Day 611:46Ontario rock duo cover Beatles’ classic as Canada’s FIFA World Cup anthem

As the Canadian men’s soccer team prepares to play in its first FIFA World Cup since 1986, up and coming progressive rock band Crown Lands has released the team’s 2022 anthem. 

The Juno Award-winning duo — of Cody Bowles and Kevin Comeau from Oshawa, Ont. — belted out their rendition of The Beatles’ classic song Come Together, hoping to inspire fans, and lift Canada’s spirit, as the team plays in one of the most watched sporting events in the world.

Bowles and Comeau spoke with Day 6 host Brent Bambury. Here’s part of that conversation.

What was it like to be asked to record an anthem for the FIFA World Cup team? 

Kevin Comeau: Yeah, it was quite humbling. TSN reached out to us through our label and they wanted us to do a song and we dug in.

Come Together is a song that has kind of been in our repertoire for years — it’s just got a riff that lives forever.

We recorded it and we sent it to them and they loved it. 

How big of a soccer fan are you? 

Cody Bowles: Honestly, I don’t play soccer, but I have so much appreciation and respect for the sport and I know how big it is, especially world wide for this event. You know, it’s a big deal. 

Kevin Comeau: Getting into soccer has been an idea I’ve been kicking around. 

When you sing a song like this, when you think of John Lennon’s vocals, what do you do to both be respectful of that, but make it your own? 

Cody Bowles: Well, we have been playing this song for a while now. I’ve had time to sit with the lyrics and really insert my own kind of soul and put my spin on these words.

I’m channeling myself in my influences, in my voice with how I’m saying them.

I’ve already kind of had the time to live with the song and make it my own. 

Kevin, what about that guitar solo? 

Kevin Comeau: George Harrison’s one of my all-time faves, and we decided to use a walkie talkie that our buddy modified into a guitar amp. That’s how we got the tone for the solo.

George was kind of the master of laying down harmonies, so we decided to double track the solo. 

That’s how you get that kind of really wide wild sound at the end there.

It’s always fun to kind of put the producer’s cap on, and we really kind of flex those muscles on this track. Because Come Together has basically become what a rock standard would be, right? 

Crown Lands speak with Day 6 host Brent Bambury at CBC in Toronto, Ont., Nov. 17. (Sinisa Jolic/CBC)

How did you two musical nerds come together in the first place? 

Kevin Comeau: I crashed an audition. Cody was playing drums in this other band, and I was travelling around. 

Just before that, I hitchhiked to California, and I had joined a reggae band playing keyboards. And then the day I got back, my buddy was auditioning for this band as their new guitar player, and I was like, “I’m going to come along.” 

I heard Cody was a big Rush fan, and I am also a big, big Rush fan. And yeah, it just kind of came together. 

Cody, is it hard to hit drums hard and sing the way you do? 

Cody Bowles: Yeah. Kevin actually told me a while ago that I hit drums a lot softer when I’m really going for it with my vocals.

Something that a lot of people don’t realize about singing is that like when you sit down, your diaphragm is kind of cut in half, like the power that you have to draw from. 

When I’m playing live, I’m having to really manoeuvre around my drum seat in order to engage as much diaphragm as I possibly can to be able to do what I’m doing. 

Kevin Comeau: What we found [was] Cody would sit behind the kit and every time he hit the snare drum they would just shriek. And so we just used it, you know, we just stuck a microphone on.

Crown Lands win for breakthrough group of the year | Juno Awards 2021

Rock duo Crown Lands accept their award for breakthrough group of the year at the 2021 Juno Opening Night Awards.

I don’t know who to ask this question to, so I’ll just put it out there. I want to ask you about the name of your band, Crown Lands. How did you come to pick that name? 

Cody Bowles: I have my [Indigenous] ancestry. So when we were coming to name the band, someone mentioned Crown Lands and we were like, “wow, I don’t know.” 

Then we looked into it more and Crown Lands is what the reservations are built on. It’s also what the government uses for clear cutting and oil fracking and stuff.

We really wanted to say something about that and to really reclaim it, just for Indigenous people and kind of reframe that. 

Do you get Indigenous people coming out to your shows? 

Cody Bowles: Yes, lots. And sometimes we play our song End of the Road, which is about missing, murdered Indigenous women and children along the Highway of Tears.

We’ve had a few people who come up to us afterward really thanking us and crying and stuff.

It’s really sad, it’s really emotional, but it’s real and that’s kind of what the mission statement has been — at its core is to really elevate Indigenous issues and Indigenous voices. 

Crown Lands | End Of The Road | Juno Awards 2021

Rock duo Crown Lands perform “End of the Road,” beginning with a spoken word piece on the Highway of Tears and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Woman. Live from the Juno Opening Night Awards (Presented by Music Canada).

White Buffalo also is a song that has Indigenous themes. What’s the reaction been to making something like White Buffalo so central to your sound and mission. 

Cody Bowles: It’s been overwhelmingly a positive reaction and reception. 

People are really listening and especially in the last couple of years; people are really listening to Indigenous people and voices more than I think I’ve ever seen, which is really amazing. 

I think it’s about time. People have been saying these things for a long time. 

So this is a pretty historic thing for Canada to be participating in in the World Cup. How does it feel to be part of it? 

Cody Bowles: It feels really surreal to be a part of it. You know, the more we think about it, the more we talk about it, the more real it is. And it’s like, “oh, wow, this is a massive, massive event.”

Kevin Comeau: I’m just having a ball. 

Cody Bowles: We’re just so grateful. 

Produced by Pedro Sanchez. Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.

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