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Library Voices Speak @ Shanghai Cowgirl

When the Library Voices came to Toronto last week for their gig at the Bovine Sex Club I knew that I had to be careful. When I was scheduled to meet the band at Shanghai Cowgirl on Queen St., I knew that I needed to be assertive and clear about what I wanted. So, when I was asked how many people in the band I wanted to speak with I nearly shouted:

"Just one please!"

The thought of having to interview ten people was too overwhelming for me. Too many voices -too many Library Voices. But then again, the image of ten people, in one band, on one tour, confined to one bus as they drive across Canada... that's like a Survivor challenge. That is commitment!

So, a couple hours before they were set to play with Provincial Parks, I was given Eoin Hickey-Cameron, the bass player in this large ensemble.

I was curious how ten people from Regina, Saskatchewan came together to start a band. That's potentially two bands; maybe even two bands and a duet.

"We actually grew up within two blocks of each other. It started with three people writing music and they gave a couple of us a ring. I went over to jam, to see what this was all about. They had a few skeletons of songs ready -there were two at the time. I showed up and got really into the songs. Then we got together for the first official jam and I was told there would be a few more people. I took my bass, walked down into the basement and was like 'Is this a party? Is someone getting married?' And there I was."

Described as "pop as fuck!" on their MySpace site, they certainly possess an upbeat, energetic sound consistent with that label. Eoin, I found out, actually preferred a "darker, indie sound" before this band.

"But this was so different and special, I just knew I had to be involved. And I guess it's just the cold winters in Saskatchewan. It forces the creativity out. Loads of bands come out Saskatchewan. Having to be holed up from the cold for so much of the year, you just don't have any choice but to keep your head occupied so that you keep your sanity."

This tour is to promote their six song EP entitled Hunting Ghosts (& Other Collected Shorts), but they have a full-length album coming out in January.

"It will have eleven brand new songs on it. We write at a quick pace; everyone comes together and bounces ideas for songs. That's the great thing about us: a lot of bands don't have four people that can write songs together, but we can all throw ideas and parts together and make it work. And once you hear it, you see where you'll fit in and it comes together. There are no egos in this band and that's why we work."

Driving across Canada in a bus with ten people and there are no arguments? Come on Eoin, come on...

"Ha ha ha... well no, that's not true... I think for the most part we were pretty good together. You know, you think there'd be a hard time with ten, but there's also the positive side of having ten as well. If someone's getting on your nerves, then you have the benefit of having eight other people to talk to. You can also get inside a book. We're all big readers."

Eoin is currently working on Kurt Vonnegut's Hocus Pocus, which is borrowed from bandmate Michael Dawson, who is a big Vonnegut fan. Dawson is responsible for the title of track three, Things We Stole From Vonnegut's Grave.

Now, with their tour finished up it is time to return home. Which means... more driving.

"Yeah, it's time to get back on the bus and make that two or three day trek back home. We have a lot of work to do when we get back so that we're ready for our cd release. Our album is like ninety-five percent done, but there's still stuff to do."

If you missed the Library Voices, then you probably won't get to see them in Toronto for awhile. They are set to finish up their album and have only scheduled a small tour in the West for now. But Eoin says they'll be back, and he promised.

You promised, Eoin.

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