Tuesday, 8 January 2008

*The Most Serene Republic Interview

Interview with The Most Serene Republic (Jan 6th 2008)

"At the rate they’re going, whether they mean to or not, the Most Serene Republic will alter the way in which people appreciate rock music. It might sound like a lofty achievement for an unlikely band of 20-somethings bred in the Toronto suburb of Milton, Ontario but if you pay close attention to their discography—particularly 2007’s Population—you’ll hear something entirely unique. Don’t disregard their dense art-pop breakthrough Underwater Cinematographer (A&C 2005) or the transitional tour E.P. Phages (A&C 2006) completely; these are the keys to understanding how the Most Serene Republic came to form the masterful achievement that is Population, which might seem superficially sugary if it weren’t for the poison lurking under its remarkable layers of sound."

Courtesy of: http://www.arts-crafts.ca/themostserenerepublic/story.php

LG: How did you all originally meet?

MSR: Adrian, Nick and Ryan all went to elementary school together, Adrian met Sean at university, Ryan and I met through some possibly random or possibly fateful sequence of choices on each our parts, and Simon and Tony came along much later through mutual acquaintances.

LG: Did the band all come from similar musical backgrounds or is everyone's story pretty different?

MSR: We're about split down the middle as far as musical education is concerned, some are self taught while others attended musical programs at post-secondary. As far as musical influence growing up, I'd say we're as different as anyone really. Of course, some of our parents were the prog listeners who grew up in the 60s and 70s, my dad is one of them, has a huge record collection and really shaped my understanding of what makes music great.

LG: The Canadian music scene is producing a lot of well-received artists/bands recently and has been getting a lot of positive press, does it feel like it's helpful to be a part of it? Or is there any pressure because of it?

MSR: It is helpful more than anything to be a part of this collection of artists being recognized, and we definitely have pride in our country and are thankful for the government support of developing artists such as ourselves, it feels like a great place to come from musically.

LG: For someone who has never seen your live shows before how would you describe them?

MSR: I guess I should start by saying that having never exactly seen one of our live shows in the same sense that an audience member has seen one, all I can really describe is how I feel on stage and how I perceive the connection to be. Our shows are usually manic, unyielding, and unpredictable. We are all working our asses off the entire time to try and include as much as we possibly can from the recordings while trying desperately and hoping that we are reaching an understanding with the crowd.

LG: What were some of the first live shows you went to see when you were younger?

MSR: To be honest when I was younger I didn't really attend very many concerts. Of course there was Charlotte Diamond at around age 5, and I vaguely remember going to see the TSO when I was about 7, next thing I remember is going to Warped Tour when I was in high school and seeing Bjork a few years later.

LG: What most impacts your songwriting? (people, places, other music etc) and has the rise of the internet and websites like Myspace, changed the way you think about making music or just the way you promote it?

MSR: People in the collective sense, or a person if they are philosophical and forward thinking, places if they have a rich history and other music if it was groundbreaking. Mainly I would hope that our own ideas are what impacts our songwriting the most. If anything the rise of such websites has made us realize even more the vast and urgent importance of actually creating something, in the sense of, making something from nothing, something new and exciting yet still extremely emotionally provocative, not trying to make a recreation of things that have come and gone in a haste with lack of thought as it seems so easy to do these days as everyone has garageband and a myspace account.

LG: (From the website biography) "I want people to put on the record and I want them to stop what they're doing and just listen to it," Lenssen says.
What records make you do this?

MSR: It's too hard for me to answer that question specifically without being too revealing, so I'll just say that records that pull me in different directions at every passing moment, that have a diverse terrain running from despair, to struggle, to triumph, to ecstasy to defeat; records that tell a story or idea in an intensely passionate and unique way.

LG: Considering there is an art school background to some of the members, would you place your records closer to music or art?

MSR: We've been asked this question before and it puzzles me, I've always thought that music was art. Perhaps I haven't kept up with the times and music has just become purely commercial? I should hope that anyone with the right intent who is creating music is also creating art, although I will admit that it seems the amount of this is dwindling.

LG: You contributed to the Stars, "Do you trust your friends' record, if you could have any living artist or band cover one of your songs who would it be?

MSR: I would love to hear Radiohead or Bjork take on one of our songs, also having an orchestra play a version of the entire Population album would be interesting to hear.

LG: You've toured with the Strokes, Metric, Stars, and Broken Social Scene – which has been your favourite tour and why? Can you share any funny anecdotes from the road?

MSR: Picking a favourite tour would be like trying to pick a favourite child. They all had ups and downs, moments of pride and moments of disappointment. Of course, going to Europe for the first time was amazing and having the privilege of playing stadium shows with the Strokes was unforgettable. Stars brought us on the road for the first time and really taught us a lot about the lifestyle, as it is something that really does require a lot of adaptation and learning.

LG: Will you be touring the UK/Europe anytime soon?

MSR: We hope to be back in Europe sometime in the spring.

'Population' is out now folks..

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