shout out out out out

Call & Response: Shout Out Out Out Out

I think Shout Out Out Out Out are one of the best Canadian rock/dance hybrid bands ever. When I see them play live I can't decide whether I want to dance or just jump up and down. I'm not alone. Last time I saw them play Lee's Palace, the crowd at the front looked more like a mosh pit than a dance floor.

Their latest album Reintegration Time is full of analog synth goodness, guest vocals by the likes of Cadence Weapon and production that almost makes you feel like you're at one of their shows.

But it's all about seeing them live. I can't wait to catch them this weekend at Wrongbar w/ local electronic duo TMDP. I spoke with bandleader Nik 7 about how four bass players and two drummers came together, making bad choices, and being on fire. There's also a contest!

blogTO: I love hearing people talk about you guys because it's so awkward for most people to get your name right. Do you guys get a kick out of that?

Nik 7: Ah, I guess we kind of get a kick out of it, although we can't really fault anyone for struggling with the name, since it is a pretty dumb one and it's kind of awkward for us to say ourselves!

How did you end up with two drummers and four bass/synth players? Was that always the "formula" you were looking for?

It actually happened kind of organically and by accident. When we first started the band, Lyle and I had already written a few of the songs (none of which still exist), and both of us are bass players, and I had already been talking to Jason about starting an electronic music project, and he is also a bass player.

With the songs we had started, we realized that we would need at least one more set of hands to run electronics and maybe handle some of the bass parts, and we asked Will to take on that role, who also happened to be a bass player (and actually winds up playing bass the most in the band now).

Lyle had been playing with Gravy on drums in a couple other bands, both of which I did recordings for in my studio, and we kind of just told him that he was in our new band (and being a good sport, he went along with it).

When Clint caught wind of our new project, and what we were planning to do with it, he was really excited about the idea and asked to be in the band. We told him that we already had a drummer, but his enthusiasm convinced us pretty quickly that he should be a part of the band, so we said "screw it, we'll have two drummers and four bass players!" That's pretty much how it came together.

Is "Bad Choices" autobiographical? What bad choices have you made?

Yeah, almost all of our songs are autobiographical and deal with the stupid mistakes I've made in my life. I'd prefer to avoid specifics, but I'll just quote Calgary pop punk band Chixdiggit here and say "whatever you do, don't start a band".

Was it fun being on fire for the "Coming Home" video shoot?

It was interesting..."fun" might be pushing it a bit. It was certainly a very different experience. We spent something like 17 hours at the shoot. Basically what they would do is slather this ice cold toothpaste-like goop all over us, and then we had to wear 3 layers of clothing on top of that for the entire shoot.

Every now and then they would paint some flammable goop on top of our clothes and hit us with a blowtorch, and then we'd pretend to be "rocking out" for 20 seconds or so, until another dude would run up and blast us with a fire extinguisher. Repeat for 17 hours. It was a pretty exhausting day.

Last time I saw you at Lee's Palace I saw lots of kids crowd surfing. I haven't seen that in a long time at a show. Does that happen in every city you play?

It seems to happen from time to time these days, if the crowd is big enough. We just did a couple hometown shows in Edmonton, and there were tons of dudes Pearl Jamming it up with their shirts off.

What's your favourite crowd surfing memory from the 90s?

I suppose it was just something that happened a lot at shows. Did it ever really die? Not sure that I have a particular favourite crowd surfing moment. Every crowd surfing moment is totally fawkin' sweet, brah!

You can really kick your leg high in the air. Have you always been able to do that? Have you ever pulled something during a show?

I haven't pulled anything, at least not in a serious way, but I have ripped a few pairs of pants for sure. It's funny, 'cause I'll see photos of me doing some kind of audacious high kick stunt, and it just doesn't seem possible to me that I could do that. I'm pretty out of shape really, and I'm definitely not that flexible. I couldn't just do a high kick right now, it only really happens with the adrenaline of playing a show I guess.

Some of your gear is vintage. Are there any rare synths that you would have a hard time replacing if they broke on the road? Is that something your band worries about?

Yeah, we've spent a lot of time, money, and effort, seeking out synthesizers and gear. These days, all of the synths we're using are analog, which can be a bit finicky and are definitely a bit tougher and more expensive to replace or get fixed.

I don't really believe that digital equipment is any more reliable though, a lot of the older synths that we use were built like tanks, and the newer analog synths are generally boutique items and built with a lot of care too.

We do certainly worry about gear breaking on the road, since we do bring so much with us, and all of it is very important to the show and reproducing the things we've done on record, and all of it would be tough to replace quickly if anything happened.

What do you like best about playing/visting Toronto? Do you have a favourite spot to eat at?

We have quite a few good friends in Toronto. Our management is based there, and there is also a surprisingly large Edmonton ex-pat community. Toronto has been remarkably supportive of our band since the very first time we played there, and the shows are always fun. It's a good city to play in.

I like to eat at a vegetarian spot called Bo De Duyen, and get coffee at Mercury Espresso Bar.

Some of you are DJing your own after party at Wrongbar. What kinds of tracks do you like to spin?

Yeah, Jaycie and I DJ. We play some electro, house, techno, and disco. We don't really like the super hard bangers so much, so we won't be tearing anyone's heads off with the distorted, chopped up, aggressive stuff. We like modern stuff that has a classic sound, analog synths, hints of disco and early techno, house, acid, that kind of thing.

CONTEST: The first four people to post their favourite Shout Out Out Out Out song will each get a pair of tickets to one of the shows. Good luck!

Embrace presents: Shout Out Out Out Out, TMDP
After party w/ DJs Nik 7 and Jaycie Jayce, Shit La Merde
Friday, October 16 and Saturday, October 17
Wrongbar
1279 Queen Street West
Doors: 8pm
Tickets: $18.50 advance at Rotate This, Soundscapes, Wantickets.com

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


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