Wolf Parade

posted by / Sounds / March 13, 2006

The best rock ‘n’ roll is in constant deterioration. It’s in five places at once. It’s a mess, barely holding itself together on the sublime brink of total shambles. And the guys in Montreal’s Wolf Parade fit like it best that way. Self-consciously described as “noisy, traumatic, pop”, their sound is often compared to that of Indie-favs Modest Mouse, who were in fact integral to their deal with Seattle’s notorious SubPop Records. They’re described as spastic. Twitchy. Nervous and unpredictable. And that’s the just music. The guys in the band, well, they’re much worse off. Former Hot, Hot, Heat bassist, who joined the band after recording their hugely acclaimed album, “Apologies to the Queen Mary”, talked with us about their failure to call back Letterman, the scene in Montreal, their aspirations of stadium rock and, well, whatever else… —Nathan Myers

SURFING MAGAZINE: As the newest member of the band, maybe you could introduce the other guys for us?DANTE DECARO: OK, well, Arlen [Thompson] is the god-like, bearded figure who sits behind the drums. Spencer [Krug] is a 28-year-old teen idol who plays the keyboards and handles the vocals on half the songs. Dan [Boeckner], an emaciated, rock-n-roll casualty is the other vocalist/songwriter and plays guitar. And Hadji [Bakara] is a bohemian, intellectual electronic manipulator. And Dante {Decaro], that’s me, I play other stuff.

What does that mean: “other stuff”?I mostly play guitar, but I kinda play different things on different tracks; keyboards, bass, various percussion, chimes, bells and shit. There are no limitations. Hopefully my repertoire of instruments will grow.

What’s Hadji doing? Sound manipulation? What’s that?He’s got some crazy, f–king, like…I don’t know, you just have to see it. It looks like what old telephone companies used, with switchboard plugs and stuff, and then he’s got his laptop and keyboards. He’s just making his own sounds. We’ve been talking about running our whole sound through him and let him mess with that, too. We just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

Why are so many good indie bands coming out of Montreal these days?It’s cheap. It’s easy to get places to practice. There’s a lot of venues to play. Always new places opening up. It’s just kind of a fairly lawless city, by modern standards. Like, other places have a lot of red tape. It’s its own place. It’s barely even part of Canada, and it’s certainly not part of the United States.

Does the band get along well?It’s not so much pushing and pulling, it’s more like nobody making any decisions. It’s getting dragged along by something else, some unseen force. We’re getting better though.

Is the label pushing? Do they want you playing Letterman?Yeah, we actually already f–ked up Letterman. They called and we never really ended up getting back to them in time, so it ended up getting cancelled. We just did some other TV show and, it’s don’t know, it’s always kinda weird. You get free liquor, which is kinda cool. But you kinda feel like an idiot playing those kinda shows. You’re far away from the audience and it’s a bunch of old people from Florida doing some LA or New York vacation, checking out the sites. They’re just told when to clap. But, you get paid for it, so I’m sure we’ll probably end up doing Letterman.

Then on to stadium rock?Straight to the stadiums. Buses and trucks. Helicopters. {{{Laser}}} light shows. [laughs] No, I don’t think anyone really wants to do that. Well, actually, I wouldn’t mind doing that once. Somehow we’ll alienate the 50,000 people in the crowd so much that we’ll never be able to do it again. That would be cool. I don’t think any of us really want it to get to that level.

How much do you guys practice?Almost never. We’re all in different places right now. Spencer’s in Japan, Dan in Vancouver, I’m in Vancouver Island and Hadji and Arlen are in Montreal. When we’re on a tour, we’re always pretty terrible for the first couple shows of a tour.

We’d tried to see you in San Diego and you guys showed up at 1 a.m..Yeah, we got totally f–ked at the airport in Las Vegas. So we had to drive. We were actually gonna buy a car, ’cause none of us could legally rent one. We were gonna go downtown and buy a beater car, but we ended up finding some woman who had a valid license and credit card and said we’d pay for it if she rented it. So, she came along, along with some random Australian kid who nobody really knew. It was pretty fun actually.

Hitching rides to shows? That’s when you know you’ve really made it?Yeah, that’s kinda Wolf Parade style. Just barely making it, always.

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