Danger Pay: Uncertain times have not stopped Whitehorse’s Speed Control from pushing on, with a new EP due this winter

When Speed Control released the single “Danger Pay,” with an accompanying music video best described as over-the-top, the members had no idea how much or how quickly it would blow up. The clip, made in collaboration with Brendan Preston Productions and released in November, is currently sitting at more than 35,000 views on YouTube. The song has been added to several high-profile Spotify playlists.

“It’s like 1,000 a day,” said Graeme Peters, guitarist and vocalist for the band. “That’s never happened to us before. I think it’s a great song and I think it’s one of the most hilarious music videos I’ve ever seen and I’m in it.”

A long-time fixture of the Yukon’s music scene, Speed Control has been led by brothers Graeme and Jody Peters since its inception in 2010. To hear the brothers tell it, they’re now becoming more of a well-rounded band with the relatively recent additions of Greg McLaughlin on lead guitar and vocals, and Eric Holland on drums and vocals.

When there isn’t a pandemic ravaging the world, Speed Control is typically on tour for huge chunks of the year. Without any touring underway for the past two years, the musicians have found time for other things, or found other things to fill their time. While Graeme stepped up his golf game in the summer, both brothers have also kept busy with their day jobs as teachers.

“I’ve got 45 music students,” said Graeme. “It’s killing me but I love it at the same time.”

The band had planned to set out on a short winter tour in B.C., but the likelihood of that happening rapidly dissolved as B.C. was hit with a wave of the COVID Omicron variant that led to new restrictions and shutdowns.

“Everything opens and then shuts down again and then opens and then shuts down again,” said Graeme. “But that’s normal now.”

With their extra downtime and newer additions to the Speed Control lineup, the Peters brothers are pushing themselves to play more technical music. Though they’re happy to see themselves improve as musicians, it’s also a humbling experience, at least for Graeme, who often finds himself tiring out faster at rehearsals and recording sessions.

Jody voiced his disappointment at the fact that it’s so common to see bands booking long tours that have to be cancelled almost immediately. He admitted it’s difficult to stay upbeat without knowing when it might finally be safe for Speed Control to get back out on the road.

“It’s been harder to keep that motivation,” said Jody. “There hasn’t been much of a break in the COVID situation across Canada.”

Though they may not get to perform across North America for some time yet, the members of Speed Control are excited to finally unveil their new EP this winter. It’s been in the works for a long time. In 2020, they released “Inspector Tang” and “Headlights.” In 2021, there was “Danger Pay.” A fourth single (for the song “Mr. Romance”) will soon be accompanied by a Brendan Preston music video.

“It was one of those ones that we wrote in 15 minutes at a rehearsal session,” Jody said of “Mr. Romance.” The EP doesn’t have an official title yet, but the Peters brothers have plenty of ideas for what it might be.

The writing process differed on each song, with different members of the band sharing in the writing and bringing ideas to the table. The band recorded the EP themselves, which turned out to be much easier than having to work within the confines of a studio with hourly rates.

Before they’re able to set off on tour again, Speed Control will continue to focus on writing new songs and shaping new ideas. It’s hard to set specific goals with the state of the world right now, but there are a few directions the members of Speed Control would like to see the band go in the future.

“I would love to be really huge in an obscure country,” said Jody.

To listen to Speed Control’s music and see their videos, as well as to keep up with the band’s plans, visit speedcontrol.ca.

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