This week has been really fun. Thank you to all the people that emailed, tweeted, and messaged me. It really means a lot to hear from so many fans. Dan, Arlen, and the rest of the band are grateful to all the fans for keeping the Wolf Parade flame burning. Below you can read Arlen’s thoughts on that year and the recording of their first EP.
1. When was the first time you knew Wolf Parade was officially a band?
It’s weird to say, but I don’t really feel that Wolf Parade was ever officially a band. The project came together so fast & always felt like it was held together with spit & tape. The band always had a feeling that it could be over tomorrow. I think that was one of the things that made it great.
Continue reading Arlen’s answers here
Here are some thoughts from a few people who were in Montreal in 2003. I asked both Sean from Said the Gramophone and Mike Irvine (a friend of the band) to share their memories from that year.
Sean from Said the Gramophone:
I don’t remember exactly the first time I saw Wolf Parade. But it was 2003 and Win from Arcade Fire was convinced he had discovered the best band in the world – he wouldn’t stop talking about these guys who had moved to Montreal from British Columbia, who seemed to epitomize so much of what Win’s band was not. Black-clad and dour, impulsive and surreal and dangerous. Win wanted to play with them, to record with them, to make an EP where the groups covered each other’s songs. I was less infatuated on my first impression – Wolf Parade seemed a little too hectic, a little too noisy, the songs too ramshackle or shredded. But my friend Dan Beirne was instantly smitten, and his enthusiasm – plus Wolf Parade’s exquisite first two EPs – made a champion out of me. Still, I have a clear recollection of the way I originally evaluated the Spencer Krug: “That guy is clearly an asshole,” I thought. It was in the wheeze of his keys, the jerk of his voice, the lay of his mustache. It took another five years to learn he was a sweetheart.
The Weather song was one of my favorite early Spencer songs that they played in their first half dozen shows or so but he decided he no longer liked it and that was that.
I think Dan is understating how shitty things were financially, how hard he worked and how much he had to persevere to get through the shit. He did shitty telemarketing jobs for years to make ends meet. I was always really impressed by his willingness to do whatever it took to get by in a city that is not always super hospitable to us uni-lingual anglos.
On this Thanksgiving day (in America at least) I am thankful for the role music plays in my life, and especially thankful to the band Wolf Parade. I’ve met so many amazing people through my love of this band. I’ve had many great adventures and am forever grateful to this band for their kindness and generosity.
With that being said, here is a gift to all the fans. The first two demos ever recorded! As Dan said in Part 3 of our discussion, two songs were recorded at the Hotel 2 Tango studio in Montreal in the summer of 2003. ‘This Heart’s On Fire’, and an unreleased song Spencer wrote which he called ‘The Weather Song’.
Last night I was reminded by a forum member of this early Sunset Rubdown demo ‘The Weather Can Turn on You’. When I found the video below I sent it to Dan to verify it was the same song which they demoed. He responded with “Yup that’s ‘The Weather Song’. So weird to hear that. That was right when we started. The Wolf Parade version is great.” Then suddenly I got an email from Arlen with the two demo songs attached!
So here you go, the original version of ‘The Weather Song’ and the two NEVER HEARD BEFORE DEMOS!!!
Thanks so much to Arlen for sharing these!!
Here is the final chapter in my discussion with Dan Boeckner about that first year in the life of Wolf Parade:
The success of our first EP is basically all Arlen. He made that EP from scratch and that kind cemented Arlen’s role as not just the drummer in the band, but also great at production and production arrangement. I mean everyone arranged the songs together, but he arranged the effects and production. It was basically recorded on an 8 channel mixing board and a PC. But that’s where Arlen found his voice as the producer guy in the band. We all worked on the production aspect of it but Arlen really knew what he was doing, he had the equipment. He always knew how to work everything. He knew how to put the delay pedal into the auxiliary send of the PA so we could have fancy vocals at practice. He knew how to turn the mixing board on, he knew how to wire the PA. He was that guy. That continued on as we built a studio and re-recorded a bunch of shit for Apologies. He found his role in the band besides being an amazing drummer.
Continue reading Part 4 here
Here are the others parts of our discussion:
The celebration continues with part 3 of my discussion with Dan Boeckner about the first year in the life of Wolf Parade.
We wrote Modern World and Dinner Bells and ended up recording the EP at Spencer’s house and we did some work on it at Arlen’s place. Modern World we used a drum machine on, a version of a Casio SK1 with 3 set drum accompaniment on it. When we would play that song live, Arlen would play the SK1 from behind the kit and basically just press play and do the fills and play keyboards. Spencer would play keyboards and I’d play guitar. So we were basically drum machine, keyboards, synth, and guitar. It was funny to me, when Handsome Furs started, how surprised people where that there was a drum machine and synthesizers on our first record. Wolf Parade, right up until the first record, was predominantly analog synth, guitar, drum machine, and no bass. All the bass were these deep analog bass parts that Spencer was playing with his left hand on the Jupiter.
Continue reading part 3 here
Photo cred:Atlas Strategic Fan Site
The celebratory week continues with the next installment of my talk with Dan Boeckner about the formation of Wolf Parade and their first year as a band.
The original set up of the band was basically Spencer playing a Jupiter 4 keyboard and then a couple of other mini analog synths through these computer speakers and I was playing guitar, and that was it. We had some friends who were like ‘oh you guys are playing music together?’ We were saying we had a band, but we basically had like 6 songs at that point and didn’t have a drummer. That was when this Alex guy (Alex Megelas of Grenadine Records) basically put us on the bill of this show (opening for Melon Galia and Arcade Fire) without telling us. So leading up to this show we were like, ok we need to get a drummer. We both knew Arlen from Victoria. Arlen had been in Montreal for longer than either of us. We had one practice with him and it was great, it was really really good. We had another practice with him and that was that, ok Arlen’s in the band. Two practices and then we played the show. And that’s how the band started.
