Aquarium Drunkard is presenting Tokyo Police Club and The Whigs dates this week here in Los Angeles, both at the Henry Fonda Music Box (Sept 18th), and in Pomona at the Glass House (Sept 19th). We have some pairs of tickets to give away to AD readers. Hit up the comments below if you are wanting to check out the show.
Also, AD caught up with TPC’s David Monks earlier in the month — interview below.
Aquarium Drunkard: What is the nature of this experiment?
Tokyo Police Club: We grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, which was a place that was void of the more obscure music scenes we’d hear about happening in the city. We were the only people we knew in our school who were into the same band. So, the natural progression was eventually to attempt to play the music we listened to together.
Continue Reading After The Jump….
AD: “La Ferrassie” (from the EP A Lesson In Crime) features a haunting siren moan. Do your songs develop from the rush of hearing some strange sound from an instrument or even your travels?
TPC: That song began with a drumbeat and bendy keyboard line that Graham recorded on his computer. He sent it to me while I was in Montreal and then I used other software to slow it down to half speed. So, the keyboards sound lethargic while the drums are crunchy and lumbering. The rest of it just seemed to follow. Some other songs have started like that in that they branch off of an original sound or idea-but they all begin differently.
AD: When you are writing is there an effort to cram all of your melodic ideas into the song in order to keep your tracks at their usual scant length?
TPC: Yeah. Kinda. We just like to organize them neatly and efficiently. Like Tetris, but without seeing the next shape in line.
AD: Does having an album full of these shorter songs encourage or deter radio play in this day and age of the average song lasting from 4-5 minutes?
TPC: I remember that there was some pressure when recording our EP to extend some of the song lengths so radio DJs would be more inclined to play them but we decided against it. It hasn’t seemed to hinder us in anyway. I don’t know much about radio programming, but short songs may actually work in our favour since it allows program directors to fill their song quotas while saving more time for commercials. We could really be the wave of the future.
AD: Do you think that your Canadian background allows you to be slightly freer about pushing the parameters of both what is and is not normally seen as radio-friendly?
TPC: Our government requires radio stations to fill their playlists with 33% Canadian content. So, you definitely have a better chance of getting major radio play as a Canadian artist. However, I don’t think that has ever influenced how we approach writing.
AD: You released several songs before ‘Elephant Shell’, how do you see the Internet impacting the distribution of your music?
TPC: We released the whole record digitally before the physical version. The Internet is certainly a very important tool for us.
AD: Artists must endure criticism. David Lee Roth once said that critics wrote more about Elvis Costello than Van Halen-because all critics look like Elvis Costello. How do you react to those critics who pick you apart or lump you in with a trend?
TPC: It really depends on if I feel their criticisms are valid or not. I have read some reviews where I feel the writer has really paid attention to what we were trying to do and can offer a proper critical response to what they are hearing.
Still, there are lots of times though when it seems the writer based their opinion on what they have read elsewhere and already had the review basically decided on before they even heard the album. In those cases, you have to ignore it. I do understand it though. Most critics have to churn out lots of reviews before a deadline and just don’t have time to dissect each and every album they’re assigned-
so you can’t take it personally.
AD: Your recordings are dense affairs, well-mixed songs that stop and start like a thrilling rollercoaster. Are you live shows more unhinged and visceral?
TPC: In our live show, we have figured out ways of making some songs flow more easily into the next but generally we just play each song as is, and then pause to reset ourselves before starting the next song. I think that we have gotten better at keeping the energy up while having to stop and start so often due to the short song lengths-
but you can only do so much without ruining the song that people are familiar with.
AD: You are about to embark on this huge fall tour with Weezer. How do you bottle your excitement about playing this series of show, and then release it onstage? Is the road beginning to feel like home? Are you writing on the road?
TPC: I think it’d be really easy to feel intimidated by opening for such a huge act, such as Weezer, especially since they were your childhood musical heroes and let that nervousness show onstage. I think we’ll go the other way with it. Try to see it as a challenge to prove ourselves to a crowd that may not be interested in seeing us every night. We just want to try to win as many people over as we can.
We can’t compete with a live show like theirs, but the energy we’ll feel of being included on a bill like that will hopefully carry out to the audience and get some people’s attention.
I don’t think we’ll get much of a chance to write on this tour just because it’s not our stage. We’ll most likely have limited soundchecks, but we’ll try to get some time in when we can.
AD: You have now played around the world (Australia, the UK, Europe). How were you welcomed in Japan?
TPC: We played the Summersonic Festival in Tokyo and there was a good-sized crowd for us, even though we were sharing timeslots with Death Cab For Cutie and Panic At The Disco.
It’s always a gamble to see if anyone is going to show up when you go to a place you don’t tour very often. However, with the internet you can generate attention all over the world without having much of a physical presence there.
AD: You championed Cold War Kids and have consistently toured with other burgeoning bands. Who are some of the artists you have played with on tour that have impressed you the most?
TPC: Ra Ra Riot has been our favorite band to play with so far. We’ve been lucky enough to do so a number of time. Also We Barbarians, Ruby Coast, The Meligrove Band, Born Ruffians, The Mobius Band – we’ve actually never toured with a band we weren’t fans of, so that list could go on for a while.
AD: Have you already started to shape the new album and will it take inspiration from this rocket ride you’ve been on over the past three years?
TPC: We have some ideas that we’ve been playing around with in soundchecks lately, but nothing that we’d be ready to play live or demo.
We’ve been too busy touring since the album came out to really concentrate on writing. However, we have a long break coming up during some very cold months in Toronto. So I doubt we’ll have much else to do but hole up in a rehearsal space and work on new songs.
AD: Do broken hearts really tessellate?
TPC: Tessellating objects are identical two-dimensional shapes that are all interlocked when placed in a grid. Think MC Escher. words/mik davis