In this month’s interview series, we sat down with Ryan Peekeekoot of Black Rain to talk about Indigenous culture, music, and their hopes for young artists. Black Rain is brothers Ryan and Jamie Peekeekoot and bassist Kevin Joseph, all from Ahtahkakoop Cree First Nation in Saskatchewan. The trio is currently working on their 5th studio album––even through Covid-19. If you love rock and roll, Black Rain could just be your new favourite band.
Do you have any advice for younger generations interested in making or pursuing music?
Write your own music. Get yourself a home recording studio to practice and record your own material as you perfect your music.
Who do you hope to reach with your music?
I want to make music that appeals to everyone from young to old. I write my music in the hopes that it will bring some kind of emotion to whoever hears it.
How did you get involved with Indigenous Cloud and why do you think this platform is important?
Through George Parker we were signed to your label for many years and made 3 albums with him. We released our first album on our own but the last 3 were with George. I think it is important because it’s the next step in music. It’s the only way to go now. A platform such as Indigenous Cloud would help promote and distribute Indigenous artists who might not otherwise have an opportunity or a place to showcase their talent.
Do you think it’s important for Indigenous music to be shared with the world?
Because it’s great music. It’s all different genres where Indigenous artists in Canada, US all around World tap into every genre of music including Rock, Country, Rap to Instrumental, Jazz and Blues you name it. Yes, it’s great music, great music and it has great stories. Yes, there are a lot of great Indigenous artists out there.
“A platform such as Indigenous Cloud would help promote and distribute Indigenous Artists who might not otherwise have an opportunity or a place to showcase their talent.”
What impact do you think Indigenous music has/can have in Canada, North America, the world?
It has made a great impact. Look at Buffy St MarieOscar-winning, Juno winner and probably others that I don’t know about. There’s Robbie Robertson of the Band. One of the most influential guitar players in the World. There are a lot of Indigenous artists who have made a huge impact in the world of music and entertainment. It has already made a huge impact and will continue to make a huge impact the World over.
What would you like to see change in the music industry at large?
What I see a lot of artists complaining about is the streaming service like Spotify, Itunes and services like that pay artists virtually nothing. Yet making billions off of them doesn’t make sense. Why can someone start a company selling artists, musicians work their life and they get paid virtually nothing. Indigenous Cloud is trying to change this by profit sharing with the Artists.
What are some of the barriers or challenges you’ve faced in your music career? What have been some highlights?
One of the challenges we’ve faced is just being a First Nation… We’ve tried hard doing the best we can, playing gig after gig, making album after album and not being taken seriously by both our own people by not sounding traditional or incorporating pow wow music into our songs… And the mainstream radio and music industry just seems to ignore us just because we are native… Even though we have hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube.
Why do you think it’s important for up-and-coming artists to work with a professional producer?
Working with a professional producer is great! They got some tricks and techniques that make recording a lot easier.
Who are some of the artists you’ve worked with and what did you love about their work?
Opening for Skidrow was definitely one of the best times of my life!!! Grew up idolizing them… had the tapes and CDs and posters on my wall!