As told to me by Dan Boeckner:
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.
My favorite memory for that first year as a band was when we played at Casa del Popolo for the first time, it was our second show ever. It was really really hot and sweaty and I just remember being on stage with those guys and being like, this band fucking rules. There was a feeling that I got with the band that I hadn’t had with any other bands before. Which was that even though things were constantly fucked up with Wolf Parade at those shows in the beginning. I felt like there were those brief moments in the set when everything would lock together and I felt like we were making something that nobody else had been doing. Nobody in town was making music like that, and we were doing our own thing, and it felt good. When you just get swept up in a section of a song and everything is just working and you’re connecting with the audience. I felt like it was a dangerous band too. Everybody was really intense on stage. Not in an aggressive way, but I felt the band was dangerous. Sonically, and the way we performed, and how much energy we put into what we were doing. When it all locked together I felt like we were holding the audience hostage. If we really nailed the end of Dinner Bells, I felt like we were holding their attention hostage. If they could hear the lyrics, then hopefully holding their hearts hostage too. We didn’t have anything to loose. It was pretty unhinged. Everybody was playing as hard as they could, just tearing into things. There wasn’t a lot of subtlety to the way things were being played or brought across. Maybe that’s because we weren’t the good musicians that we are now. But, there is something special about that. That feeling is something I think that has just been a constant in stuff that I’ve done every year since then, and stuff that Spencer’s done every year since then and stuff Wolf Parade did. I guess that’s it, we figured out our sound, which maybe morphed over time. It was that feeling of unhingedness, that things could go off the rails at any moment. That’s when we figured that out. We were constantly teetering on the brink of disaster. I wouldn’t have it any other way, that’s the way to make music. You gotta take risks.