While some people sip on gin and juice, Dojo Workhorse prefer whiskey and OJ. Passing a flask around on a warm summer afternoon along the Bow River, frontman Dan Vacon and drummer Scott Ross discuss the band that is often overshadowed by their better-known group, The Dudes.
Dojo Workhorse is anything but a side project, Ross says. While there is crossover between the two projects, Vacon and Ross agreed they take both bands just as seriously, even though neither went out of their way to point it out.
"It's just kinda how it happened, one kind of spread more than the other," Vacon explains.
"Dojo was kind of hard to get out on the road for a while, but now the ducks are lining up and it was just finding the right people to be able to present the music properly," Ross adds. "You don't want to consider anything a side project because you'll be pretty embarrassed when the other one takes off and leaves the other ones in the dust."
If their shows are any indication, the band has indeed found the right combination, drawing crowds in bars and booking dates at music festivals across the country with the sweet sounds of Vacon's voice next to a diverse range of instruments including a cello and a synthesizer.
The band has hit a few festivals this summer, but speak highly of Calgary's Folk Festival. They mention that musicians are kept comfortable with massages and have access to a private beer garden.
"I've had two massages already and I'm gonna get two more tomorrow," Ross says.
But massages and private beer gardens don't count for everything. Vacon mentions the Mukwah Jamboree, a much smaller festival the band will play in August, has been a lot of fun to attend in the past as an audience member.
"It's just straight up party camping, and there's a big clearing where they built a stage," Ross says.
"I just took my guitar and went from campfire to campfire -- it's kind of like [Folk Fest's workshops] with little collaborations," Vacon adds.
When touring from one festival or gig to another, the band find themselves playing games like Would You Rather or keep each other entertained with facts gleaned from an iPhone application.
"Dan's been going ape shit with this iPhone thing and he likes to tell us facts," Ross says.
One fact Vacon clearly remembers was about the Mexican Molly, the only fish that wears a moustache.
"They were doing some studies recently and they found out the girl fish, without the moustache, found the fish with the bigger moustaches more attractive and would get it on with them," Vacon explains. "So it's not just human ladies that are in to the 'stache."