Hello all at Below the Sea. Please introduce yourselves. Who does what in the band and how long have you been together? How did you form?
The Band is Pascal Asselin on drums, Victor Meyer on bass and Patrick Lacharité on guitars. The band formed back in 1999. That is after some guy who had borrowed Patrick’s cds at his radio show started to talk about those cds he had just listened to while being inside a cd store. Once he’d chatted with Pascal and was asked if Patrick could play any guitar, Pascal gave that guy his phone number for Patrick. Later on Patrick would call him and so it went on. Mathieu, who once met them at school, came back to Patrick’s new neighbourhood and he joined the duo.
Your three-some style instrumental music is simple and beautiful. Can you tell our readers about your writing process? How do you go about composing a song and when is the song good enough to be recorded? Is there a principle writer in the group?
Since Pascal and Patrick only knew each other for a month or so before Patrick left for Montreal, both were still willing to record drums, which they’d do in Quebec city, then lay down the guitars once back in Montreal with Mathieu Lévesques at keys and bass. After our first album, we started seeing each other more as a band who were able to compose songs together while rehearsing. Mathieu had been replaced, (due to different musical interests, well not everyone was meant to follow the same path…) by our long-time friend Victor Meyer, who’s now been in the band for the last two years. While looking for a new bass player, Victor’s interest into learning how to play bass was enough for him to join us. About composing, except for a few tracks where Patrick is pretty dead-set, everything else is composed by the band when they all meet together.
The music that is coming out of Canada is fantastic. What is the scene like where you live in Quebec? Also, I have noticed that many of these great Canadian bands have not broken through in the states. Do you have a theory as to why? Do you plan on touring in the States?
The scene is pretty varied, if you consider yourself being opened to a lot of different styles, you’d easily get your bit of everything, depending on one’s tastes. There are a few shoegazers / instrumental-rock bands present but not a whole clan so you may call it a scene where they belong. But you could have said so three years ago. For not breaking into the US, we’d say that for not touring three six-months tours for a record, you won’t ever break-though, that is for an average good band. We might try ourselves a little tour in the US later but we aren’t sure, hoping it will happen one day. We once went there for 3 shows but that was it.
In terms of doing music, do you do music full time or do you have day-jobs, so to speak? If so, what are those jobs and what are your goals in terms of music?
We all have day jobs or a second job, still Pascal manages to work so much on that project called Millimetrik that it’s just as if making music was his main job. We don’t have any specific goals, we mainly wanna have fun and have listeners thinking it’s fun too, in some kinda way.
Blame it on the Past is a gorgeous piece of art. What was the writing and recording process like for that particular disc? Would you change anything about it in retrospect?
First off thanks for the nice words… It’s pretty much always involving the same process; we rehearse songs/riffs we think are to become a single song once mixed altogether. We then record everything we think is a good track and after it’s all being completed, we wait for a while and see about other song structure/possibilities, if that applies to us. Two tracks for this album were completely reedited or way extended. It’s like we’d record drums from a quick idea, then we’d remove the original structure and build something completely different. For such reasons there are sometimes tracks we’ll record that can’t be played live ‘cause of their complex arrangements or for all of the instruments for which there aren’t enough hands. There’s nothing we’d want to change, still not for that record.
Do you plan on recording another album in the near future? If so, when? Also, are there any other singles or smaller projects you are working on or have released recently?
We might start to record our fourth album early next year, but these are still rough plans. ‘Till then we’re to spend one week-end together next august and see what we can come up with within a week-end. We could do an e.p. with what we’d come up with on that week-end. Speaking of projects, Pascal has Millimetrik, with which he recorded three albums, he’s also part of a more hip-hop oriented band called Snowflake and is part of a duo entitled Glider which he shares with Gavin Baker.
Patrick has Apillow; a few released tracks on where are my records compilations for now, and he’s also involved in doing some music with Mike Baker, whose songs might see the light of day sometime next year, maybe.
On Blame it on the Past, you enlist the help of Pascal Asselin, Ulrich Schnauss and Matheu Grisé. What was that like and how did they contribute to the sound of the disc?
Pascal is actually a full-time member of the band…lol.
We asked two years ago if Ulrich would want to do a song with us and he was just into it, so he sent us some synth tracks within some existing song structures that were then reworked with stuff we added.
Mathieu Grisé (who’s a friend of ours) had just mentioned that he had once played trombone a week before we’d master the record as we were all enjoying some drinks, so we invited him to lay down his tracks on two songs, one of the songs that’s actually only part of the lp version. I guess they added something that’d just fit right with what we’re doing, some kind of new but known elements, thrown onto known tracks.
What artists do you consider inspirations for your music? What painters or authors, if any?
It’d go from The Tindersticks, to Seefeel to Slowdive to Clouddead to Dominique A and Fennesz. Victor’s into japenese writers, Pascal into Lynch’s and Kieslowski’s cinema while Patrick is a fan of Gregg Araki’s work.
What are you listening to now?
Helios, Mojave3, Robin Guthrie, Idaho, The Radio dept, Stina Nordenstam, Celph Titled, Jel, Swedish death polka, Sunset Rubdown, Del Wire, Vico and Ixe-13. Is that enough ? Lol…
Any other comments or information?
We’re playing a few shows here and there this autumn, France and Belgium are places we’re visiting for sure. We might complete the soundtracks of two short filmmakers. One would be a short film shot on 8mm, the next one an animated movie clip for which we’d do the whole sound thing. We also covered a song called Delaware from a band we love called Drop Nineteens, and that is going to be released this September in England, part of Club AC30 compilations. There are actually vocals on that song, you guys curious?