[kj] Sam Roberts talks about working with Youth @ El Mirador
kjlist at live.com
Thu Feb 6 16:27:27 EST 2014
They're touring the US in March and the album is pretty good; Youth makes then sound like the Stone Roses on fewer drugs or the Happy Mondays without Bez.
To: gathering at misera.net
From: jpwhkj at aol.com
Date: Thu, 6 Feb 2014 15:04:38 -0500
Subject: Re: [kj] Sam Roberts talks about working with Youth @ El Mirador
Cool. Thanks for posting.
From: Rheinhold Squeegee <kjlist at live.com>
To: Gathering Gathering <gathering at misera.net>
Sent: Thu, 6 Feb 2014 16:04
Subject: [kj] Sam Roberts talks about working with Youth @ El Mirador
Sam Roberts gets his dance shoes on for Lo-Fantasy
As they were putting the finishing touches on their latest disc,
Lo-Fantasy, Montreal rockers the Sam Roberts Band found themselves in
the perfect place.
It turns out the house/techno remixes of Lo-Fantasy’s songs were put
together at Spain’s El Mirador, The Hobbit-like studios of the album’s
British producer Youth (a.k.a. Martin Glover, founding member of
post-punk act Killing Joke).
“He’s got this place - it’s incredible - but only he would do this,”
said Roberts, 39, who plays record release parties at Toronto’s
Adelaide Hall and Montreal’s Lion D’or on Feb. 13 and 15, respectively.
“I would do it if I had the courage to do it but he actually does
this without thinking. He built his home, his studio, based on drawings
of Rivendell and parts of Hobbiton, parts of the Shire, from the Lord of
the Rings. It was literally a Hobbit hole. It had a circular door that
sort of slid in, it was all in this big mound with grass growing on the
The eponymous lead singer and bandmate Dave Nugent had to drive up a winding road into the mountains to get there.
“We get to this place and it’s hard to imagine what you’re looking
at. All of the orchards sort of fall away down this cliffside. There
were no elves or hobbits. I was the only hobbit there. But it was a
vibe. ... It was my dream come true. I spent my entire teenage years up
to my eyeballs in Lord of the Rings. I spent more time in Middle Earth
than I did here, that’s for sure. I’m a nerd.”
We caught up with Roberts in a downtown private-members Toronto club
recently to talk about collaborating with the legendary Youth on the
band’s fifth studio release.
Had Youth heard of Sam Roberts Band when he got your demos?
No, not at all, not from a hole in the wall. This was completely
blank slate he was literally just reacting to the music in front of him.
And what was it about Youth that you liked?
(Producing The Verve’s) Urban Hymns that, for me, stood out. I mean
he made a lot of good records, Crowded House records too. And the fact
that he played in Killing Joke. The fact that he also plays the bass in a
band with Paul McCartney. If you play bass in a band with Paul
McCartney then there’s got to be something good going on.
His group of peers must have figured too given your Stone Roses-like breakthrough song Brother Down over a decade ago?
He grew involved in the music that is basically why we started a
band, anywhere from Joy Division to the Happy Mondays to Primal Scream
to Stone Roses and he was there and he was in the mix for that so he got
those references right away. There was a very sort of electronic slant
to this thing and that’s nothing new. That’s just coming back to what
(our music) was doing before we made a few rock and roll records and got
some songs on the radio. I would sit around making house music on my
four-track at home. And that’s what I was into. So he had a real
understanding of the full palette and could bring it together. And I
think they’ve been buried in previous records and allowed to come out
and shine brighter here.
What was that first meeting with him like?
He came to Montreal in the dead of winter (in February 2013) and just
turned the band on its ear. He’s tough in a Zen like way, which is the
toughest of all. It’s like Kung Fu, like a Shaolin Monk, the toughest
people in the world. But he’s disarmingly relaxed. He never shouts. He
was devastatingly direct.
Did he enjoy Canada in the winter?
It’s February. It’s the shi--iest possible conditions. We don’t need a
polar vortex for it to be like this (sub-zero temperatures) in
Montreal. So he comes and he’s like, ‘What is this Godforsaken place?’
He’s smoking his first cigarette of which he smokes a lot and he’s like,
‘This isn’t going to work!’ So half of the problem was figuring out how
he could smoke in his hotel room and get away with it. I became a
MacGyver. We tampered with his smoke detector. Anyways, it was very
illegal. He takes great offence to his rights as a smoker being
I read that you knew you were on the right path if you got him dancing?
It would start slowly with the toe tap. But then it got into a full
rainbird dance, it was quite an elaborate thing. And he really got into
it. And that drove us forward. We knew that if we didn’t get him dancing
then we probably had to rethink what we were doing.
Would you make another record with him?
It was musically, very, very challenging for our band not used to
thinking on our feet. You play a show, you play the same songs a
thousand times, and you do it by muscle memory and here we are actually
training ourselves to interpret on the spot, on the fly. So then he came
back in May, he went off and toured with Killing Joke, then we
reconvened in a studio about five minutes away from where I live. I rode
my bike in the mornings. And we’d just say, ‘Today, this is the song
we’re doing.’ We set up live off the floor and we just recorded.
And you did it all in 12 days? Why the rush?
He was going to record the Dalai Lama. I’m not kidding you. That’s
what he was going to do. He was going to do some recording with Tibetan
Monks in Nepal or wherever it was.
Lo-Fantasy will be released Tuesday, Feb. 11.
Sam Roberts Band 2014 Canadian tour dates:
FEB 13 ADELAIDE HALL TORONTO
FEB15 LION D’OR MONTREAL
MAR 1 IMPERIAL DE QUEBEC QUEBEC CITY
APR 11 THE STUBBORN MULE SARNIA, ONT
APR 12 HAMILTON PLACE STUDIO HAMILTON, ONT
AUG 8-10 SQUAMISH MUSIC FESTIVAL SQUAMISH, BC
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