June 29, 2010
Mixing Blog #2Its pouring rain. I’m in the kitchen of Montreal’s Studio 451, watching videos of The National while rain pounds against the windows. I’m totally obsessed. It feels good to have a favorite band, y’know? Its been years since I devoured anything a group produced – my increasingly busy musical life has meant less time to take in the good work of others. Less time to allow myself to get lost in the swirl of words, melody, instruments, images that somehow seem to melt together into a song – such a mysterious process, even still.
Rain does this to people. Well, I hope it does this to people. It does it to me. Insert cliché heartfelt moment – right here. But that’s okay, because I’m in Montreal and Montreal seems to allow these things. Montreal has always given honesty its fair shake, allowed artists to find that comfortable place between what’s real in the world and what’s make-believe in their head.
There remains a refreshing lack of pretension and bullshit in this city, despite its ascent to the pinnacle of international indie-dom. Chalk that up to the braveness of the artists who call this place home, and chalk it up to a populace eager to hear something new, something they’ve never heard before. I’ve always loved Jace Lasek’s quote about Montreal’s sound being the sound of skillful artists taking risks, and that the big-money music industry who swooped down on this place after all the bands broke 5 years ago just never understood that. If only Winnipeg would allow itself such risk-taking. Imagine the flood of bold creativity that could burst forth from our city if such a culture existed! That's a big part of what this Head In The Sand community is all about. No risk, no reward.
I’m glad we’re finishing this record in Montreal. Its where the album started, back at the end of 2005 when I moved here. Depressed, burnt out, feeling like a failure, dirt poor, and needing a change in scenery. And maybe needing a wholehearted change in how I saw the world and my place in it. I’m not always sure I was a very honest person in my mid-20’s. "This Place Owes Us" was written after driving out of Chicago one tour and deciding to move to Montreal. "How Do You Keep This All In Line?" was written in my half-empty bedroom on Rue Amherst. And "One Solemn Oath" was written after the peculiar series of events that brought me back to Winnipeg.
So here we are. Marcus and I. A longstanding friendship ripe with comedy, bravado, peculiar symmetries, and similar musical ideologies. I’ve often been a little jealous of my friends who always seemed to find that perfect musical co-creator, while I continuously battled alone. But in Marcus I seem to have found a friend who shares my vision and brings out the best in both who I am and what I create. My sincerest thanks to him.
And of course, my sincerest thanks to Dave Meagher and David Schellenberg – two guys who I didn’t even know a year ago. Not only have they become good musical partners, but they’ve become good friends. Friends that I look forward to taking these next steps with, and to hopefully making the next album with.
But as for this very moment: I’m really excited for this album. It sounds way better than I imagined (cue Marcus Paquin). It conveys the emotions I wanted to convey, experiments with sounds the way I wanted to experiment, and celebrates the human spirit in the way I wanted to celebrate all our peculiarities, dysfunctionalities, successes, thrills, loves, and lessons.
And above all, its great to feel like an artist again. I hope you enjoy what we’ve made for you. I look forward to sharing it with you.