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record so Sheenah was playing that when we did some live shows, and she also started being a full time keyboard player with us. Robbie had played with us a few years ago at the Contemporary Art Gallery in Montreal when we had a show there, and we needed an extra guitarist. Your music is very complex and uses a broad range of instruments, so how do you deal with that in your live shows? Tat’s a tricky thing, ha ha! Tis current line up is pretty much the most accurate representation of us trying to get everything on record translated live. Sometimes we might play a guitar part on a keyboard or vice versa. Having Robbie and Sheenah on board is a great help as they really bolster things up live. We have some samples and things that we use, but we never want to play to a click track as we feel that takes the fun out of playing live. So we have to interpret things a little but that makes it fun for us and we enjoy doing it. What’s the scene like in Montreal? Tere’s a whole bunch of universities here so there are lots of kids coming up who start bands here. I own a studio and the fact that it hasn’t gone bankrupt yet is testament to the fact that there are still bands who come to Montreal to play! It’s a cool place to make music with a pretty relaxed scene, it’s pretty inexpensive and people are supportive of art and music. I read that with your first couple of albums you wanted to close yourselves off from the outside world and write without distractions, and I know you love Besnard Lakes (the place) as it’s pretty remote. I know you were then nominated for the Polaris Music Prize. Your music is clearly very personal to you and to you and Olga as a couple – did it make you feel uncomfortable to be in the spotlight with this intimate music? Olga has always struggled with having the music we make be so personal and that

have it go out into the world and become the public’s music. You know, it is kind of what happens – after you’ve made a record you just have to let go of it. It took a few years for us to understand that we make the record for ourselves only whilst we’ll making it but once it’s released it’s not ours anymore and we have to be OK with that. We’re doing this just for ourselves – we do want people to listen to it, enjoy it and get the same excitement from it that we do, we want to share that with people. It was a necessary evil that we had to confront and I think a lot of musicians feel that way, sometimes not in a very positive way. You get used to it though. I love the cover designs for your LP’s and EP’s. How do you go about choosing how your music is going to be packaged? Well we have a painter who did three of our covers - we get together and have dinner and discuss our ideas on what the album cover should be. She takes those ideas and goes home and paints it. For our most recent album, however, she was doing her Masters and didn’t have time to do any painting, so one of my oldest friends who discovered the actual Besnard Lakes with me when I was in my early 20’s, he’s an artist now and he said he’d love to do a cover for us. He gave us a few options and when I saw one of them I knew it was the one. So it was really cool to have him be part of the album and it to be one of my best friends Tat album, your fifth, A Coliseum Complex Museum came out last year inspired by a forest fire camping experience at the actual Besnard Lakes. Where does the title come from? It comes from a road sign we saw in Texas. It was a tourist sign that had ‘Coliseum’ pointing one way, ‘Complex’, pointing another and ‘Museum’ in a third direction. I read it as ‘Coliseum Complex Museum’ and just thought that’s where I’d like to go, it sounds amazing! So I wrote it down and we decided to go with it. How would you say your sound has developed since

your previous album Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO? We really laboured over UFO’s arrangements and spent a lot of time in the studio. But with A Coliseum Complex Museum we recorded it a lot at home and also at Besnard Lakes, we kept it pretty raw and kept many of the first takes in there, kind of in the same spirit as we did with Dark Horse, one of our early records. When we were developing these songs we didn’t want to be working for ages in the studio with them, we wanted to have them pretty much finished by the time we went in. I know you collect 60’s and 70’s vinyl. What would you say are some of your favourite albums from that period and to what extent have they influenced your music? Tat’s really tough! I really love Paul McCartney’s Ram, that’s an amazing album, and there’s a really cool record from the late 60’s from a band called Te Collectors from British Columbia, a psychedelic album that’s little known..the second side of, it’s like a Yes album! It’s almost prog rock. I love Yes’s Close To Te Edge and Fragile, love their stuff. You’ve done a couple of soundtracks. In what way is your writing different for writing normal songs and soundtracks? With soundtracks we’ve always had to practice a lot of restraint. You can’t really build up a lot of different textures because there’s dialogue and a scene happening and you want to be subtle and transparent and create a mood without people really knowing there’s music there at all. Tat’s a bit challenging for us because although we are minimal we also like to build up and have a shit load of texture. A soundtrack is always a really cool exercise for us to do. One of the films was Mark Ruffalo’s directorial debut, Sympathy For Delicious. Did

you get to meet him? Yeah he came up to Montreal and we spent a weekend together. He’s a great guy, we hit it off really well and spent some time at my studio. We had originally sent him the full score and he just helped us with making some minor tweaks and stuff. We had a lot of fun. You set up Breakglass Studios in Montreal a decade ago and you produce a lot for other people. Does that help you to find different sounds and ways of working for your own project? Yeah I think so, sometimes the other way around too. I do a lot of experimenting when I’m recording with Besnard that I can’t do when recording with another band because I feel like I’m wasting their time. So I’ll try some things out with Besnard that I know might not work but it doesn’t matter because I’m only really wasting my own time. Besnard Lakes is like the experimentation side of the studio – then when I take something to the rest of the band I’ve already worked through the trials and errors of it and I don’t have to waste their time. You’re heading out on tour – what are you most looking forward to and what will you most miss about home? We always most look forward to the food! We always eat things we don’t really get at home. I think the thing we’ll miss the most..we have a garden at home. I miss seeing it because when we get back it will be huge and we’ll have missed a huge portion of its growth. When we get home we’ll have a lot of fruit and vegetables though. I hope you have someone to come round and water it while you’re away? Yeah! My mom will come and water the garden while we’re away!

Lizz Page

INFORMATION Te Besnard Lakes play Norwich Arts Centre on 17th August supported by Sennen. Tickets available from / August 2016 / 37

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