There is an insistent, fierce intensity to the music of Cannons. The songs on their new, EP, Written On the Wall are emblematic of a band that is truly focusing its talent and energy towards the goal of creating memorable rock music, and ensuring its ascent to the upper echelon of the Canadian music scene.
The Ottawa-based quintet has spent the better part of two years crafting a remarkably powerful and potent collection of songs and, as befits a band of such demandingly high standards, they wanted to work with the best in the business in order to bring their vision to reality.
Written on the Wall saw Cannons, comprised of vocalist/guitarist Shaun Francisco, drummer Mike Hogg, keyboardist/guitarist Marty Sobb, lead guitarist Nick Beaton and bassist Mark Laforest, collaborating with two top Canadian music luminaries: producer/songwriter extraordinaire Gavin Brown (The Tragically Hip, The Trews, Billy Talent) and Trews co-founder and guitarist John Angus MacDonald, a producer of note in his own right.
Additionally, two of the tracks on the EP were produced by the band at Ottawa's Raven Street Studios, under the direction of noted Juno-winning engineer Ken Friesen (Tragically Hip, Blue Rodeo, Great Big Sea).
Cannons started their career in 2013 under the name Autumns Cannon, releasing the critically-acclaimed album Open Letter, which was recorded at The Tragically Hip's studio – The Bathhouse – near Kingston, Ontario.
The idea of changing their name came from a very Zuckerberg/Sean Parker type conversation with super producer Bob Ezrin. He said "that's the worst band name ever! Drop the Autumns and just go with Cannons." After leaving their label and management, they agreed that a name change could really help facilitate a fresh start for the band.
Songs from Open Letter received more than 2,000 plays on Canadian radio and the band's reputation as a live act landed them prestigious opening slots for The Goo Goo Dolls and the legendary ZZ Top. They have also shared the stage with Big Wreck, Tom Cochrane, 54-40, April Wine, Treble Charger, and Peter Frampton.
"Those tours were a great lesson in Touring 101 for us. And I think we really proved ourselves on those big stages," said Sobb. "When you walk into an arena and you're opening for ZZ Top you put on your big boy pants and provide the kind of show worthy of a band like that and their fans. I grew up with both ZZ Top and the Goo Goo Dolls and it's something special and career changing to share the stage with them, have dinner in the same room with them, and hearing that they really appreciated what we did."
All the experiences they have had in their musical lives and the endless hours of rehearsing and being exacting about the high quality of music they want to represent in this stage in the band's evolution has produced an EP that is mature in its sound and tone, yet still unbridled, explosive rock and roll.
"Written On The Wall is pretty raw and very natural sounding. There's lots of grit and energy in every song. Shaun has a gem of a voice that really cuts through and really soars", said Hogg. "We sound pretty damn good on record, but live is where you really need to experience us at our best. We leave everything up on that stage".