I used to think that the name Apostle of Hustle referred to a disco dance. Which was odd because Andrew Whiteman’s music always seemed too busy and complex to surrender to simple grooves. (That’s changed considerably lately.) I later realized that it referred more to Whiteman’s tireless work ethic, especially when he was down on his luck in the mid-’90s and scampering for any gig he could get.
He doesn’t have to do that anymore. As one of the core members of Broken Social Scene ever since they expanded into a full band—that’s Whiteman who is in clear focus on the cover of 2002’s classic You Forgot It In People—he has a high-profile gig that has not only kept him gainfully employed, but given the Apostle of Hustle a much broader international profile than it would enjoy otherwise.
That’s not because it’s not worthy, but because Whiteman had trouble getting arrested on College St. at the turn of the decade; though his talents and charms are plenty, his is a body of work that doesn’t lend itself to easy answers and snap judgments.
Indeed, even though I’ve known Andrew Whiteman peripherally for over 15 years, it took me a good year of listening to Apostle of Hustle’s 2004 album Folkloric Feel before its brilliance became apparent to me. I knew enough not to dismiss it right away—it was obvious something special was going on—but such is its density that its many mysteries took a good 12 months to unravel slowly. Even today, I hear new things on that album.
I first met Whiteman backstage in London, Ontario (at the now-recently razed Embassy Hotel) when he was still in the Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, the R&B/soul band he joined in high school. Somehow we got on to the topic of the Rheostatics and geeked out about the just-released Whale Music album. After he left the Bourbons, his band Gunwhalebob—featuring future Apostle of Hustle bassist Julian Brown—shared many bills with my own band at the time. While I always had massive respect for his talent as a guitarist, it was obvious that he was still searching for his own voice as a songwriter. With Apostle of Hustle, Whiteman has not only found it, but he’s created something unique. One can hear Latin rhythms, dub reggae effects, Krautrock, Eno-esque production, prog rock and pop songs all coexisting in single songs. More importantly, it works.
And on Apostle of Hustle’s third album, it works better than ever. It’s their leanest, meanest album, at once their most accessible and their most experimental. And with an increased focus on one-chord grooves, you can even hustle to it.
This conversation took place for this month’s cover story in Exclaim! magazine. I recommend you read that first if you’re new to Whiteman’s world. Here, over breakfast on his way to a Broken Social Scene practice, the ever-animated, ever-opinionated Whiteman waxes enthusiastic on his myriad influences, why he thinks he's a lazy man, and he wasn't interested in either last year's Bourbon Tabernacle Choir reunion nor the recently released oral history book of Broken Social Scene.
May 6, 2009
Locale: the Lakeview Lunch, Toronto
Of the many voices that appear in the found sound collages throughout the album, my favourite is the voice of William S. Burroughs reciting the phrase: “We are immeasurably old and ravenously young.” Where is that from? Is that a theme for this album?
I stole it for a reason, I guess. I believe it’s from The Place of Dead Roads. It’s from that [Western Lands] trilogy. I stole almost all my stuff from a site called Ubuweb. It’s run by a guy named Kenny Goldsmith. His slogan is: “all avant-garde all the time.” It’s a fantastic site of modern work: film, spoken world, concrete poetry, performance art. I find that’s what I listen to on my iPod all the time anyway: poetry, criticism, ideas. It’s an amazing resource. That was instrumental when I started making this record. Originally I had a collage for each song, and they were longer. I chopped those things down, and I got into sample clearance problems. I really want to leak all of the collages sewed together. It would be an intense listen.
Would this be the Apostle of Hustle mixtape?
When the album was beginning, we assumed that we wouldn’t even make any copies, that it would be quick and dirty and online. As such, we thought it would be so under the radar that we’d use quotes from Sopranos and Deadwood. We thought: no one will care or find out or buy this record anyway, they’ll take it for free online.
You were going to go totally Negativland.
That’s exactly how it started. Sometime around September I played it for my A&R guy, Kevin [Drew], and he liked it a lot more than I thought he’d like it. I had perhaps a juvenile distaste for the work it takes to promote the album and get it done right for a proper release. I just wanted to make music and not deal with all that stuff—which is important to deal with.
Is that part of the reason it’s so short?
No. There were a few more songs that could have gone on. It’s a Latin Playboys thing. I remember getting that album and getting to the end and thinking, “Oooh, it’s only 36 minutes, those fuckers!”
