Canadian Musician - September/October 2017 - Page 35

rendan Canning seems a bit re- lieved. After chatting for an hour from his home in Toronto, I offer a last, sincere compliment of his band’s latest record, Hug of Thun- der – their first in seven years. “I do mean it when I say it would’ve been a real fucking drag if the record got met with a bunch of in-between-ness.” There was a lot of anticipation for Broken Social Scene’s new record, and an- ticipation can be a curse. Think of Weezer’s second album, Pinkerton, which followed the instantly-classic Blue Album. “In-be- tween-ness” is exactly what Pinkerton was met with and it took a decade or more for fans and critics to reassess its worth and deem it a great album. Broken Social Scene has had to deal with that of type of raised anticipation and expectations since releasing its own classic album, You Forgot It in People, in 2002. But on top of that, BSS has been ret- roactively categorized as a “supergroup” as its dozen-plus members pursued their own side projects, some of which equaled or eclipsed BSS in acclaim and sales. That creates a weird type of anticipation. When once a new BSS record only had to compete with past BSS records, now it’s compared to albums by Feist, Metric, Stars, Jason Collett, and other offshoots of the collective. “We needed everyone to make this record. It just wouldn’t seem right to come back with a Broken Social Scene record and then not have Amy Millan on it or Leslie Feist or John Crossingham or any- one, you know?” says Canning, who, along with Kevin Drew, is generally considered a co-ringleader of the group. “So what constitutes Broken Social Scene? I mean, anything. I suppose we’ve been able to do whatever needs doing and have kept it this loose collective. I mean, it keeps on getting referred to as a loose collective, but it operates like a band. There’s a core band and then we’re fortunate enough to have some extra members kicking around every now and then when they’re not touring with their own groups, whether it’s Feist or Metric or Stars.” B In 2015, five years after the release of For- giveness Rock Record, the seeds of Hug of Thunder were planted. That, too, was sup- posed to be an inactive year for BSS, but then Passion Pit cancelled their scheduled performance at the WayHome Festival in Oro-Medonte, ON, and BSS was called in. Within a week or so, they were also a last-minute addition to the Pemberton Mu- sic Festival in B.C. “Very eleventh hour phone calls came in to do those festivals; 2015 was going to be a dead year for us but the calls came in so we leapt into action, I guess,” recalls Canning. “After those festivals, like five of us got together, which is Justin [Peroff ], Andrew [Whiteman], Charles [Spearin], Kev- in, and myself. We’ve been there since the beginning and then Sam [Goldberg Jr.], he joined in 2007, but for the initial conversa- tion, the five of us were batting around the idea.” Initial jams with the five core members took place in Spearin’s garage-turned-re- hearsal space in the fall of 2015. “We’d set the phones up to the amplifiers once we had an idea together and everyone would press ‘play’ at the same time and Charles would mix them all. He would mix our dem- os, so we would have these decent-sound- ing demos that were recorded on Voice Memo on the good old iPhone,” Canning explains. “Charles really helped wrangle some of the initial ideas that could’ve eas- ily slipped through the cracks if someone wasn’t being diligent. So he plays a real instrumental role in that regard and we’d all have something to listen to and we’d chime in on what we liked about this or that. But it was still really just to get the juices flowing and sort of remind ourselves that, yes, we are a band and we are able to write songs and write arrangements and sort of take it from there.” “I think we’re just in a better place. Me personally, I was definitely in a much better place, like mentally and emo- tionally, making this record and sort of got back to the idea of when we were making You Forgot It in PEOPLE.” Thr VvWBFW6RfW'V&ǒ7FvW2w&Цגvr&GV6W"BVvVW"P666&Vƒv2f6RbV6W&vVVBFR&GV6W"( 2v2v&VBvFWfW'Rg&FR&VRvVW2FFRvFP7G&W22&V&&RfW"FV6FP6&VW"( 2v2'&VvBFFRfB'G&WpBFR&N( 2f&W"vW"Vfg&W&VVF2v2r&W6FVBB4TbVfW'6W626F( ĒF( BrbBv2VfbvW@WvFR2vVW2"&PWfWBWvF( B7W&RbFP&FW"'WBFVR6RFFv@VrWBvF6&W2BB7GVǐ7VvFR&RF#V'2vvVגf'7B&Bv2rf"&ЦGV6W"6N( 2gVvVWBv0ƖR( VvR7GVǒWBN( 'W@FN( 2BbFRR7F'BrP6R( 6r&VV&W'2g&FW&R666&VƒvVBW&F6ǒ6RFFЧ&FF6V6FR&N( 2&w&W72"6FW&Vb( v^( BfRFW6R6fW'6ЧF2vFR6r( vVRv^( &R&@b6rfrG&( ^( B6( VvBFF( B&VƗRr6rRwW2vW&R( ХFW&Rv2WfW"VBvW&PFWff6ǒw&VVBFB666&VƒvV@&GV6RFRWB'VӲB6'BbWffV@&v6ǒB&WG&7V7B6p62666&Vƒv2&GV6rWfV&Vf&PFrv2w&GFV"66VGVVB( ĆPv2ƗFW&ǒ6֖rFFvBwVW70BFBBRv27Fr2&GV6W &V6W6RRv2FRRv6B( vF( BRW7B6WBW'&VF( 2Ɨfp&( B6&W2BBbVB@V6FW"B6B( VFN( 2v@FV( &V6W6RBv2vFW"B&PRF( BvBF&Rv&vR( Ф2BR22( "3P