Ian Casselman talks about his latest musical adventure with the Dowco Triumph Street Pipe Band

It’s not uncommon to encounter Marianas Trench drummer Ian Casselman at work in a recording studio. He is, after all, a member of one of Canada’s most popular rock bands.

What is unusual, however, is seeing him at the helm behind the mixing board, with the 38 member-strong Dowco Triumph Street Pipe Band in front of him, recording a full-length CD, With Purpose. That’s right, a pipe band!

So how do these two seemingly disparate musical forms team up? 

“I used to play in pipe bands for most of my youth,” recalls Casselman, who tells me he started around the age of seven and continued to play up until his early twenties. 

“I always loved it, but it requires an insane amount of work to be in a pipe band of this caliber. If I wasn’t in Marianas Trench I would try and be in this band.” 

As Pipe Major of the award-winning group that ranges in age from 13-52, David Hilder previously played in a pipe band with Casselman. He says it was their knowledge of each other and mutual respect that formed a perfect combination for the studio.

“We have a very similar musical approach when it comes to the pipe band world,” says Hilder.

“Our lead drummer Andre Tessier asked Ian to come out and have a listen, and we started talking about the fact that we wanted to do an album. We wanted to capture the moment in time with where we’re at with our pipe band," he says.

With a number of hit singles and multiple video awards to his credit, Casselman’s knowledge of the recording industry has served the pipers well. 

“I think they thought it might be a good idea to bring me on board -- which remains to be seen," he modestly added. "I always wanted to get back into it and I have a huge passion for it. I love it and some of the best years of my youth were spent doing this.’”

“Through the four days of recording, all 38 people had a great experience,” adds Hilder of the studio experience. “We’re a big family and this has been a really exciting year.”

So what does Casselman hope this endeavor will achieve?

“I don’t think that the pipe world is a closed scene, but they also don't seek out other producers and mixers; they stick to people who have been recording pipe bands for awhile. By having fresh ears, I hope we make something that is sonically superior to other pipe band recordings and truly capture what they’re really about.”