As I'd mentioned in previous articles, I had the chance to play a few shows with Timber Timbre. On our trip back from Montreal, I finally got the recorder out to ask him a few questions for the blog. Unfortunately, I forgot to press record for a large chunk of it. Ya see, I got this Zoom recorder, and it's great, but I keep forgetting that you press the record button once to set the levels, then one more time to record. Great. Anyways, here we are at the moment of realization:
Hey we're recording!! OK, we'll just skip all of that.... I'll ask you again about the Polaris Prize though, how'd you find out about it?
Yeah, I think we were driving back from Victoria and we cut through the states to shave maybe 10 hours off the trip. We didn't have any shows on the way back. We were in a hotel room in Montana somewhere and I got some emails.... I got an email from the guys in the Bruce Peninsula, and they were like "Hey, we're in the top 40!" and I didn't know what they meant. I assumed they meant the Top 40 pop charts. But then I got another email from Giant hand from Ottawa, and the sent a more explicit congratulations.
And, I guess you're familiar with most of the albums on there?
Yeah, a lot of them yeah. It's pretty good company. I'm interested in a lot of those albums.
You came back to Toronto, so after this tour on the west coast, following a tour on the East Coast, you still had to play Toronto, and it was a totally different experience, maybe talk a little about the Arts & Crafts showcase
Yeah, we were just coming off this extreme DIY tour with the Ghost Bees and we kinda came back just to do the Arts & Crafts showcase, I think we may have tried to play a few more shows on the way back. We showed up, we were late for our sound check, as you know, but we weren't accustom to having a sound check on the tours. it was really nice. It was a really nice venue to play in. I was kind of apprehensive about the festival I'm not very keen on this big events.
North By North East?
Yeah, but it ended up being a really nice night for us.
What is it about those type of festivals that you don't get into?
Um, I think they tend to be so scrambled and in my experience, they're usually really unorganized. You're not playing with your own gear a lot of the times, and there's a back line and you're kinda rushing in and doing a rushed set, getting in and getting out. But it didn't feel like that for that night. It was a nice setup, and the crowd was really receptive. I think it was the biggest crowd we played to. It think it was like our total audience through the entire tour.
ha, put together in one room! And that was your first Arts and Crafts event for you?
And just how did the A&C thing come up?
well, my understanding is, that the record... my friend Jonas of Evening Hymns past it a long to Bry Webb of the Constantines, who passed it along to Jeffery at Arts and Crafts, Jeffery Remedios. And they seemed to dig it. And they got in touch. I guess they were at the CD release with Out of the Spark at the Music Gallery. We met up, maybe 3 weeks after, we had a hard time meeting up, but when we did, he plainly expressed that he wanted to put it out in some capacity. And we took it from there. Figuring how we could do it in conjunction with Out of this Spark.
And what is the compromise the two labels made to release it?
Um... I guess the way it will work is, the Canadian release will be still with Out of this Spark and the international release will be with Arts and Crafts.
And for future releases it will be with Arts and Crafts?
Yeah, that seems to be the idea.
You did the two shows with Great Lake Swimmers, have you done shows with them before?
Yeah, we did a small tour. Hamilton, London... shit I can't remember what the other show was. But anyways... Oh the Black Sheep Inn... and Peterborough, that's what it was. Those 4 shows back in late fall. It was terrific. It was great playing to their audience. They have a really specific audience, always super attentive and reverent music fans.
A nice change from some shows?
Yeah, and they always, for the most part, play really great venues, and it's really much about the atmosphere, and I think we really set them up nicely.
And Tony (Dekkar) Seems to really like the album, actually the whole band seemed to really dig on the album
Yeah! It's a big deal for me. I think seeing Great Lake Swimmers, I was at their first CD release at Clintons, this was years ago, 2003 or so. That's what made me think... I kind of identified with the temperament of what he was doing, it really made me think that I could sing in front of people. That's when I first started toying with the idea of performing my own songs.
Oh really? That's cool
Yeah, it had a real impact on me
So you were just recording up until then, or just writing?
Yeah, I'd always been recording and I don't even know if I would say I was writing songs. I was making recordings, and then I started to write more structured...what you would call songs!
What has been strong influences on your writing?