I enjoy all three of your albums for different reasons, but this one seems like the longest journey—and yet it’s the shortest. And I mean longest journey in a good way, in a satisfying way. It doesn’t feel like half an hour. It’s more bang for your buck. Yet this is a thin lyric sheet. Is this less lyrically dense than other Apostle albums?
Maybe. I got an ultimatum from my band when we finished this: “Next time we record, you have to have all the lyrics written before we go into the studio.” The instrumental, “Eats Darkness,” had a huge lyric to it, which was jettisoned in the end because it was too much. It was an experiment on a book called War Music, which is a retelling of a new translation of The Odyssey, by this British guy Christopher Logue. If you think you never liked that, this will take you right in to ancient Greek stuff. I did an experiment where I took the name of someone I know and wrote it vertically, and then based on the melodic count, I had to make sure each line started with the letter from that person’s name. Then I methodically went through the book page by page until I found a word that started with that letter and followed the melodic structure.
You mean the cadence?
Yeah, the number of syllables. This was a literary experimental thing going on underneath the music.
What attracted you to the line: “Human beings have been commissioned to make war music, music that people will be not only willing, but anxious to die to.”
It was another thing from Ubuweb that I’ve been listening to. Stan Brakhage did a series of one-hour radio shows in 1980 when he was teaching at the University of Denver, called the Test of Time. He puts together an amazing program. He’s a huge poetry fan, and a fan of classical music and ancient music. That’s him speaking.
What would you characterize as modern war music?
Music from northern Mali that we’ve come to know through Tinariwen and all that stuff. That’s one version of it. Another would be The Clipse. A lot of the inspiration for the segues were hip-hop mixtapes I used to get on the streets. But when I sat down to do them, it exploded into this whole other thing I really enjoyed doing.
You took my question in a positive context of believing in something so much that you’re willing to die for it. I was thinking more about rallying people to a militaristic cause. What music would you be anxious to die for?
How about World of Echo by Arthur Russell? No, I guess that would be something to die to, not die for.
Would that be the “death you get for the life you lead”? [a line from the song “Perfect Fit”]
(laughs) Yeah, right. If you’re Mother Theresa, that’s the death you get.
Where is that line from?
It’s from the writer David Antin. He improvises and speaks on some topic and goes and goes, and later he listens to his cadence and types up his poetry. He’s trained as an art critic and professor.
What resonated with you about that line?
When I was a kid I would read about Crazy Horse. Before you have to go into battle, you have to make peace with your personal spirits and say, “It’s a good day to die. I’ll be happy if I go out there and die today.” That song is my version of that.
You don’t need a battle to feel that way, though. I wake up every morning grateful for the people around me, and every time you say goodbye to someone and you don’t know when you’ll see them ago, you want to know that you’ve made your amends and all is well. If today is the day that the piano falls, I want to know that I’ve made peace with everyone and myself.
It’s a technique for living harder, more fully, you know that death is on your shoulder.
And living honestly, too.
Someone told me that you once said that when you were in the Bourbons, you went to someone’s 30th birthday party at Lee’s Palace—and vowed not to be still hanging around Lee’s Palace when you turned 30.
It was the Hopping Penguins, one of those guys’ 30th birthday. I did coke for the first time that night, which is probably where that conversation came from. I was probably 23. I said if I’m celebrating my 30th birthday at Lee’s Palace, I’m going to be fucking sick. Are you asking me to account for such youthful declarations?
How old are you now?
How did you spend your 40th?
At SXSW. It was at San Jose Hotel. We did a gig there and the woman who runs it was so nice to us, so great. Time is a giant fucking bullwhip, man. It’s my enemy! But then it’s not, at the same time.
You may still be playing Lee’s Palace at age 42, but there’s been nothing about your career that’s been a rut.
That’s you saying that.
It’s like my favourite Carolyn Mark line: “Is it a groove or is it a rut?” There have been lots of left turns, the three Apostle records all sound different to me, this new one opens new doors. Do you feel like you’re in a rut?
No, no. I do feel like I’m lazy, like I haven’t done enough. I don’t know how much I believe in Harold Bloom’s Anxiety of Influence, but when you walk around with Rimbaud on your shoulder…
Just tell him to shut up!
