Our sophomore record, Sunday Movies, came out 2 years after Birds and Fear. I think this interview we did with Dave Lidstone at Guff Magazine a few days before our album release sums up a lot about the album (and that period of time).
1. Where and when did you do the tracking/recording/mixing for Sunday Movies? how was this process different from your debut?
We tracked the drums at the Sonic Temple, I did the guitar and vocals in bedrooms wherever I happened to sleep at the time, and we went back to mix at the Temple. During the tracking of our first record, we weren't even sure of the instrumentation in our band, we were potentially going to have a few other musicians play with us. With that in mind, we recorded some of the album expecting to have a bass player. With the new album, it's just the two of us, guitar and drums... a few dinky little key parts here and there, but I think it captures our live sound a lot better than our first record. We wanted it to represent who we are and keep it pretty bare bones. It has a raw sound to it and that’s what we were going for.
2. Why name the album Sunday Movies?
The lyrics of the songs I write are usually pretty personal and about things that are happening in my life at the present moment. Whether it be something I've felt, something I saw, or something I've experienced. At the same time, although personal, I want them to have a grander meaning where the listener can relate to the songs in their own way and find some kind of universal meaning in them. I've always viewed Sunday as a day to look back and reflect on the last little while in my life, and the songs on this album are essentially that - a compilation of different stories in my life that I wrote upon looking back. Ultimately, I guess the 11 songs are 11 stories... 11 movies that I hope people can find some kind of meaning in.
3. What are a couple of your favourite Sunday movies?
Weekend at Bernies
4. Favourite soundtracks?
Forrest Gump and its Classic Rock tunes is hard to beat, Empire Records, Donnie Darko, Garden State are a few.
5. The new single, "New York City", can you tell me a bit about the song (lyrics, theme, thought process etc)?
We played a show once a few years back on a weekday. We were playing for the door, and a pitcher of beer. There was hardly anyone at the show and the bar was dead. It was kind of a demoralizing show in a sense. Afterwards a guy in a suit came up to us and said he was a booking agent from New York. He told us that there was room for us in the New York music scene. Here we were playing to a dead bar in Halifax and he was saying that we could make it work in the greatest city on earth. I guess the song is about that story, intertwined with the theme of no matter who you are or what you do or like, in a city like New York, there’s a place, there’s the people, there’s room for you.
6. How long did it take to shoot the video? Where'd you get the idea (aside from the title of the song)?
We basically went down to New York, had fun and shot us doing it. We have enough footage to probably make about ten other videos with it. We just wanted to capture how awesome a place it is. I was there once before that trip and it’s just such an inspiring place, you can’t help but walk around with a big grin on your face. In New York, everything feels like a movie… and no matter what you do or who you are… you’re the star of it.
7. How the hell was Germany?
Amazing! We played two shows…one was even on a boat. Hamburg has to be the craziest city on the planet. It’s nothing but bars, strip-clubs, music and 100,00 drunk people staggering around like zombies. The street is lined with riot police with machine guns and I even saw an old German war tank prowling around looking for a couple innocent Canadians to run over. Fun fact- Hamburg has the most hookers of any city in the world! If you said you walked down the Reeperbahn and didn’t get attacked by a swarm of hookers, you’re a liar. They’re impossible to escape. They stole my hat and ran into a dark alley… it was my favourite hat so I had to chase them down and argue with them to give it back. It’s a wild place. Hard country to find peanut butter in, too.
8. How'd you get hooked up with that trip? How many shows? Where were they?
We played the Reeperbahn Festival two years ago and played a number of Canada Blast showcases in the past. We weren’t on the original lineup but a band dropped out and they asked us if we’d be up for it. It was a last minute thing but we more than happy to jump on board.
9. Can you give me some examples of the differences (cultural or otherwise) between Canadian and German music scenes?
Like I mentioned earlier, hard to find peanut butter, more blonde people, lots of schnitzel. That’s about it.
10. Can you share a funny or peculiar story from your trip?
We’ve got a pile of hooker stories I could share… and by ‘hooker stories’ I mean escaping from them. But who wants to hear that, right? A guy in a packed bar heard us talking and yelled over the music in a thick German brogue, “Do you know where Sheet Harbour is?” His parents had a house there. We thought that was pretty funny.
12. How pumped are you for this Saturday?
On a scale of 1-10, about 32. Also… I think you skipped 11.
13. What are you expecting?
I get to listen to two of my favourite bands, then get to play in front of a whole pile of my friends. That’s pretty cool. I also hope that someone shows up with a Lion... that would make my night.
14. What can fans expect?
Three bands who give it their all on stage, sweat a lot and love what they do. We’ve got our new CD on hand, new merch and I’ll probably play the show with my infamous Celine Dion t-shirt. The last guy who won dancing with the stars, NFL superstar Donald Driver, really liked it and I had to fake and pretend I was actually a fan of hers.
15. What comes next for the Heroes?
We play the Pop Explosions on October 26th – a free outdoor stage at Grande Parade, Nova Scotia Music week in early November, then after that we head out for a cross Canada tour. It’ll be our first time west of Windsor, Ontario, first time seeing the Rockies, the Prairies, and the west coast. And we get to do it with our good pals, The Stanfields. Should be pretty tame.
16. You guys have been one of the hardest working bands on the east coast for a while now...any advice for bands just starting out like you guys were a couple years ago? Where should they go, who should they talk to, how should they approach their music etc..
I guess it all depends on what the band is trying to accomplish. If they’re actually looking to make a go at it, make a career out of it and not have to work a “real” job, then you have to put in more work then you could ever imagine. It’s not a 40 hour week, it’s every hour of every day. Whether it’s rehearsing, writing, doing grant applications, postering, learning pro-tools, calling venues, meeting with industry people, etc… the list goes on and on, and every time you think you’re doing enough, there’s probably something else you can do. That and learn to live of peanut butter and jam sandwiches, no sleep and optimism… I s’pose. There’s probably a million different ways you can approach the music industry, but by just working hard, being honest, and honing your craft, that’s a pretty good start. Talk to people you respect, ask a local songwriter you like about their writing process, set up a meeting with Music Nova Scotia and ask them a billion questions, sit in on studio sessions, take lessons, ask for advice, read books, live your life, let things happen and most of all, don’t be an asshole. No matter how good you are, if you’re a prick, you’re not going anywhere.
17. You were in Finland a few months back, can you compare that trip to the one you just returned from?
The Finland trip was a tour of the whole country. We got up every day, took a train to a place we never heard of, saw a new amazing city, played a show to a bunch of cool, attractive Finnish people, drank beer with them, stumbled to our hotel and repeated it every day for two weeks straight. The Germany trip was more of a festival which was in one city in one area. Both were amazing in their own ways.
18. Is it hard being a hero?!
I wouldn’t even come close to considering myself a hero of any sorts. Hopefully we can inspire a few people to play music, or just follow their dreams in general, but we’re far from Heroes.
white stripes or black keys?
White Stripes just because I met Jack White on the street in Nashville and he seemed like a pretty cool cat. I gave him a copy of our first album and he was genuinely appreciative of it.
keaton or kilmer (batman)?
gretzky or crosby?
Crosby all the way. Local boy done good, and who can resist that smile?
koho or cooper (hockey equipment)?
All I ever got was hand me down gear, but I loved myself a new Koho Stick every year!
seahorse or horseshoe?
Seahorse for sure. Some of my favorite shows ever have been there.
whiskey or rum?
Nothing good has ever happened with rum, so, whisky by default.
keiths or olands?
bugs bunny or mickey mouse?
Is it alright to hate them both?
The Hip or The Trews?
Hip, greatest Canadian band of all time. Nothing against The Trews, but I run into them about twice a year and they never remember who I am. So…
stones or beatles?
In a ball hockey game I’d take the Stones: Mick and Keith with their cockroach skin have to be tough as nails and would definitely out grind the Fab Four.
sunrise or sunset?
Sunset. I’m from Inverness, Cape Breton. The sun sets on the water there and I’ve never seen a nicer sunset than one on the west side of the island. It’s a magical thing.
crib or checkers?
Crib. Like every other Cape Breton boy, my parents taught me how to play crib, jig smelts and drink rum when I turned 3.
fishin or trollin?!
It’s tough to beat a day on the river fishing illegally without a license and using a bamboo pole from the 30’s that my grandfather gave me when I was a kid. I once caught an eel with that rod and was supposed to win a fishing contest with it because it was the biggest catch of the day. I was so excited because first prize was a T.V., and this was back in the day before the internet when T.V. was cool. But they rigged the contest so the daughter of the guy running it won. I got a smoke detector. Needless to say, the hours of fun for a 7 year old boy with a smoke detector shaped who I am today.
When the album came out, we did a month long release tour across the country in a “Canadream” RV with our friends The Stanfields. 8 of us crammed into the RV and bolted west towards the Pacific. It was myself and Bruce’s first time west of Ontario, our first time seeing the Rockies and any other ocean other than the Atlantic. It was an amazing experience. I don’t think we ever laughed and had more fun than we did on that tour. We saw so much, met so many people, experienced new places, and got our music into the hands of new fans.
We did these 4 music videos: