Canadian Musician - September/October 2017 - Page 36

Eventually it felt right to begin recording – whatever that really means, consider- ing most of the album gets written and arranged in the studio anyway. In reality, whenever the majority of the 15 or so band members are available, that is when it is time to record. “When you’re a group like us and there’s a lot of moving targets and everyone’s got their own endeavours at this point, but, you know, you still have to respect the mothership, as I often say,” Canning offers. And so the band headed to The Bathouse Recording Studio in Bath, ON. Drew in particular was very familiar with the Bathouse as he’d recently worked there co-producing The Tragically Hip’s final album, Man Machine Poem, as well as Gord Downie’s JUNO-winning and Polaris-nominated Secret Path. “Kevin and Dave Hamelin, they became their own team on the production side and he was really comfortable and had a good rela- tionship out there with [house engineer] Nyles Spencer and when Joe came in, it just became like a dream team, especially with Shawn Everett on the mixing side of things, too. Like, let’s just put together a good team and hopefully you don’t fuck it up and you’re inspired enough to write decent tunes,” Canning says. As is often the case, much of Hug of Thunder was written in the studio and stems from jams born in either the studio or in Spearin’s rehearsal space. Of the 12 tracks on the album, the song that came most fully-formed was “Skyline.” It’s a simple but standout track written by Drew with only one lyric: “Skyline waits for the world/ Skyline waits for the fall/But you shouldn’t have come at all/Because I know/You’re never gonna be that way.” Yet, with beau- tiful melodies driven by an up-tempo acoustic guitar, a descending keyboard part, Amy Millan’s harmonies, and dream- like production, it’s an easy song to get lost in when listening on headphones. “Kevin was playing some stuff that didn’t make his previous solo record. We listened to a few songs, like, ‘Oh yeah, that sounds cool,’ and then he got to ‘Skyline’ and we’re like, ‘Oh! What’s that one? Why aren’t we focusing on that one?’” recalls Canning. “Because our producer, Joe, had really been pushing another one of Kev’s and we sort of both, Justin and I, said, ‘No, that’s the one.’ But then, you know, it goes through the Social Scene machine.” 36 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N “it’s making music that lots of people loved and it’s also how you make a living, too. So you’ve got to think about it in terms of being responsible to your audience and being re- sponsible to yourself and you have responsibility that you just can’t take lightly.” The “Social Scene machine,” as Can- ning puts it, is the process of everyone chipping in with suggestions and ideas. Every song is subjected to it, which means every song has multiple writers credited. This is true, too, of the title track, “Hug of Thunder,” which many critics have identi- fied as the record’s high point and often mistakenly attribute solely to Feist; howev- er, as she told Stereogum, while she wrote the lyrics and melody and contributed her first lead vocal on a BSS song since 2006, like every BSS tune, it was the product of a communal process. “As we were working on it for the first half hour, in the back of my mind, I thought, ‘Oh man, this is less Broken and more me; this shouldn’t be a part of this record,’” she admitted. “But we were all in the same room and Brendan Canning just started to play a bass line just to shake us up. Then I started to improvise. Andrew Whiteman added a drum beat. Next thing you know, Charles is improvis- ing, too. We all caught that momentum and played for 15 minutes. When we were done, Kevin – who had been sleeping on the couch – woke up and was fist pump- ing, yelling ‘Record that!’” Ego, one would think, should be an issue. There are more than a dozen band mem- bers, and many of them come back to a Broken Social Scene after long stretches as the leaders of their own lauded projects. Despite this, “everyone is really cool when it comes to ego stuff,” Canning insists. “You have to realize the kind of band it is and try not to get too married to something. At the )ͅѥԁٔѼЁȁͽѡ)ԁٔԁٔѼչх)ѡɔ́Ѽ́͠ձt)ѥՕ̸q1ԁЁٔ)ȁ́ȁͽѥձȁѡ)Ёͽ͔́Ёɕɽ)ͽѥ́׊eٔЁѼѕ)ͅ䰃a]'eͅѥ͙Ё'e)Ѽ͕ЁЁѼѡ͕ݡЁ)̻gt)%ѡ́ɕɐ Ʌ͕́ ɕ)ȁ9展́MȁȁѡȁѼ)ѡչݥ䁝ɽѥѡȁ)́ɕѱѡѼ͡q9展)ݽձѕѡѕȵ́ݡ)剔͵ЁݕLԁ)ѡݕ̃Lѡ́$ݽձ