Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Said the Whale

From WE, Feb. 16


Said the Whale reaches new heights on new album

Grant Lawrence has championed them, audiences have flocked to their shows, WE readers chose them as their favourite local band and their journey to South By Southwest music festival even got the documentary treatment from the CBC. Now, in just a few short weeks, the Vancouver-based, indie rock five-piece Said the Whale will release its third full-length album, Little Mountain. And if putting out an album and plotting a massive tour weren’t hard enough, the band’s also got an ambitious project to release a music video for every song on the record every Tuesday starting now and spanning 13 weeks, although local fans can see all the videos at a special listening party/screening at the Rio Theatre Feb. 25. WE spoke with co-singer/songwriter Tyler Bancroft about balancing art and commerce, his love of Elvis and little league baseball.

Where’d you come up with the idea for doing a video for every song?
We Are the City did a video for every song on their EP last March and worked with Amazing Factory as well... When you put out an album, you try to drum up all this anticipation, but it feels like a lot of times, the release date comes and you get all excited and then that’s kinda it. We thought if we did a video for every song and release a new one every Tuesday for 13 weeks, it will keep the ball rolling. As much as it was a creative decision to do a video for every song, it was also a business decision.

I’ve noticed that about other Vancouver bands — there’s real innovation regarding the ephemera of music.
Without a doubt. We’re over here on the West Coast; we’ve got to differentiate ourselves from the hubbub of Toronto.

What inspired you to name your album after my neighbourhood?
It’s my neighbourhood, too! Four of us live, more or less, in Little Mountain. I’m more Mt. Pleasant, but I grew up playing Little Mountain baseball. Little Mountain is also one of the top place names in Canada, but we wanted to name the record something that resonated with us at home but also make a connection for people not from Vancouver.

Where are you taking your inspiration from?
Oh man, honestly a lot of my musical inspiration comes from a lot of the bands we’ve met and toured with the last couple years. We Are the City, Aidan Knight, Dan Mangan, Mother Mother, Tokyo Police Club, Hey Rosetta!, the Arkells, Born Ruffians, Yukon Blonde, Hannah Georgas. We listen to all those guys all the time in our tour van. It’s a ridiculous Canadian playlist.

So was singing your first love, or did you play an instrument?
I grew up loving music. The first music I was really into was ’50s and ’60s pop. I was a huge Elvis fan. I was actually an Elvis fan before I was a Beatles fan, so there that is. (Laughs) I played a bit of piano but I never learned to read music, I was more interested in ear-training. My musical background is just a wanton desire to play music rather than being classically trained or anything like that. I’m a lover of pop music, so I write songs that I want to hear.

So you’re self-taught?
Yeah. I’ve had a band, in some incarnation, since I was 12 years old. Rocking out in my parents’ basement, much to their chagrin. We played stuff inspired by Everclear, the usual alternative ’90s rock. Everclear was my band as a kid, and I was huge into Our Lady Peace. And then when I became a teenager, it was punk rock through and through. I discovered NOFX and that was it for me, it was punk rock for the next five years, and then I just opened my mind. (Laughs) Because punk rock can be very close-minded at times.

Where should people listen to your album in Little Mountain for the full experience?
Well, the number one place for me would be the baseball diamond [at the base of Queen Elizabeth park, opposite the new curling rink]. That was a huge part of my life. When baseball season starts, they should go enjoy — and not to sound creepy — but they should go watch a little league game and get a delicious burger or hot dog from the concession stand, maybe a Freezie and maybe a Super Rope licorice, and that’s how they can best enjoy our record.

Said the Whale’s Little Mountain party happens Feb. 25 at Rio Theatre (1660 E. Broadway), 7pm. $10 from NorthernTickets.com.


No comments: