What have you been up to lately?
I’ve been in here, in the laboratorium.
What have you been doing recently since you’ve been in Toronto?
A lot of catching up with people, you know, I’m here to do some work. Been working on some new music, which has been cool, and that’s been the main thing. Along with Manifesto, etc…
You live in Vancouver now, what it’s like living there as opposed to here?
Vancouver’s a very different city from Toronto. But I like it. I like my life there, I like my apartment, I like the community, and the neighborhood.
You handle much of your business here in Toronto, does that hinder your creative process?
It’s knowing I have to come back and forth all the time. It’s expensive, so I’ll probably relocate here at some point. But this is a great city and you know, I grew up in London and spent a lot of time in Toronto. So most of the people I know in music are here. It’s easier to work here, my whole team is here.
Does it rush the creative process at all?
I feel the pressure sometimes. But I mean this time around, I want to take my time and feel like I’ve really worked hard enough and put together something that more people and my fans can tell I worked hard for them. That’s my number one priority. I feel the pressure, which on the other hand can be good because that’s how you get things done in life. You set deadlines and all of a sudden you’re responsible to other people so that kind of helps. On the other hand, I want to fight the urge to rush anything.
Slug (of Atmosphere) told me he moved to using a live band because he felt he could sleep through a show with a DJ and complete it. What’s your reason behind using a live band?
For me, a lot of performing is I really don’t want to bore people that came to the show. That’s like at the forefront of my mind when I’m performing. I want to exceed expectations, just because I value people’s time and people come out to see me perform or see something happen. And I want to do something interesting. That’s a lot of where it comes from for me.
The other thing to is like, when you have other players, you can switch up the dynamics. It can be louder or quieter or you can switch up the arrangement. It just opens up a few more possibilities. And I think that’s a key thing to do, having a few more possibilities to play with to keep things interesting. That’s one of the things that can keep a show interesting. There’s moments when it’s loud, there’s moments when it’s quiet and more intimate.
You also have said you had a full live band when you started out, what was that like?
When I first started, for one thing it just made sense for me to have a full live band and at least in part because nobody has any idea who you are so you have to try and impress people every time you’re up on stage or at least have a sound that’s bigger. Those were a lot of the resources I had at my disposal. You use whatever resources you have. A lot of people don’t really know a lot of musicians when they start out and that was one thing that I actually had. I had guys who could play and were interested in playing.
Tell me a little about the people on your team. We know you don’t “blog or Twitter,” so who do you have on your team?
My label in Canada, Black Box Recordings, and the last album (TSOL) we worked with Decon in the States. My agent Steven is great. T-Lo holds it down. Ian holds it down, he plays bass and keys with me. Then there’s a range of guys I’ve had play with me depending on the show. Another keyboard player named Max in Vancouver who’s great. A range of drummers I’ve played with. It’s always a big cast, but that’s the core team.