Check them out at the Owl!
URSU has teamed up with the CBC to host their Canadian Concert Series at the Owl this fall. Shows will be introduced by a CBC personality and will feature an all-Canadian line-up. The series kicks off Thursday, Sept. 24 with a performance by Saskatoon’s Close Talker and openers Yes We Mystic. I spoke with Close Talker members Matthew Kopperud, Chris Morien, and Will Quiring via telephone, just as they stepped off a B.C. ferry:
I see by your schedule that you’re in B.C. now, and then off to L.A. after your performance in Regina. Has this been a long tour for you?
Matthew Kopperud: No, this hasn’t been too long of a tour. We’re playing the Break Out West music awards this weekend, so with that in mind we thought we’d book a few shows along the way there and back, kind of make the trip more worthwhile.
Any good rock and roll tour stories?
MK: I just about missed the ferry this morning. We were waiting in line for the ferry, and I went into the little coffee shop there, and was working away on my computer, and then I came out and all the cars were gone. So I had to literally run onto the ferry, but not where I was supposed to. I wound up talking to many people in fluorescent-coloured vests, but we figured it out… we’ve been pretty notorious for almost missing ferries, but we have yet to actually miss one.
Last time we were in L.A., our brakes were completely shot on our van… the master cylinder had exploded, so literally the only way to brake our van was to push the pedal, which was attached to a wire and would pinch the metal, so we had to pull onto the shoulder a few times to avoid hitting cars. But we did get our brakes fixed.
Have you played at the Owl before?
MK: We have not, though we’ve heard good things… We played the Exchange, and we played O’Hanlons a few times, but we have yet to play the Owl, and we’re very much looking forward to it.
What has been your favourite place to perform?
Chris Morien: I think my most recent favourite show… we were in Brighton for the Great Escape festival… it was just packed with a whole bunch of British people, and people from all over the world. We just had a blast playing it.
Tell me about your latest album Flux, which came out last year.
MK: Flux is definitely an album that marks a transition for us. In many ways we were turning a page, both in our social lives as well as musically… we were writing more as the four of us in the band at the time. Lyrically, it’s not a concept album by any stretch, but there are themes documenting this season of change in our lives… we tried to be much more intentional about our writing process and not necessarily write music that might have pop sensibility… we tried to write music we believed in.
Is there a new album in the works?
MK: There very much is a new album in the works. We’ve been writing and just recording little demos on our iPhones since summer, really. We wrote what I feel might be a big chunk of the record overseas in Europe. We stumbled upon a rehearsal space in Munich, Germany… that was a place where we felt very creative. Now that we’re home in Canada, and back in our own space, we’ve been continuing to write. We’re hoping to record in the near future.
The music video for Burnstick was released this month, and features some crazy visual effects. What was that like to make?
MK: That was really cool. We’ve been fortunate enough to work with some really talented people. We did quite a bit of repetition for every angle… and we only had two black shirts between the four of us. We filmed it all through the night, but we were constantly switching shirts and passing them back and forth, and by the end of the night they absolutely reeked.
You’re performing as part of the Canadian Concert Series. Who are your favourite Canadian artists right now?
MK: I think a band that we’ve consistently respected [is] the band Royal Canoe, out of Winnipeg.
CM: One of my favourite Canadian bands right now is Yukon Blonde, from Vancouver. They took a little bit of a break, but they always put on an amazing live show. So much energy, and they’re great people.
Will Quiring: One of my favourite Canadian artists, he’s a lot less known, but he’s a guy from Edmonton who goes by the name of Motorbike James. Whenever we get a chance we listen to his EP, and it’s awesome.
Do you have any Canadian musical influences?
MK: Yeah, definitely. A band that influenced us in particular earlier on would be Half Moon Run, from Montreal. There’s another band that we grew up listening to, and we’ve since become friends with them is We Are the City, from Vancouver.
CM: I’ve always been a big fan of Broken Social Scene. I don’t know if I draw a lot from them in any particular way, but I’ve always liked their stuff.
WQ: Hey Rosetta. They’re from the east coast, and they’re awesome. Their last record is really, really special.
Is being Canadian an advantage, or disadvantage in the music industry?
MK: I would be quick to say that it is an advantage in regard to exporting talent. As a band we’ve been very fortunate to be able to go overseas, and I’m not sure if we were from the United States if we’d have the means or the resources to do so. In regards to government funding, we’re incredibly thankful to be from Canada. It is a different creative sphere… in short, we love Canada and we’re thankful to be from here.