Exactly: “Stuff a sock in it, you junkie.” You’re comparing yourself to your peers or your people, your immediate peers or your dead peers. I’m very restless. I wish I was a graduate student under Marjorie Perloff at USC in California. I did a cabaret in September at [Toronto theatre company] Soulpepper, and I wish I could jump into that. I’ve got too much to do and I have to make money somehow. I could do better. I wish getting high and watching Aqua Teen Hunger Force wasn’t so funny. Know what I mean? You gotta take a break! “All means to attract and distract,” said the Disposable Heroes. That band was a big wake-up for me. You remember them?
Of course. Michael Franti. I saw them. Didn’t the Bourbons share management with them?
A little bit for a while. Back when they were performance-y. It was Michael Franti, Charlie Hunter, and that…
Table saw guy.
You remember his name?
First time I saw them was opening for Billy Bragg.
At the Concert Hall, exactly.
What about them woke you up?
Recognizing that someone is saying some shit in a really, really good way. Certain cultural skewering is always attractive, whether it’s “all means to attract and distract” or I Am the Slime by Zappa. I don’t get tired of that one.
In terms of being restless, I’m curious whether BSS is the biggest distraction in your life, or does it help you focus?
It’s not a distraction, that’s for sure.
Today it sounds like one.
Well, things have changed—massively. Certainly at the beginning, it was no distraction at all. Total joy. Inspired. Jo-Ann [Goldsmith] and Kevin [Drew]’s house was very much a hub. That was absolutely amazing. I don’t know if it somehow focused me, but I wouldn’t have been able to put out my record without Arts and Crafts. Even now (laughs), I feel like I got in on the ground floor and they can’t kick me out! I may be C list, but I’m in! Whew.
I feel like you came into that band with the most conventional background to a degree…
No kidding, unless you call grunge conventional, in which case it would be [Brendan] Canning.
And yet I find your records are both the most melodic and the most experimental.
Yeah. So do I. I loved doing that Tagaq thing and having that little release. I don’t like being pigeonholed into quirky pop music or whatever. My trajectory is somewhat more along the Burroughs and Tom Waits kind of thing. I think it’s going to get a little more outside the older I get. The more that a body of work begins to build. I think Tom Waits, before he moved to New York, he had five records or whatever at that point, and they were all of a certain thing. He probably sat down and said, “This feels good, I have this body of work, and now I’m going to take 14 hits of this and move to New York and never come back, artistically.” It’s a lack of time and resources that prevents Apostle of Hustle from being my #1 creative launch pad. But I love Social Scene so much, and it’s my #1 priority.
Was 2007 the first time Apostle of Hustle did a full tour?
It took us four months to figure out all the parts and how to cover them, and for me to relax a bit and not have Julian having 14 parts to do. After four months, we went to SXSW, did an Andrew Bird tour, and then realized that it’s a vibe, it’s the holy trinity. It’s not about the parts, it’s about what happens between me, Julian and Dean. That was great to figure that out. If I look at bands, the only ones who are climbing is because it’s constant work. And when Apostle can’t do that constant work, it gives us this false question: “Gee, how come we’re not….” Well, because you stop and then you have to start again.
It’s a labour of love right now, and that’s all it can be. I can’t afford to have a lighting guy so that we start in total darkness and by the end we’re bathed in beaming light everywhere—which is what I want, I want to do stage-y shit like that. But for these shows, one thing we can do is at least we can learn every song we’ve ever recorded. That’s fun. We have 31 songs that we can play. Those guys won’t get bored and we can mix it up. I’m excited about that. Songs that used to be big rock anthems are now 12/8 maraca-driven Peruvian indie rock tunes. We’re having a looser approach again.
I was thinking about an interview you and I did around 1998 for Que Vida [for Id magazine], and my stance on performing was that I wanted to do it but retreated at the same time; I felt exposed in an energy-sapping way. It’s like Barry White said, ‘The ‘’80s were a difficult time for Barry.’
So the late ’90s were to you what the ’80s were to Barry White?
Exactly. Lost the plot.
How do you feel about that time now? I made a little list of your various projects: Fear of Zen. The Strap. Gunwhalebob. Walt Whitman. Que Vida.
I also tried to get a publishing deal in there, with EMI. Me and [ex-Bourbon singer] Dave [Wall] did that on the strength of a few Big Sugar hits.
Never got that, no. I came up with a couple of great boy band songs I could still use, though.
How do you look at that period of your life now?
I say, fuck it. I wasn’t glued enough to my four-track. I did so much work on my four-track and I should have stayed there. I shouldn’t have ventured out. Alex Lukachevsky [Deep Dark United] and I do this to each other all the time. I think I should have done things like Alex, just put out cassettes for a while. I wanted someone to take care of that stuff for me. So I connected myself with people that I thought would do that, and gave up too much control that way and you get a little lost.
That’s very much a ’90s thing, when young bands still thought it was possible to make it in the music industry, such as it was. And now no one has those illusions. But at the same time, you’re on Arts and Crafts now and you play in a band with one of the guys who owns the label.
It’s weird. Things work out somehow. Don’t know how, but they do. I got lucky. Lots of people get lucky finds, and you got to be smart enough to know they’re a lucky find or they’re not that lucky. My whole attitude towards performing now is a lot different. It’s a lot healthier than when you and I had that interview.
How would you describe it then?
It was just guarded. I didn’t know how to unlock.
Was it the music you were playing?
Maybe a bit. I ceded control voluntarily. I gave it to other people.
In the band?
Exactly. In the idea that if I’m attached to these guys, then things will go well. But that’s not the case.
That was around the time that Que Vida was helping to launch a new label called Sound and Light, which put out the first New Deal album. I remember you telling me about what sounded like a very Arts and Crafts model at the time, at least in terms of a pool of people that cross-pollinate. What was that about? Was that more in name only until New Deal took off?
It was. It might have been an idea in [New Deal bassist] Dan Kurtz’s head, a vision. That guy is not short of vision. He has a big palette. That guy is an insatiable worker. He could see that the New Deal was going to kick some ass for a few years, and he went with it. I did see the New Deal back up Feist for a few gigs very early on, which I thought was great. It was only two or three shows at the We’ave on Dundas St.
But maybe we’re not talking about the future enough.
Back when the New Deal was starting, you were talking about getting into repetitive, dance-y, I don’t want to use the word trance…
No, no, use trance, use trance.
But I think of really cheesy…
(interjects) I don’t. I did an interview for Folkloric Feel, and the woman asked me where we were going, and I said that slowly Apostle of Hustle is transforming into a one-chord band.
Polar opposite of Gunwhalebob.
That’s for sure.
Too many chords!
So many chords. We’re closer to moving to one chord now. “Soul Unwind” and “Perfect Fit” are like that. Some of the songs we did for the cabaret were like that. We were discussing strategies for when everyone gets super busy, like when Social Scene’s record comes out. We know the next two or three records we’re going to put out in the next few years. One of them is definitely a trance record.
Define a trance record for me.
I could be talking about North African music or Jamaican dancehall. It’s ecstatic states. It’s also about sorcery.
I think about some of those Sonic Youth jams that are very much about how this reality is surrounded by a net, it’s about looking at the holes in the net and the pores of the fabric and how the music dissolves those momentarily so that you have contact with the non-empirical reality surrounding us. Music is definitely a form of sorcery, and that’s what I want to do.
Do you feel you get close to that?
Sometimes, yeah. Fuck yeah. It’s a powerful feeling.
How do Julian and Dean help you achieve that?
It’s impossible to predict what they’re going to do, especially Julian—I have no fucking clue. Every sorcerer needs a monkey familiar!
Tell me about Julian Brown. Was Gunwhalebob the first thing you did together?
I’ve known him that long. I bailed on the Bourbons in what, 93? [Rheostatic] Dave Clark hooked me up with him and [drummer] Andrew Henry.
I know Julian took time off from music and life for a while. Was he important to what your vision of what Apostle of Hustle would be? Did you call him up specifically for that?
I did, actually. I don’t know why. Could be unfinished business. When I was in Havana, I knew it had to be Julian. I don’t know what drew me back to him. Somehow I knew that he would be up for the task. I didn’t know what the task would be.
Speaking of too many chords, he’s the only guy I knew who could, on a dime, figure out all the chords to “Chega de Saudade” by Jobim. He could transpose it into any key in five seconds. He has limitless potential, musically. It’s terrifying. If I’m frustrating because I’m restless and have so many ideas, he’s frustrating because he’s good at so many instruments. If he’s the monkey familiar who is the chaos part of the equation, he’s also the mule. He will not budge, when things are telling him something’s wrong.
Was Dean Stone in and out at the beginning?
No, he’s been there since day one. There was one tour of Europe he couldn’t do, so we got [Justin] Peroff. Dean’s new thing is that maracas are the new cowbell. He was noodling on YouTube and found some maraca technique from Venezuela called joropo, cowboy music from the dry plains of Venezuela and Columbia. The way these guys play is unreal, so Dean has decided this is a huge thing.
