Here’s the version from Wolf Parade’s 2004 self released 2nd EP:
Fan Made Video
I spoke with Spencer Krug about his memories from recording Apologies and how some of the songs were created. Here’s Part 1. You can read the full post here
I remember driving to Portland from Montreal and halfway there being like ‘We’re only half way?” As we were getting closer it’s sort of dawning on us, just being like, why are we driving to Portland to make a record? This is insane. We live in Montreal. You know the travel anger just building up, the anxiety. We’re just like, what are we doing here? Then we got there and we went to Isaac’s house and he clearly was surprised to see us and didn’t expect us until at least the next day. He didn’t care, but that just right away showed how disorganized everything was. He was like ‘Oh yeah, fuck, you guys, right, yeah I booked the studio, we gotta do this. I wasn’t expecting to see you yet’. And us being like ‘I’m pretty sure we’re supposed to be here but you could be right’. In retrospect anyone could have been wrong about when we were supposed to be there, we were so disorganized.
Arlen Thompson sent me some great photos he took while Wolf Parade where on tour in 2005.
Backstage opening for Arcade Fire at the Paramount in Seattle, tour ’05
This piece is titled ‘Wolf Parade’ and created by German artist Drømsjel. Please visit his website and see his incredible work. You can buy this and other digital prints of his here.
See more amazing art, Arlen’s tour photos, and read the rest of my talk with Spencer Krug on the main It’s A Curse page.
This track is probably the most recognizable from the record. So many people are utterly inspired by this track. Here is a great quote from a fan:
John Watson: “My favourite song on this album is believe in anything- I have 4:36 tattooed on the back of my arm (the running time of the song). I used to commute to school in the Canadian winter by train and used to listen to this album on repeat. This song in particular I associate with the changing in friendships, enemies and overall relationships I had change over the course of my early 20s. Another key point to note about this song is that Spencer wrote it an extremely long time ago and along with standing the test of time, like people, has changed and warped into what it is today- a beautiful reflection of the hardships of a man. That’s something I really love.”
I’ll Believe in Anything first appeared on Spencer Krug’s earliest release as Sunset Rubdown, ‘Snake’s Got A Leg’, which features this amazing solo version. You can purchase Snakes Got A Leg from Absolutely Kosher Records:
Here is an excerpt from the last chapter of my talk with Dan Boeckner. Here he talk about the songs he wrote for Apologies and what they mean. You can read the full entry here. Thank you again to Dan for sharing this with us.
A lot of the songs like ‘This Hearts on Fire’ obviously are just completely autobiographical. ‘Same Ghost Every Night’ is also about that, and about living in this environment. This weird isolated rural area in Canada. It’s a little different now, the world has changed and there’s no industry here and the redneck component is a lot smaller. But at the time when I was growing up there was this backdrop of family tragedy but there’s also the environment you’re in. If you liked punk rock music, the environment is hostile to you. Because of the people who lived there and the environment itself, the natural world. People come here for vacation now, but for me as a kid I tuned into this aspect of it, an almost ‘Lovecraftian’ cosmic horror of living in this tiny outpost of humanity surrounded by the woods. And not in a nice way. In a way that nature is constantly just trying to swallow up these little colonies of humanity and just doesn’t give a shit about you. This forest just doesn’t care about you. You’re insignificant compared to it. And those two thing, my mom passing away and that feeling of being here I think that translated into the way I started writing songs and how I wanted to communicate things. I wrote about landscapes and describing geography more than I wrote about personal relationships or love. I would rather write about that, this place. Existential horror with a bit of positivity thrown in there. Maybe there’s an exit. There’s dignity in feeling that bad.
Dan Boeckner and I spoke last week about the creation of Apologies to the Queen Mary. The last 7 parts of this conversation have been about the recording process and the year it took for the record to come together.
These next two parts are more personal. Dan spoke frankly with me about his personal life. He wanted to share with the fans what he was dealing with personally and how those events inspired his lyrics for his songs on Apologies. I want to truly thank Dan for sharing this with us. You can read today’s post in full here.
A lot of the songs on that first record are about Cowichan Lake. I’m a 15-minute drive from there right now. I’m gonna have dinner tonight at the house where a lot of those, at least the psychological component of those songs were born and incubated. I was trying to have my own voice and I think I figured it out on that record, just naturally. Cause the stuff I had done up to till then was really informed by a lot of other musicians, people I worked with in Victoria, a lot of the Atlas Strategic stuff has like wacky science fiction components in it, with failed attempts at humor. Before I moved to Montreal, my Mom died in a pretty horrible way. She had been ill for a really long time, since I was a child, with systemic Lupus. We always had these groups of doctors saying ‘all right get ready she’s gonna die, everybody prepare for the inevitable’. But it would just never happen. She’d always pull out of it at the last minute. Her lupus would go into remission and this was the backdrop to my childhood, up until I was in my mid 20’s.
Here’s the early EP version of Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts. From Wolf Parade’s self released EP 2. You can purchase it from Cheap Thrills:
Spencer Krug explains what the song is about and talks about the recording of the track in a 2005 interview with Cokemachineglow.com. Read this in full here.
In one particular Buddhist religion – and don’t ask me why I referred to something Buddhist – but there are these neat characters in Buddhism that are these tortured characters. They symbolize one of the levels of Hell. I forget the name for it – but there are a bunch of different levels of Hell, and one of them is this level where hypocrites and liars go; not the worst sins, sort of middle-ground punishment. And when they get there, they turn into hungry ghosts, that’s the best translation for it. And hungry ghosts are always thirsty, and always hungry. They’re sort of like that character Tantalus in Greek mythology: he can’t eat or drink, but he’s always hungry or thirsty. And these ghosts, they have really tiny throats, so if they try to eat, it chokes them and they die, because they only have these little straws for throats. I THINK that when they drink water it turns into fire. Yeah, so Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts is addressing my own generation, I guess. Insatiable thirsts, and hunger for whatever.
Fan made videos and art
Illustration by David Jackson. Inspired by Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts. Check out his amazing prints at InkPatch.net
You can see all the photos, videos, and illustrations inspired by Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts here.
Here is Part 7 of my talk with Dan about the recording of ‘Apologies’. Stay tuned for two more chapters from our talk, where Dan tells me about the inspiration behind his tracks from the record.
After we left the session (in Portland) they lost the multitrack version of Shine a Light. So when we got back to Montreal there was no Shine a Light. We had recorded Killing Armies and Shine a Light around the same time and I believe those are on the missing reels. We never got those reels back. So we had to re-record Shine A Light in Montreal. The existing version of that song is recorded on a Mac G-3 with a couple SM 57 mics and Tim Kingsbury playing bass. The version of Shine a Light that came out is not the studio version. We recorded it at our jam space on home recording equipment basically and just slotted it in with the record. Disco Sheets was also recorded this way.
Here’s an early version from the CBC Radio 3 session:
I still remember the first time I heard “Shine a Light.” I’d gotten a copy of Wolf Parade’s Apologies to the Queen Mary, and inexcusably slept on it for a while – I seem to do that with every album that becomes an all-time favourite – but when iTunes shuffled into this song sometime in 2006, I was floored. The opening riff is pure joy; what could it bring? A flood of synths, for one, then words more defiant than they first seem: Dan Boeckner doesn’t sleep ‘til it’s light; whiles away in an office tower; slogs away on public transit as he heads home to his loved one. Spencer Krug’s backing vocals kick in, no consonants, just sound, a synth of their own. Boeckner admits to waiting on something that’ll never arrive; but then, as Krug’s rejoicing vocals chug along, Boeckner builds another world instead of ceding control.
We got back to Montreal and I didn’t have a copy of the record. Nobody had a copy of the record. We couldn’t listen to it. Then we stopped hearing back from Isaac. So we had done this thing and nobody knew what it sounded like, it only existed in our minds. I was so fucking broke I was living on my friend’s couch in Hochelaga, which is a shitty suburb of Montreal. My girlfriend at the time had moved to Taiwan. So I just worked my ass off at my job for a month, saved up for a plane ticket, and flew to Taipei. When I got there she broke up with me and I lived in Taiwan for 3 ½ months after that. All in the back of my mind I’m thinking, there’s like a record, we did a record.
Possibly the only live version of this track was recorded at the CBC Radio 3 Sessions in November 2004.
There’s no question the lonesome crowded sound is here, but when Wolf Parade dig in and dust off their influences, the band rolls like a Ritalin-deprived power-Bowie or 70s Eno flexing piano-based hooks over Pixified rhythms. Component ingredients include electronics, keyboards, guitar, drums, and two spastically surging, forever tuneful vocalists (Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug), but there are also surprises: A theremin cries in the slow-poke “Same Ghost Every Night”– one of the longer tracks, it grows in pageantry as it swells to the six-minute mark
I found this short film titled ‘Same Ghost Every Night’ by writer/director Darren Anderson. Wolf Parade’s song ‘Fine Young Cannibals’ is playing at the 7:59 mark:
Check out the rest of the videos and photos as well as part 6 of my talk with Dan on the Same Ghost Every Night page.