Call & Response: Rae Spoon
Montreal-based artist Rae Spoon experiments with sound textures on his new LP I Can't Keep All of Our Secrets. This is the second album on which Spoon explores the electronic genre, lacing songs with rapturous currents of cool, constructed beats that sound buoyant and fun.
In I Can't Keep All of Our Secrets, Spoon demonstrates confidence and flair for bedroom-style instrumentation, the intensity of sparkly sometimes retro-electro peaking hard and bright. Spoon also retains an affinity for folk and roots ("When I said there was an end to love I was lying" and "Ice Caps"), a remnant of childhood and early artistry.
When did you know you wanted to create an electronic album? How would you describe the first time you were exposed to or fell in love with this genre?
I was really into bluegrass when I was playing country music. I thought that any band that could play a fast song flawlessly in a circle around a microphone was pretty cool. When I moved to Germany, I met people who made electronic music. At some point I realized that the computer was just another instrument. So, I asked my friend Alexandre Decoupigny to show me how to use Ableton Live. I ended up playing around with making really organic electronic sounds for my album Superioryouareinferior.
It has a similar sound, but how is your new LP I Can't Keep All of Our Secrets different from Love is a Hunter?
Love is a Hunter was an album that really held onto my folk roots and reached for an electronic sound at the same time. On I Can't Keep All Of Our Secrets I stopped using physical drums at all and went fully programmed on the beats with some help from Lynne T. (Lesbians on Ex) and Alexandre Decoupigny. I wanted to see if I could write lyric-based electronic songs.
Can you talk about the making of the new album? Where did you record it and what new or self-revelatory things came out of this experience?
I recorded the album in Calgary with Lorrie Matheson. Before I got there a lot of the programming had been worked out via the internet between Alexandre, Lynne and I. In Calgary, Lorrie and I recorded the vocals/guitars and got Scott Munro to come in and play electric bass and bass synths. Lorrie worked his usual magic and brought all of the parts together. Over the process I realized that I will never record a club hit. I am really happy with the record, but I think it's as beat driven as I get and it's nowhere near a Rihanna hit. That's okay, though.
"Crash Landing" recalls New Order, while "London Destroyer" bends a little towards The Knife. Which artists inspire you?
I love both New Order and The Knife. I can see how that shows. I would say I'm also inspired by Kate Bush, Electrelane and Yo Majesty.
How would you describe the electronic scene in Montreal? How has the city influenced your music?
I am actually fairly unfamiliar with the electronic music scene in Montreal. I know that it's a fairly large one. I guess when I moved here I already had some stuff going on music wise and so I am not really out often here. I mostly hide in my house and work when I'm not on tour.
I would say that the influence of Montreal on me would be the kind of "fuck off" attitude people have here as far as mainstream culture goes. Fashion here is a lot more about wearing anything a person feels like and I think art is like that too. The recent commercial success of Montreal bands comes from being unique rather than the more manufactured sounds coming out of more business driven areas of the country.
Living here has made me feel like I should just do whatever I want with my music and not worry about trends or what sells. So far, it's been a lot of fun.
And when you visit Toronto, where do you like to go? Do you have a favourite record store to visit?
I visit Toronto often. I usually stay in Parkdale and end up on Queen West somewhere like the Beaver or the Gladstone. I am a bit scared of record stores and usually buy all of my music online (from the artist). But I like Rotate This. I love vinyl.
How would describe the feeling behind the song "Ghost of a Boy"? What is your favourite song from the new album and why?
I was told that "Ghost of a Boy" has a very west coast surf kind of sound. It was the last song I wrote for the album. I was panicking a bit about lyrics and then came up with the low effected vocal line. Now it's one of my favorites.
My favorite song is "Crash Landing" because it's fast and super fun to play live.
Catch Rae Spoon, along with Rouge at The Gladstone Hotel Ballroom (1214 Queen W.) on Friday, January 27th. $10-$15.
Photo by Gladstone Hotel
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