Call & Response: Contrived

Cancel your plans for Friday night! New indie label Hand-Drawn Dracula is throwing a party at the WhipperSnapper Gallery.

Among all the impressive acts on the bill (including a solo acoustic set by Brian Borcherdt and a DJ set by his Holy Fuck bandmate Graham Walsh), are Contrived - one of my new favourite bands from Halifax/Montreal.

If you're a fan of Wintersleep, you've indirectly seen Contrived in action already. Most Contrived members play in Wintersleep and Wintersleep lead singer Paul Murphy also sings on one of the songs on Contrived's new album blank,blank,blank. Confused? Well, Contrived drummer Loel Campbell and bass player Mike Bigelow have also toured as part of Holy Fuck. It's one seriously successful clusterfuck.

I spoke with Loel about said clusterfuck, their amazing album artwork and about the pitfalls of being in moving vehicles.

blogTO: Why are you "Contrived"?

Loel Campbell: Mike MacNeil was being sarcastic about 10 years ago, in the height of the boy band's popularity.

Your band members are attached to 2 of the most acclaimed bands in Canada right now. Where does this band fit into that equation? What bands came first?

Contrived came first, while 3 of us where still in high school. We've found time to do it over the years while a couple other bands ended up getting us more touring opportunities and perhaps a little more exposure in general.

How have you found time to focus on this band? Was it planned out with the other bands?

We were able to do this little trip to Toronto literally with a one day window between the East Coast Wintersleep tour and we head to Europe with Wintersleep on Sunday. We try to do it whenever there is an ounce of time. Baby steps is a good motto for the band. Things happen rather slowly.

What's the story behind you naming your album "blank blank blank"?

It is a lyric from the second song on the record. Definitely stood out to all of us and kind of par for the course in the blindly-led band that we have here. I think Mike MacNeil suggested it.

James' elephant drawing on the cover is one of my favourite album covers in recent memory. Was that influenced by anything related to the band or did he have total creative control?

He had that image for quite sometime, we all were fans of it and it so happens that it accompanies these songs quite well.

You've toured Canada extensively over the years. What are your favourite places to see/things to do?

In Canada, I guess the Rockies are always awe inspiring and it is always rewarding to plow through the prairies in a one day drive. Most recently myself and my girlfriend drove cross-Canada leading up to Christmas. We were about 200 yards behind a head on collision, the only witnesses and were really lucky to not be involved. It was my first time seeing the jaws of life and it all-in-all really sucked.

What do you like best and least about visiting Toronto?

I think I'm going to like Little Tibet on Queen the most. Parking really isn't cool. I just somehow backed out of a convoluted alley way with our van and new trailer. I think my head might pop off at any moment.

Brian and Graham from Holy Fuck are involved in your show this Friday. Have all of you ever talked about doing a festival of just your Dependent Music partners?

We did a Dependent tour a few years ago. We have always played together, so something like that wouldn't be too far off in the cards...its just a matter of getting everyone in the same province. Let's pretend the show at the Whippersnapper is a festival and its really fucking hot out. Sounds good.

What's next for you guys after Friday's show?

Europe immediately, US with Wintersleep after that, hopefully a bit of time off after that to get some new material happening.

Hand-Drawn Dracula Showcase
Featuring: Contrived, Brian Borcherdt, Julie Fader, Off The International Radar, with DJs Graham Walsh, Shit La Merde
Friday, February 6
WhipperSnapper Gallery
587a College Street (2nd Floor)
Doors 9pm
Cover $7

Call & Response is a series of Q&A's with bands from or playing in Toronto. Photo: Richard Lann.

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