“We Built Another World” is about this time she and I went to a Halloween party and got thrown out for breakdancing. And also fighting with some people. We were super-drunk and on this street laughing, and it started snowing. It was the first snow I’d ever seen in Montreal. And we ended up in the back of this cab just making out.
Listen to this early version from EP 2, which you can purchase from Cheap Thrills
Oh my god man, I mean just listen to “We Built a Another World”. That’s the track that’s about how awful it is go out at night to parties, but how you’ve got to because that’s the only place you can exist on your own terms. There’s a feeling of being trapped there, a feeling that you could call Springsteen-ian if you wanted, of poetry and romanticism, but the two meet each other and never resolve. “I had a bad, bad time tonight” goes the chorus. There’s such a footstomping beat to its chorus, its determination whim the low “whoa whoa”s that you can’t help sing along. The catchiest part of the song is the part where you can’t give up on what you’ve built.
A selection of Part 4 from my talk with Dan about the recording of Apologies:
After the CBC Radio 3 session Spencer and I flew down to Los Angeles to listen to mixes and mix with Chris Chandler and Isaac. I remember Issac had done a pretty great job mixing and Chris was backing him up. But we went to LA and we just didn’t like the mixes. They were very polished. Isaac had just come out of making Good News for People Who Like Bad News. Issac had never worked in a pop studio format before and I think he had to do all sorts of stuff he’d never done before. Like tons of vocal comping and having 4 pro tools set ups running at the same time. So he was in that mindset, with vocals way up front, like everything being really clean. I remember that being the biggest problem we had with the original mixes.
Here’s part of the incredible story of how the title of the record came to be, as told by Hadji Bakara in a 2006 interview:
The Queen Mary was basically the nexus and the sleeping quarters for everyone who was playing All Tomorrow’s Parties and the bar closed really early. I mean it was literally a boatload of musicians and the bar shut down at like midnight or something. Our friends from Frog Eyes were also in town, so they came down. Whenever closing time was, I don’t really remember, but at some point we eventually got kicked out of the bar. Security on the Queen Mary was nice enough, though, to unlock a door that got us onto this area of the boat that was usually restricted and told us that we could make as much noise as we wanted because we wouldn’t disturb anyone.
You can read the rest of the story and my conversation with Dan, as well as David Grossman’s essay at the main page for We Built Another World.
Track 3 from Apologies to the Queen Mary is Grounds for Divorce.
Here’s a selection from Part 3 of my talk with Dan Boeckner. You can read all of Part 3 plus fan videos and quotes on the Grounds For Divorce page.
We went up to Vancouver after the session (in Portland). The session had been pretty hard on everybody. I remember Hadji almost quit during it. It was fun and productive, to a point. We were a new band and we had never been in that kind of environment before. The only recording I’d ever done was at this studio in Victoria where they did Dayglo Abortions (Canadian punk band) records. That’s where all the Atlas Strategic stuff was recorded. And that was in this guy’s basement. So we had never been in a pro studio environment. It’s our debut record right, so there’s considerable amount of stress on the whole process and on us. Also the fact that we were totally fucking broke and stranded in Portland. We drove up to Vancouver Island and went our separate ways after the CBC Radio 3 session. I remember having to abandon our van on the way there because it was falling apart.
Spencer describes what the song is about in this 2005 interview:
‘Grounds for Divorce’ is just about breaking up. The divorce is symbolic, it’s not a real divorce. It’s more like two people, one is like “glass is half full”, the other doesn’t think so. You’re with someone long enough and you think ‘oh, we might get married,’ which is just a random thought you have when you’re with anyone; some days it looks like you will, and some days it looks like you won’t. So that’s where the divorce bit comes in, it’s not super deep, just playing with what’s already imaginary. That particular line, the whale thing, comes from this time when this person I was with was like ‘I fucking hate the sound of city buses screeching’ and I said ‘Just pretend they’re giant whales, floating around the city, singing to each other’ and she was like ‘That’s stupid.’
Listen this version from EP 2, which you can purchase from Cheap Thrills
This fan made video is so great!
Check out the Grounds For Divorce page to read all of Part 3 of my talk with Dan and for a bunch of great quotes and tweets of love for this amazing track!
Track 2 from Apologies To The Queen Mary is Modern World
Here’s a selection from Part 2 of my conversation with Dan Boeckner. You can read all of Part 2 plus check out fan submissions/art on the Modern World page here.
I was the closest to Isaac and what I didn’t realize is that he had never really made a record before with another band that wasn’t Modest Mouse. He was good, he had Chris Chandler there doing all the technical stuff and fixing engineering issues. He really pushed the band in a good direction with a lot of the songs. I think ‘…Father’s Son’ would not exist, and I don’t know maybe Spencer would disagree, if Isaac wasn’t at that session recording the drums and making us play this beat over and over again. The sound that Isaac was trying to create for us was something that we didn’t think we were capable of. We didn’t have a bass player and our pallet was always the Jupiter keyboard playing bass, and this sort of shrill guitar. I always had to play high leads to kinda cut through the sonic murk. Arlen just wailing away on the drums, with Hadji kinda fitting in wherever he could. So when we wrote songs that was our canvas. Going in and doing something like ‘Modern World’, for instance, acoustically, I don’t think that would have happened had Isaac not been involved in the process.