Do you ever have band practices where you don’t play music, just sit around and play records?
A little bit. We were supposed to be rehearsing, because it’s really hard to get together, and we’re taking our approach from listening to records. I didn’t know very early ECM Records, so these guys were playing me Old and New Dreams: Charlie Haden, Don Cherry, Dewey Redman and Eddie Blackwell. Early 70s. That was our jam session. This is who we are, because we’re prevented from being a band that plays all the time. We are itinerant that way. They are willing to indulge me.
We just did a recording session with a master voodoo percussionist from Haiti, though a connection with a guy in Hamilton. Jean-Baptiste Bonga. That record will come out next year. That was mind-changing for us, playing with him. We got to play vodun songs and vodun music. He would start and we would try to follow him. We hung out for four days doing that. That was a month ago.
Were you versed in what he did before?
Oh, no. My knowledge of Haitian music is limited to compas music. Some of the greatest guitar playing I’ve heard is from a a band called Les Gypsies de Baton. Here’s this little titan, Bonga. He lives in Jersey and Port-au-Prince.
So that’s one of the upcoming three records.
What are the other two?
I can’t reveal those details. But let’s just say I’m comfortable in the conceptual realm.
So it will be a trilogy.
In the musical sense.
I love the line here: “We cultivate resistant hearts.” How did that come to you?
I can’t always be bleak.
It’s easy to do.
That song is a slice of hope. It’s a counter to the song “Xerxes,” where the message is that we’re fucked. Although, if you go back to Thermopylae, we are not fucked.
Because at Thermopylae, a handful of Greeks held off an army of 400,000 Persians through skill, luck and positioning. We, the underdog, did win at that juncture. The song “Xerxes” says that we’re not going to win, because Geronimo didn’t win, and he did the same thing. [The song] "How Do You Defeat a More Powerful Enemy” is saying maybe we can win. If you follow these instructions.
You can eat darkness.
Marc Ribot has a great bit where he talks about loudness and rock guitar. When volume started to creep up, it was the shamanic function of taking the pain away: inoculation. You must be injected with a piece of the darkness to have dealings with the darkness, build up a resistance. Only through the ingestion of darkness and transforming it chemically inside of you, and then you shit sunlight.
There are very few lyrics on the record. Is this similar to your one-chord goal?
I sat in on a class in Concordia this winter, and we did a fair amount of Ezra Pound. One of his things is to bring it down, reduce it, reduce it.
My high school English teacher always told us that brevity is the sole of wit.
Unless you’re telling a Borscht Belt joke.
Post-mortem, how did the Bourbon reunion feel for you? [The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir was asked to reunite for a one-off show at the 2008 Hillside Festival in Guelph, Ontario.]]
I’m anti-nostalgia. I’m too interested in right now. I’m ecstatic about what’s happening right now.
Guess what? Bourbons, I was like, no, not interested. No, no, no. Then some people were like, ‘Get off your high horse and stop being such an asshole. Just do something for the fans. We don’t have to reunite, we just want another party.’ So yeah, okay, if I don’t have any other plans, if I’m not away, okay. So then I get an email: “Do you mind if there’s a film crew around when we do this?” I put my two cents in. “Yes, I do.” Of course that’s ignored, because that’s the pattern from the old.
I’m great friends with Kate [Fenner]; I see her every time I’m in New York. I’m great friends with Chris Brown, I stay with him every time I’m in Kingston. There’s no enmity there. Musically? Whatever, man. That was then this is now. It’s not exciting or thrilling. I’m not at the edge of my seat. There’s no trance, no sorcery, no nothing.
Is it historical re-enactment?
Yeah! And you know what man? Let’s be honest: it was a drag. So that’s how I feel about it. I’m just not into nostalgia.
[unprompted] You want to know what I think of the Broken Social Scene book? It’s garbage. It’s not garbage; [author] Stuart Berman isn’t garbage. I love that guy’s music writing. And he’s a friend of mine and I trust that what he does is not going to suck. And it probably doesn’t suck. But in principle? Sure, I mean, if I was a 14-year-old fan whose older brother got me into Broken Social Scene I’m sure I’d find it really interesting. Maybe his angle is also interesting, about how community music can happen. That’s all on the positive side, and I’m being a stick in the mud. But fuck that—nostalgia is for the old age home. What about right now? Maybe it’s just my insider opinion.
Maybe it’s because it’s about you and something you’re involved in. But you, as a voracious reader and someone who’s interested in other music, if you read a book about someone else’s career is that also somehow false nostalgia?
It verges on mawkish celebrity-ness. I can’t stand that. I’m not interested in that. I’ve attempted for the entire life of my goddaughter to offer alternatives to that for her—not successfully, I might add. We live in an increasingly celebritized milieu. This could all be just another way of saying that it just fucking rubs me the wrong way and I think it’s tacky. It’s cheap and tacky.
Is it not a timepiece? And what’s wrong with that?
Okay, a timepiece. Let’s talk about time. Is ten years time, really? Is that a timepiece? Come on. Nostalgic exhumation? The corpse doesn’t have a chance to dissolve into the soil anymore. It’s too close.
Whenever someone under the age of 80 gets a lifetime achievement award, their first response seems to be: what? It’s over? Are you going to roll me into the grave now? I heard the choreographer Peggy Baker on the radio yesterday, talking about receiving some such honour, and she explained how resistant she was to the concept—especially as a dancer, when she’s spent much of her career proving that dancers don’t have to retire at the age of 19 or whatever.
That’s amazing. Peggy Baker is amazing. Give her some other award! You want to fete her? Give her money, I’m sure she’d be happy with that.
But that’s the semantics of the phrase “lifetime achievement award.” You’re merely resistant to the idea of a book at this stage in the band’s career.
Yeah! I’m resistant to it. It’s mawkish and I’m not into it.
The conception of BSS initially was to play new songs all the time, not to play the album. And then that morphed into a machine that had to meet certain expectations of fans coming out to see it. And then flipping through Berman’s book yesterday, there are quotes from people—including yourself, if I’m not mistaken—saying how they could see this band still doing this in 30 years, largely because the structure is so fluid and everybody is old friends. But will you be playing the hits from 2003 then? This is a band that, from the beginning, didn’t even want to nostalgize the album they had just put out. There was meant to be forward motion.
Kevin was ranting the other day about how we’ve given up the mystery. And it’s true.
Because of the book?
Well, that was one thing, but he was ranting at [Brendan] Canning for doing eTalk Daily and all this shit. And I agree, I think it’s bullshit. At the same time, that’s our job. And if we didn’t have that job, we wouldn’t be able to do a lot of this.
You said you just learned 31 songs for this tour. Are people nostalgic for Folkloric Feel? What about those old songs?
I was thinking about the Dead, or Dylan. I haven’t been to a Dylan show in a long time, but I’m assuming he plays a wide range of his stuff. I hope he does songs from Time Out of Mind and from Blonde on Blonde and from Blood on the Tracks. I’m assuming that’s what it’s about. One thing I took from the Dead was that they’re not the best at what they do—they’re the only ones at what they do.
I was thinking about Apostle; I want to be master of this music. Or like Gonzales, who wanted to be the supervillain, the master of music, and that’s why he can afford to have this excellent prankster, shit-disturbing character who can run for the mayor of the Berlin underground. And why? Because when he sits at the piano, he can kill you. And he will kill you, because he’s a master, a genius of music.
For Apostle specifically, that’s our strength. We have five releases—three albums, two EPs—and the people that are our fans are introverted, music fans who are on the periphery. These are not centre-gathered people. They are outside the herd for whatever reason, for better or worse. I’ve met them. So for us to become masters of our music, that’s the least I can do for myself and for them. That’s the impetus for learning every song we’ve ever recorded. Even if I can’t do anything else successfully, I want to be master of my fucking realm. When you come to the Apostle show, you’ll hear any song you want and we can twist it four different ways.
These internalized music nerds who come to your show—do they dance?
In Montreal they do! It’s a heterogenous bunch. For this tour we solicited a bunch of young bands to see who wanted to open for us, instead of choosing one act or having a booking agent do it. It’s been amazing for me to listen to all these MySpace sites and find out what people are doing.
So you see how you may be directly inspiring some people, if there fans enough of your music?
No I can’t! (laughs) Not for a lot of them, for sure. Listening to a lot of them, I think, really? We are music for introverted people, so I don’t know what they get out of it or read into it. I have no fucking clue. I don’t know anyone else who sounds like our band; I wish I did. It’s always a horrible conversation when someone says, ‘Who does your band sound like?’ or ‘Who do you want to go on the road with?’ No one does what we do—which sounds high and mighty, but when you get down to it, nobody really does do this.