It's been pretty varied. For a long time, I think when I first started making recordings, I was interested in "the next thing", or a new music. I was concerned about being derivative, or sounding too much like the music that I liked, or the music that I listened to. Which was the typical, Beach Boys, Neil Young. Neil Young was one of my heroes. I eventually stopped worrying about being derivative, or falling into the obvious progression, and allowed myself to follow traditional meters or patterns. I ended up getting into more traditional types of music. Early western music, folk music, blues.
So you did two EP's albums by yourself at first
yeah, they're short... I don't know what constitutes an EP, they are both brief, maybe 30 minutes, Ceder Shakes, and Medicinals.
How'd you get those to Out of this Spark, how'd they get into your music?
I guess, I'd done some shows with Stuart Duncan, who threw a lot of shows in Guelph, got a lot of bands into Guelph, like the Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade. He put on a lot of shows there, then he moved to Toronto. He'd invited me to open a couple shows. He'd been pretty involved in the community, he put out the Forest City Lovers album and I'd done somethings with them, and the D'urbervilles. He kind of approached me a year ago and I saw it as an opportunity to aline myself with a lot of bands I like and admire. It was a really casual deal, which I liked a lot, he didn't have a lot of expectations of me. He was just interested in assisting in the mechanics of putting out the album. It was exactly what I was looking for at the time.
You mentioned Jonas from Evening Hymns, have you known him a long time?
Yeah, I guess it has been a while now. 4 or 5 years. I dont' know how we hooked up. It's possible I met him... I dont know! I can't remember. I was living in Bobcagyn for a while when I recorded Ceder Shakes, and I really like it up there, and we started to play Peterborough a lot when I started writing. I had a band and we'd play there a lot. We'd play The Spill. I think I met him there. I really identified with him. He was the first guy I ever saw use a loop pedal. I was really blown away, and ran out and bought one when I saw him. I could never take it as far as he did. He's really original with it. Has a natural ability.
Did you contribute to the new Bellwoods record?
Did you have anything to do with the first one?
No, I wasn't really involved. I still feel relatively new to the Toronto community. It's a really amazing compilation and I'm really excited to be involved with the new one.
What do you do on the new one?
I have this song with Casey and Jenny Mesea (of Ohbijou) and Andrew Barker from Bruce Peninsula, Jaime Button plays some percussion and Trumpet.
Is it one of your songs?
yeah it is.
A new Timber Timbre song. When are they getting it out?
I think they're looking at August? But I'm not certain about that.
So what do you have coming up now? you probably want to take a break after the tour.
I really want to take a break. I'm not sure if it's in the cards, but I'd really like to rest a bit. But with the re-release I dont' think I"ll get my break.
When is the re-release?
The Canadian re-release is I think, the 30th of June. It'll be out Internationally a month later I think. The release show is July 17th at the Church of the Redeemer.
that'll be a good show. So you're hoping to try to have nothing to do between then and now
Which unfortunately isn't much time!
The tour was pretty exhausting for you then.
Yeah, it's alot of work when you're doing it all yourself. Building it up from nothing, involved in every aspect from sound to driving to merch. Long drives.
You also have Hillside festival on the 25th
Yeah, I think we're playing... not certain what the schedule is that day, but I hear a lot of good things about the festival.
Yeah, It's supposed to be great. Well, my recorder is showing a low battery, so maybe we'll stop there. This may be the worst technical interview I've ever done!
Ha! I have bad luck with these machines! I did an interview with one of these guys in Winnipeg, a friend of Jonas showed up at this in-store that we played at Music Trader. We went down to the basement to do an interview and he wrote me... we talked for like half an hour or something and he wrote me the next day to tell me... I don't know, maybe I just have bad energy with these machines.
Did it just not...
It didn't record.
I didn't record? He probably just didn't press it twice! It's the second time I did that, the first time was when I interviewed Valery Gore, I missed the first ten minutes of it.
Did you start over?
No, I just went with it. And actually, that was one of my worst interviews... And I think it's because of that, it just throws you off your rhythm. To loose like 1o minutes, you've build some direction, and then you have to start over.
And then you've got to try to recap.
And then it fells so forced, "Can you say exactly what you said before?!" Anyways, thanks for the interview!
You got it.
photo from Wolves Hawks and Kites