Listen to the very first version of Modern World from EP1!
Here’s the official video created by Adam Bizanski:
Quotes from Twitter
i'm inclined to believe that Wolf Parade's "Modern World" is the greatest song ever written.
And so it begins. The next 12 days I’ll be posting a track a day (in order) from Wolf Parade’s critically acclaimed first record ‘Apologies To The Queen Mary’.
Track 1 – You Are A Runner And I Am My Father’s Son Lyrics
I spoke with Dan Boeckner recently about the genesis of the record, including the recording process in Portland, Oregon with Isaac Brock and the later sessions in Montreal. I’ll be posting parts of our conversation each day so stay tuned! Here’s some of part 1, you can read more here
The (first recording) session we did was 2 weeks to get everything done. But I also remember it being really really compressed for the vocal days cause basically we had taken a lot of time doing bed tracks and then we had gone over budget on the record. It was kinda a shit show, that whole recording session. We went over budget on the record, and it was crunch time. Isaac basically told me we had one maybe two sessions to do all the vocals. So I cut all the vocals for the record in one day. And that was pretty intense. I didn’t really know how to pace myself and my voice was already pretty blown out. I basically destroyed my voice by the time that session was over. It was pretty intense.
Below is just a small amount of submissions that were sent to me/that I found.
In July of 2005, Spencer Krug released his first solo record under the moniker ‘Sunset Rubdown’. The record, Snake’s Got A Leg, is a collection of low-fi tracks that Spencer recorded himself. Released by Global Symphonic, you can still purchase this record from either iTunes or from Absolutely Kosher records
The quote on Absolutely Kosher’s page says:
The “what was I thinking when I ignored this when it was released” debut from Montreal’s Spencer Krug, also of Frog Eyes and Wolf Parade. Rough and uncompromising, but gorgeous. Hell, it got our attention. On Global Symphonic.
I seriously could not agree more!!
Some facts on this record are that Spencer drew the cover art himself. From wiki:
Most of the material on this album was recorded by Spencer Krug using a cheap microphone connected to a standard PC in his bedroom. The songs were compiled from five different EPs, each in a different genre.
01 – The Dust that You Kick Up is Too Fine
02 – Snake’s Got a Leg
03 – I’ll Believe in Anything, You’ll Believe in Anything
04 – Hey You Handsome Vulture
05 – Hope You Don’t Stoop To Dirty Words
06 – Hope You Don’t Stoop To Dirty Words II
07 – Cecil’s Bells
08 – I Know the Weight of Your Throat
09 – Sol’s Song
10 – Stadiums and Shrines
11 – Snakes Got a Leg II
12 – Portrait of a Shiny Metal Boy
Check out Spencer’s solo version of ‘I’ll Believe in Anything’:
As many of you know Sunday September 27th is the 10 year anniversary of the release of Apologies To The Queen Mary.
To celebrate, I’ll be posting here for 12 days leading up to the anniversary. Each day will be about each track on the record.
Starting Tuesday September 15th I’ll be posting fan art, covers, photos, writing, and videos. Basically anything that is inspired by the track of the day. It can even just be why you love that song, what your own personal attachment is to that song, or memories that you have of that song or seeing the band live.
All submissions and questions can be sent to WolfParadeFans@gmail.com
Submissions should be sent in by Sunday September 13th. Everyone’s submissions will be posted here, and I’ll be tweeting and instagramming them as well with all artists tagged and linked.
So here is the breakdown by day:
9-15 – You Are A Runner And I Am My Father’s Son
9-16 – Modern World
9-17 – Grounds For Divorce
9-18 – We Built Another World
9-19 – Fancy Claps
9-20 – Same Ghost Every Night
9-21 – Shine A Light
9-22 – Dear Sons And Daughters of Hungry Ghosts
9-23 – I’ll Believe In Anything
9-24 – It’s A Curse
9-25 – Dinner Bells
9-26 – This Heart’s On Fire
For those of you that don’t know, Dan wrote an original song called Floating World for the movie Adult World. The movie was directed by Scott Coffey who also directed the Handsome Furs video for ‘What About Us’ as well as Wolf Parade’s ‘Yulia’. The movie is soundtracked by many Handsome Furs songs and is currently available on Showtime in the US and to download from iTunes and Amazon Instant Video
Many people have emailed me asking for where to find the soundtrack. Sadly it was not released officially. Thankfully someone ripped ‘Floating World’ from the movie: