Call & Response: The Whitsundays

1967 was "The Summer Of Love" because of Woodstock and the hippy/LSD movement. 20 years later, 1989 was tagged "The Summer of Love" because of ecstasy and the rave movement in England. Now it's 2009 and I'm wondering what drug-fueled musical movement will inspire this lovely summer?

Right now the front runner would have to be a coked-up disco revival (which I'd be all for, minus the coke) but I think The Whitsundays from Edmonton would love it to be a good ol' brown acid Woodstock revival. Their throwback '60's psych-pop songs sound like they were made back then and forgotten until today. Not the case though - this band is lead by Paul Arnusch of Edmonton post-rock band Faunts and also contains members of crazy electro rockers Shout Out Out Out Out.

The Whitsundays headline Sneaky Dee's this Friday alongside some other great bands. I spoke with Paul about the origins of this project and their recording techniques and he had a lot of funny and creepy things to say.

blogTO: Why are you called The Whitsundays?

Paul Arnusch: We decided that this name would most accurately depict our attitude towards Sunday - the iced cream dessert our mother (because we are basically all brothers from the same mother) would serve to us on the most hallowed of all days. Word. To your mother. Ditch the zero, go for the hero.

How did the band form? How long have you been playing together as this band?

Well, we popped outta the womb and Pops gave us each an instrument, while we were still all gooey and crying. We've been together for a couple of centuries, or so... we been poppin' collars since we learned how to holla.

What inspired you to make this kind of retro '60s record now?

Well, the '60s are hella hot right now in the indie scene and we are hella indie, so we had to. I personally can't wait until baggy clothes are back in, but... when in Rome...

Your bio says you used lots of vintage instruments. How was it recorded? Using Pro Tools or using more "vintage" equipment?

We primarily used vintage pro tools, circa '96.

The vocals in particular really put your songs in the '60s era for me. How did you engineer those and did it take long to get them right?

Well, first off, we didn't do it at home. Instead we flew right to Regina because there is the Plains. The main reason is that the vibe there is pretty dark. One time one of the band members played a show in the Queen City and was staying at the Plains Hotel and was given a room which would not open. They returned to the front desk only to have the clerk say "ohhh... you shouldn't have got that room, sorry". They were given another room and returned upstairs only to see a bloody mattress being dragged out of the room they were previously given.

The sound of this band is quite a departure from the other bands you play in and the "electro indie" sound lots of Edmonton bands are getting known for right now. Was this band easily embraced into your hometown scene?

People tend to embrace for warmth.

What do you like best about playing in Toronto?

This time it's all about seeing Strombo on skates (Exclaim cup).

Are there any places you have to see or eat at while in Toronto?

Aunties & Uncles, some crap in Kensington, Paul's boutique, Ronnie's for a pint, Moog Audio, Goodfoot, in that exact order, everytime I'm there.

What can people expect to see/hear/feel at your show this Friday?

They will see us drink, hear us ask for more drinks while on stage, and feel us rubbing the small of their back while pleading them to come home with us.

NO SHAME presents: The Whitsundays
w/ Pick A Piper, The Superstitions
Friday, April 3
Sneaky Dee's
431 College Street
Doors: 9pm
Tickets $8 advance, $10 at door

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

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