Hi there, where are you today and is the sun shining?
Montreal and no the sun is not shining. A little wet and dreary, but being from Nova Scotia I was getting worried about the 2 weeks of straight sunshine and 36 Celsius temperatures that came before this day, so it comes as a relief.
Fifth (?) album, do you still feel as ‘fresh as daises’ being in this business?
Haha! I don't know if daisies would be the metaphor I would associate most within the plant kingdom. I've always though of us as more of a tough shrub. I guess we're still learning lots of things and having fun as we go along though, so there is an element of "freshness" either way.
What do you think are the major changes on ‘Hello Hum’ and where did the album title come from?
I think perhaps the most noticeable difference is the Fridmann mix, which is quite a lot more psychedelic than our previous records, and stranger, & just immense & sort of its own universe. A very significant difference maker too was the collaboration this time around with Dave Fridmann & Tony Doogan on the production side. We had a lot more home time with this record, when we were working on it in the initial song writing stages, as well as extra time actually recording and mixing it. I think there is something a little more comfortable about it, or "fleshed out" about it, probably due to all those aspects.
You grew up on the East Coast, not in the big Cities so, how did you get inspired to start a band?
I’ve always thought of small towns in the middle of nowhere, far away from big cities, as fertile grounds for starting a band. You can either look at it as being a place to work with no distractions, or perhaps more cynically, a place in which there is not much else to do. All my friends were into music, and all my brothers were into music. And it was just a natural pathway into starting something like a band. I remember my brother Jon coming home with a guitar when I was 12 or 13, and a few months later showing me a recording he and his friends made, and that was it. I was in awe: You can do that? Just write some little thing on that guitar and bring it to your friends, and they add parts to it, and it becomes this completely other thing. So yeah, I found myself some friends and it went from there.
What albums did you swap among friends during your School / College days and do you still play those albums today?
Afghan Whigs "Gentleman"!! Eric's Trip "Love Tara". Nirvana "Nevermind" & "In Utero". Mudhoney. Sonic Youth. Melvins. Kyuss Sky Valley!!! Soundgarden Louder Than Love!! I even loved me some Tool too in high school. Radiohead, Do Make Say Think, Low & Mogwai dominated the charts of my brain in my early 20s. I still like all of it. Some of it is more when I’m in a sillier mood at this point in my life, but I like it all definitely.
I believe the new record was recorded in upstate New York which can be a remote location, how did that come about?
That is where Dave works from. It is his studio. His hometown. It was great doing it there. No distractions. Wake up, grab a coffee, play badminton, shower, and start recording. Perfect.
In hindsight was your Juno award a positive for your career as a band?
Yes. It gave us a great boost right when we started touring “Welcome to the Night Sky”. Along with the radio play, it introduced us to a broader audience in Canada.
As we come out of the Olympics bubble in the U.K., how do you keep fit on the road?
I'm a synchro diver during off time. Loel has a mean javelin throw regiment. Tim is an avid pole vaulter. Jon is our pommel horse pro. Mike runs 100 meter hurdles upon waking every day. Very fit batch of lads. On the road a steady diet of beer, but we are in such good shape because of the off time prep. What am I talking about? Pret a manger is a friggin life saver on tour!! Congratulations on the well hosted Olympics by the way. It was a blast to watch & contemplate our own mid-life athletic shortcomings.
The band were hand picked by Paul McCartney to be one of two acts to open for him a while back...how did that happen and how was the show?
I think we were submitted with a bunch of bands. In all honesty, I'm not sure why he decided to go with us. Halifax is where we started, so he was probably just being the considerate person he is known to be; picking the local band. It's crazy to think about that. Whatever his reasons were: everyone’s mom is still giddy that we got to shake hands with a Beatle. Incredible experience!
U.K. dates on the horizon, what are you most looking forward to when visiting our shores?
We love touring in the UK. So much to explore wherever you go. I want to go to the British Library again. They had a great Milton display there last time. Also these really amazing recordings of James Joyce that I could listen to for hours. It is right by where we usually stay, a few blocks away from King’s Cross. Other than that- Indian food. Tony Doogan. Fish n' Chips… Our friend Stacy. Chips N' curry. Whiskey. Deep fried mars bars (here's looking at you Glasgow). Cobblestone streets.
Questions from Pete & our Toronto correspondent, Jim.
Wintersleep’s new album, Hello Hum, which will be released on 01October
The band also have a UK tour in October
2nd London Bush Hall
3rd Birmingham Hare & Hounds (venue 2)
4th Glasgow Nice N Sleazy's
5th DublinAcademy 2
6th Belfast Limelight
7th Manchester Deaf Institute
A free download of 'RESUSCITATE' available via the band’s website