CONTINUE READING PART 2 HERE
While the actual 10 year anniversary of the birth of Wolf Parade took place earlier this year (March), I have decided to celebrate now. In this week leading up to American Thanksgiving, we give thanks to the band Wolf Parade and celebrate their first year as a band.
In March of 2003, Wolf Parade was born. Each day this week I’ll be posting excerpts from my discussion with Dan Boeckner about that very year, the truth about how the band came to be, and the details surrounding the recording of their first self titled 4 song EP. Hopefully I’ll post thoughts from other surprise sources as well.
We begin at the beginning. In Victoria, British Columbia, Canada…
Spencer and I worked in this kitchen together in Victoria called The Bent Mast. That’s how we kinda met. It was 2001, I was playing in Atlas Strategic, and we had just gotten back from playing an aborted tour with Modest Mouse. 9/11 had just happened and we played 2 or 3 shows and then the rest of the tour got cancelled. I was working in this shit hole with Spencer, this restaurant called The Bent Mast, which was like a pub with pretty awful food and Spencer was working there. Spencer and a couple of his friends from the interior BC (Spencer’s hometown being Penticton, British Columbia) Jeff Allport who played drums in Atlas Strategic, and Kenny Ru. Jeff and Spencer were in a ska band (Two Tonne Bowlers) together. So Spencer was part of this group of kids who grew up together and he was playing in Frog Eyes with Carey Mercer, and we got to be friends. I think Frog Eyes played a few shows with Atlas Strategic. Then Spencer moved to Montreal. I think Atlas Strategic played his going away party. I moved out to Montreal shortly after him. I think he’d been there for like 8 months or something. I had kinda had it with Victoria, my mom had passed away so I just moved out to Montreal. As soon as I got there Spencer and I started hanging out and we decided we should start playing music together.
Stay tuned throughout this week for more from Dan about the beginning of Wolf Parade!!
Last week I was sent the above flyer and was told Dan Boeckner would be performing in San Jose. That show turned out to be the very first performance of Dan’s new project, Operators. A friend of mine, Jesse Feutz, was there and sent me this review:
Operators at San Jose Rock Shop, 11-1-2013
Mind the light rail, and downtown San Jose is the ideal location for a show. 2/3 local band Operators played their first show at the all-ages Rock Shop last Friday. Getting the audience moving was San Jose’s Momotaro. With nothing to prove, they rocked the venue like it was underground in ’85. A little after 10, Operators sheepishly took the stage.
Within a measure of the first song, the band’s trademark tactics -hypnotic keyboard swells and stop-and-go percussion – lent the preferred platform for an all out dance party that even Mick Jagger would’ve marveled at. This was all a silhouette of the pointed, classic vocals of Dan Boeckner (Dan Boeckner is in a new band everybody!). Although this night he was accompanied by a vocal pedal, of which he humbly bragged is marketed towards 12 year old girls, creating a chord-like structure to his voice. A young veteran of the industry, Dan has an ingenious style of writing perfect pop songs, ones that I find myself singing along to by the second chorus. With tons of friends and family filling the dark, pocket of a venue, the girl in the band seemed to conduct the show. If she was nervous, she sure did a good job hiding it. Her ability to play keys, cue parts, sing spot on harmony, was incredible. All while holding the band together like they were on a reunion tour.
One of the best parts of the show were the live drums. Few are more reliable for this role than Divine Fits’ Sam Brown. Flying in for the show and a day or two of after partying, Sam rocked a beat so memorizing that even I took my eyes off of Dan for a few seconds. The only thing I saw break his concentration were the usual shouts of “I love you Sam” from the audience in between songs. The set was short, seven or eight songs. I’m assuming that as soon as they write more, they will play more. With this prolific trio, I don’t think we will have to wait too long.
This Saturday 11/09 Moonface will perform at Le Possion Rouge in New York City. His set will be streamed live!! Tune in above at 7:30pm EST!
Moonface will play the Masonic Lodge at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on November 20th!
The Hollywood Forever Cemetery’s twitter account states the following:
Moonface + Very Special Guest will perform in the Masonic Lodge at HF on 11.20.2013!
Wonder who that will be!
Tickets are $25 and on sale now through through Ticketfly.
Spencer performed a sold out show tonight in London at St Pancras Old Church, thus beginning his world tour for ‘Julia With Blue Jeans On’. Tickets are on sale now for all upcoming Moonface shows:
11-03 – St. Pancras Old Church – London, UK – SOLD OUT
11-05 – Chopin Theatre – Chicago, USA
11-08 – Underground Arts, Philadelphia, USA *
11-09 – Le Poisson Rouge, New York, USA
11-16 – Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre, Vancouver + sold out
11-17 – Columbia City Theatre, Seattle, USA
11-19 – Cafe du Nord – San Francisco, USA
11-20 – Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery – Los Angeles
11-27 – Stuk, Leuven, Belgium $
11-28 – Les Trois Baudet, Paris, France
12-01 – Le Guess Who? festival, Utrecht, The Netherlands
12-07 – Jinbocho audition room – Tokyo, Japan
12-08 – Hara-Mura – Nagano, Japan
12-10 – Urbanguild – Kyoto, Japan
12-10 – K.D. Japon – Nagoya, Japan
01-27-14 – Royal Albert Hall – Elgar Room – London, UK
+ Opening for Hello Blue Roses (Dan Bejar and Sydney Vermont)
* with Saltland
$ with Superhumanoids