Entries in rock (3)


61 The Dears' Natalia Yanchak


We recently had the pleasure of exchanging some words with Natalia Yanchak from Montreal orchestral pop wizards, The Dears. A talented and multifaceted creative mind from a band of several, we were elated to find out what she thinks about a few different topics, and how excatly you stay afloat and stay inspired as an artist in 2015. The Dears also just released their new album 'Times Infinity Volume One' and you can pick up a copy at the links after the jump.

First of all thanks so much for chatting with us! 


The Dears are known as an iconic Montreal band, and we have to say, it is easily one of the best cities in the world. What sets it apart? What do you love about it?

Montreal is definitely a special place. It fosters a "creative" life because it's almost what the city demands of its residents. I was reading a report and it said the quality of life in Montreal is one of the highest in the world, while the same report stated that Montreal was a terrible place for business (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/montreal-study-institut-du-quebec-1.3322892). That basically sums it up: if you want to be free to make Art, come to Montreal. If you want to make money, move to Toronto. It's the classic, dichotic conversation.


You've always had an iconic sound that sets you apart from other bands. How have The Dears always managed to stand out?

I wouldn't call it "standing out" as much as I would call it an assertion of our identity. Without prejudice. Beyond an improvement in the quality of our recordings on the production side, it's important for us to remain true to what "The Dears" is. We are not trendy. There are no iPads on stage. We are a rock band -- musicianship is important to us, and it's a characteristic that runs deep in our blood. Songwriting is just as vital. Many bands have all the "right" textures and sounds the "right" album art and haircuts, but they can't write a song. Essentially, marketing can't write music. And that's why we're so popular (hahaha!). Since The Dears formed in 1995, we've been the same band with the same end game: to make great orchestral pop music.
While recording this new album, Times Infinity Volume One, what was a typical day like for The Dears?

We recorded much of the bed tracks at Revolution Recordings in Toronto, and the overdubs at Hotel2Tango in Montreal. But the city never matters because a studio day is always the same: Wake up, drink coffee, get into the (invariably windowless) studio in the morning. Sit on the couch in the control room and listen, listen, share an idea, listen some more, and maybe that day you'll get to lay down a few tracks! Suddenly it's midnight and you're starving. Poutine time! Repeat. 


What are your favourite cities to visit and play in while touring? Is there anywhere you haven't been that you would like to visit?

Even though it's a beast, I love London, UK. What a massive and confusing place -- but I have to admire the down-to-earth conceit of Londoners. The celebrity culture there is also like none other, where you can be at any old bar and be sitting next to a famous musician, or a crazy successful person, or just some random human being -- and you're guaranteed great conversation. We haven't been back to London in a few years so I'm feeling nostalgic, I think! 


Recently, shows in Turkey and Mexico have been highlights, and we'd love to get back there. As far as places I'd like to visit: it's pretty much anywhere we haven't been, really. Russia & all of Eastern Europe, Morocco, Egypt, China, Thailand, Cambodia, Korea, Vietnam, Columbia, Argentina, Peru, Brazil... you know, all those places bands usually get to...


If you were out DJ-ing, which record would you take with you every time?


"There's a Riot Goin' On" by Sly and the Family Stone.


What's the best part about being a creator for a living? If you weren't in The Dears, what might you be doing right now?


Having a creative "job" is not easy, but it is an amazing philosophical lesson to share with our kids (Murray and I have two, aged 10 and 3). Happiness is often seen as some unattainable goal -- the pressures of everyday life quickly erode at one's notion of what being "happy" might be. To me, happy means fulfillment, satisfaction, compassion and love. These things are everywhere, they are free, and they exist within each of us. I think if I had a 9-to-5 job I would be less "stressed" about money, but all the other facets of happiness would suffer in the face of that. Does this answer the question? Because I've kind of given you the best parts and the worst parts about a creative life… 

If I wasn't in The Dears I would be writing more. In fact, the sci-fi book I'm currently writing would be published already!


How do you stay inspired? Where do your ideas come from?

Life inspires us, and knowing there is even a single person who is listening, compels us. 

Thanks so much for chatting with us! Is there anything else we need to know about?

Thanks for the interview! Here's a shameless plug/link to some of my sci-fi writing: https://www.scribd.com/nyanchak

'Times Infinity Volume 1'

045 Eddie Spaghetti of Supersuckers


 The Supersuckers are the greatest rock n roll band in the world.  Their new album 'Get The Hell' came out in January, 2014.  The album arrived in spite of 'delays and unfortunate setbacks', and if the single is any indication this record is tough as nails.  Download the title track free, check out the upcoming tourdates, and get into our talk with Eddie Spaghetti! 

First off, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us!  You have a ton on the go lately, what's been keeping you busy?
New record. It's the fuel for our current fire. 

Where have been your favorite places to tour?  Is there anywhere you been dying to go?
Spain is great. We'd really like to hit Japan. And Hawaii!

How is the new Supersuckers album 'Get The Hell' different from the rest of your music?  What inspired you to make this album?
It's not so different really. That's something we try do do on purpose - make the same kind of record over and over. Like the Ramones or AC/DC. But it may be our strongest record ever! The same things still inspire me - greed, gluttony, sloth, envy, liquor, women, drugs and killing. The same things that all good movies are about. 

What is a typical day in the life of Eddie Spaghetti, if there is such a thing?
Depends on if I'm on the road or not. And usually I am. So the day typically starts with a trip to Starbucks followed by a drive of various lengths. Then to the club for load in and getting ready to rock the house - which entails copious quantities of liquor, women, drugs and killing, of course, then bed, wake up and repeat ad nauseum. 

If you could time travel to any era and any place, where would you go?
I'd go back to the late '70's and see AC/DC with Bon Scott. 

If you were a DJ, what record would you play every night?
Get The Hell by the Supersuckers. 

Thanks so much for your time!  Is there anything else we need to know?
Just to wear clean underwear when you come to our show because we're gonna rock your pants right off!



October 22 - Vancouver, BC @ Wise Hall
October 23 - Kelowna, BC @ Doc Willoughby's
October 24 - Edmonton, AB @ Pawn Shop
October 25 - Calgary, AB @ Dickens
October 26 - Calgary, AB @ Dickens
October 27 - Regina, SK @ The Exchange
October 28 - Winnipeg, MB @ The Pyramid 
October 31 - Oshawa, ON @ The Atria
November 1 - Hamilton, ON @ This Ain't Hollywood
November 2 - Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern
November 3 - Peterborough, ON @ The Red Dog
November 5 - London, ON @ Call The Office
November 6 - Ottawa, ON @ Mavericks
November 7 - Montreal, QC - Cabaret World
November 8 - Quebec City, QC - Le Cercle
November 10 - Fredericton, NB - Capital Complex 






027 July Talk

July Talk's self titled debut is one of the most exciting albums we've heard in a while.  It was released last October, and we just caught on recently.  As vocalist/guitarist Peter Dreimanis says 'Sometimes that's how it is with a band's first album'.  They've just headed out on tour with Besnard Lakes and Grounders, and kicked off the tour with a mindblowing performance at the Virgin Mobile Mod Club in their home town of Toronto.  We were fortunate enough to be in attendance at the show, and to sit down with Peter just beforehand to learn a bit more about the band that's fast becoming the talk of the town, and the world.

Fingers on Blast: We've heard the band formed as a result of something of a chance encounter.  Can you tell us a bit of that story?

Peter Dreimanis: Yeah, there's two ways to answer that question.  The band formed from two sort of chance happenings.  I met Leah in a bar, walked in and quite quickly realized that this was a person I should work with or atleast know artistically.  
The other chance encounter is in fact probably more interesting.  I was playing in another band and Danny the drummer was also the drummer in this band.  We went through a hellish tour in Europe.  It was a crazy snow storm, we were partying way too hard and ended up getting stuck in Heathrow airport in London for 5 days.  The band had totally fallen apart at this point and in the back of my mind while this was happening I realized that I had all these songs and I had this person, Leah that I had met.  
The band formed in Heathrow airport, everything that was severed all of a sudden became connected.  We got back and practiced everyday for 2 weeks, and I taught them all these songs, Leah and I showed them what we had been working on in these little acoustic sessions we'd been doing every Wednesday morning.  I think Leah and I have, at least I have for her a certain infatuation that doesn't seem to want to go away; the way she can control a crowd and the way she always reacts to a space.
We have played a lot of shows, and she will never play the same show. 

F.O.B.: We've heard about the Leah's devotion to a truthful show.  That is a major focus?

P.D.: It's number one for her to be honest and it's hard to be honest every night for 35-40 shows in a row sometimes.  It's not that I've ever felt challenged by that in a realistic sense, cause by the time you're on stage I am always excited and I've never felt other than that.  But Leah will walk into a space and find things, like yesterday we played a show on a rooftop.  There's a youtube video that we saw and we were all laughing at where she grabbed a guys phone who was filming from the crowd, and kept filming.  There were these trees and she was shaking them to try to make it seem windy. She got the crowd to all shake these trees.  
It's just an amazing thing to watch her walk into a room and say 'What can we do with this?'.  It's gotten to the point where she doesn't want to wear the same thing or redo anything she's ever done.  So we are in a constant state of reinvention which is fun, I think especially for people in Toronto who don't want to see the same show many times.  

F.O.B.: One of the first things we noticed checking out the band is the dynamic contrast.  Is that something that came naturally?

P.D.: No, it's definitely calculated.  It came naturally in some cases.  It's an organic thing, but it's absolutely calculated.  The goal would be to have this project be all encompassing, cohesively about contrast.  So having it be black and white, and having the dynamics, everything has to be symmetrical.
It was always about having the quietest quiets we can muster, like the smallest things you can come up with and then the loudest, most incredible, big, hooky chorus.  My ideal goal would be having an all encompassing project about light, dark, loud, quiet, and the things in between.  Having that feeling where everything has a reaction and it's accountable.  Because if I want to write an angry song, I can't really because she's going to sing back.  She's going to sing the counterpart to that and sort of be pushing against that.  

F.O.B.: That's something you can see in the video for 'Guns + Ammunition'.  Especially if you're hearing the band for the first time when you see it.  We didn't expect Leah's voice, and we're probably not the only ones that's happened to.

P.D.: We knew that video was going to be introducing us to a lot of new people.  'Paper Girl' we had done a certain thing with, and we knew that we needed to put out that symbol video as an introduction, like a 'Hi, how are you?'. By doing that luckily we were able to access more people with the 'Guns + Ammunition' video. Adam Crosby directed 'Paper Girl' and Josh Warburton is our bass player, they directed this one.  It's so smart to be able to start with me, and then go through the whole band, and you think you get it and then it's like 'Oh!'.  To have this ever looping, never gonna end video was a really important step for us to take.  

F.O.B.: There have definitely been times where we've started to wonder if it's the second or third time we've watched it.  We're curious about the characters of the label guys.  Are they an inside joke with the band?

P.D.:  Kind of, but we had really want to have the era of (producer) Phil Spector.  We knew that we needed some reference to 'the Man'.  We thought it would be hilarious to put ourselves in that situation because we're not.  We don't have pressure.  We obviously, like every band deal with label dudes.  They've always been super nice to us, and very helpful.  It was more of trying to place ourselves in the era.  
We really wanted to have that early 60's look, so we built that whole room on a soundstage.  It was this kind of star shaped thing where we each had our own sort of world.  

F.O.B.: We read on twitter that Muneshine is remixing a July Talk song.  How did that come about?

P.D.: There's actually a whole bunch, there's going to be a remix EP.  One in particular I'm really into, but I'd like to keep it a secret until it's out.

F.O.B.: How do you feel surrendering your music to someone else like that?

P.D.: Terrified.  I am a terrible control freak, and I think that sometimes that can be a very positive thing.  I think it's really important to have control, especially when I'm going for such a branded thing.  
There's obviously negatives to that too.  Our manager is constantly telling me to let go of a bit of control.  That's part of what remixes are for, and to open ourselves up to new people.  It's an exciting thing, it's a new thing, and it's something I think I'll be more comfortable with on the next record. But it's definitely a bit scary.

F.O.B.: Along similar lines, there are some youtube covers of July Talk songs.  Have you listened to any of them?

P.D.: We listened to one of them, and we thought it was sort of a rite of passage.  You know, the first time somebody plays your song on youtube is a pretty big thing.  But we all listened to it, and thought it was awesome.  After I listened to it, I thought 'Oh my god' I got a bit scared.  Now everytime we play that song I'm always thinking I have to play it more like me.  To have someone actually listen to our song and decide to do that is mindblowing.   

F.O.B.: On the topic of covers, you did a version of Wilco's 'Venus Stopped the Train'.  Do you include many covers in your shows? Is that the only one?

P.D.: That's the only one.  We did a Replacements cover night at the Shoe once, which was really fun.  I am crazy about the Replacements.  I would never do it in our set, I think it's important when you're a young band to turn your songs into the ones that people sing along to before you start playing other peoples'. 
When Leah and I met, that was the song.  The same European tour, where we were stranded in Heathrow I got an email from her that was like 'The tiny hammers inside of that piano'.  That was all the email said.  How do you write that song and not put it on the record?  Not to say that it should have been on the record, but that's your outtake?  Are you kidding me? 

F.O.B.: We're big fans of Wilco, and the story of how 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot' was made is pretty fascinating.  

P.D.: Have you seen that movie? (I Am Trying To Break Your Heart) Amazing.

F.O.B.: We're curious when your album was recorded.  It was released in October 2012?

P.D.: Most of it was recorded in February of last year, but that was when we started.  I probably didn't finalize most of it until August.  

F.O.B.: You've been on tour with some amazing artists, and you're about to head out on the road.  What does the summer schedule look like?  

P.D.: Besnard Lakes.  It's going to awesome.  I love their new record.  Then we go down to the States with Grounders, from Toronto.  We're playing a bunch of festivals.  We get to open for the Bare Naked Ladies.  If I had a million dollars I'd open for the Bare Naked Ladies.  We're playing Hillside, Edgefest, Sled Island, Port Renfrew.

F.O.B.: When you're out on the road what is absolutely essential?  

P.D.: We stop all the time at Value Village, and Lakes to swim.  We don't take much, gear, a pair of jeans, four t-shirts, a million of these.  (White shirts he wears onstage)

F.O.B.: Do you have a pre-show ritual?

P.D.: Hit myself in the face! Gotta wake up.  And I get a new shirt every show.  Superstition.  

F.O.B.: Do they usually survive?
P.D.: The show? No, they usually get covered in something.

F.O.B.: What has been the happiest/proudest moment as a band?

P.D.: I gotta throw this one to Halifax.  The show the last time we were in Halifax.  Everyone in that room was involved in something, and it was the best.  We all went through something together.  It was at a place called the Carlton, which we're going back to.

Thanks so much for Peter for speaking with us and the rest of July Talk. Check out more from them here. And make sure you see them on tour: