A Tribe Called Red frontman opens up about leaving the band

Ian Campeau, one of the founders of the Indigenous music group A Tribe Called Red, has announced he is leaving the group. He spoke to All in a Day about the taxing toll of life on the road and what's next for him.

Ian Campeau talks about 'taxing' life on road and when he knew he had to make a change

Ottawa-born Ian Campeau announced his departure from A Tribe Called Red on Wednesday.

Ian Campeau, one of the founders of the Indigenous music group A Tribe Called Red, has announced he is leaving the group. 

In a statement released Wednesday, Ottawa-born Campeau said it was best for his health and that he'd also grown apart from his bandmates. 

He added he's now shifted his focus towards public speaking and advocacy.

Campeau sat down with CBC Radio's All in a Day to speak about the departure and what's next on his agenda.

How does it feel to step away from A Tribe Called Red?

"It feels great. It really put a heavy weight — a burden — on me to deal with depression and anxiety while touring. I found it quite isolating and it became toxic to be away so long. For me, it was very much drowning in isolating depression and anxiety, and then getting home for a second and being able to grab a breath, then [I've] got to tour again. It was taxing. Every night was a Friday night and every morning was a Monday morning."

What changed the dynamic of the band?

"[After] 10 years hanging out and doing the same stuff, being in the same van, in the same hotel room, the conversation got tired and the interests just went apart. The other members really love wrestling and TV shows … I have other things I'm really busy doing. When those conversations happen I usually just put on headphones."

How has the way you think about the DJ lifestyle changed?

"When you're DJing, you're feeling out the crowd. You're vibe-ing out. When we were playing out sets with Tribe, it was a set. So [now], hearing music I want to hear and feeling out a crowd is something I love doing."

Is it different leaving a group you founded versus one you joined along the way?

"I'm really happy with the work we've done. I wish nothing but the best. I have a goal and a specific timeline for that goal. Outside of Tribe, I can do things more effectively in achieving that goal. I can get ideas out directly to people who can change society instead of hoping they'll catch my music."

What's next for you?

"I'm with the NSB (National Speakers Bureau), I'm doing community talks. I also want to start the idea of having potluck dinners before these talks to bring community together. As much as Tribe has built community, I feel that my effort can be better put in this way to go towards my goal."

Answers have been edited for length and clarity.