growing festival and then hopefully getting (more shows) together for the end of the summer.”
Sunday Buckets will also play this year’s Dragon Boat festival in the Inner Harbour (Aug. 12-14).
And if his plans for reaching a larger audience don’t come to fruition, Penny is comfortable with where they sit in the local scene.
“It’s a great community for live music,” he said. “It’s not too intimidating because it’s not huge. That small town aspect allows everyone to keep in touch and come to everyone else’s shows and support everyone. That’s what’s really good about Victoria.”