The Most Serene Republic and Seven Minute Instrumental Symphonic Pieces (and Sean)
Arts and Crafts indie darlings, The Most Serene Republic, released their latest full-length ...And The Ever Expanding Universe on July 14th, 2009. For me, TMSR is a band that is due to start making big splashes in the national music pool. That's not to say that they haven't put out good records... nor am I trying to say that they haven't played any great shows to terrific reviews. I'm simply trying to emphasize that they have yet to stand out at their label when I think that they possess the ability to do so.
To discuss the new album, their North American tour, and a surprising amount about Sean Woolven (guitars, and the official "seventh member"), I headed down to the Arts and Crafts office for a little board room meeting with Adrian Jewett (vocals, trombone) and Ryan Lensson (back-up vocals, piano, and self-described "tyrant").
...And The Ever Expanding Universe has been in the works for awhile. And Ryan readily mentioned that this isn't an uncommon trait for the band:
"We probably spent over a year in the studio, but we generally have long turn-around times when we put out a full-length. It could be us... maybe there's a new problem we have... Every record is a very naked telling of who we are at that time. Often it's not pretty."
I jokingly suggested that it could be that member, Sean Woolven, that was slowing them down. Just too many people in the studio...
"Yeah, maybe we need to do something to Sean... like give him speed-holes," Ryan quipped, to which Adrian added, "Maybe we should just give him speed." Ryan quickly retorted "Sean on speed... no. No that wouldn't be good at all."
At this early point in the interview they requested that I title this piece "What's With Sean?", and insisted that we discuss him further. Now they had me curious, so I let Ryan continue:
"It's just his personality. You remember when the guy finds the fossilized mosquito in Jurrasic Park? It's really rare. And also... you're alive when he eats at you."
Adrian was laughing the entire time in the background, so I figured they might be messing around, but then Ryan got a little serious:
"We kind of envy his horizontal way of thinking. We're very vertical, so it's great to bring perpendicular people into your life. He's our ninety degrees, he keeps us to the soil. Out of all of us he is probably the sanest and the most mentally healthy out of all of us."
(Note to self: request to speak with Sean next time.)
Then we got back to discussing the music. I asked Ryan, who is the main songwriter, about something that happened on this album that he never would have done on the first or second release. His reply:
"How about a 7-minute, instrumental, symphonic piece [referring to track 7, 'Patternicity']? I definitely would have never done that before. We weren't ready for it; it wasn't written. Nothing would have been as grand. That piece came out when it wanted too."
I wouldn't even know how a track like that would come up. Who decides that? Ryan simplified it for me:
"It started with a lot of pain, then some hope, and then there was some more pain, and a bit of hope, and then just pain. Hope and pain, and hope and pain. It was obviously not a pop song, it should be something else."
And it is. They probably won't be playing this track on Saturday for the Secret Sessions @ TARA (The Audio Recording Academy) with The Junction, but TMSR will definitely be playing their single 'Heavens To Purgatory'.
And Sean will be there.
Photo courtesy of Canvas Media
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