Captured Tracks’ Alex Calder has charmed us since his early days in Makeout Videotape to his now 60s-inspired solo bedroom records. Each song of his is sure to take you on a lo-fi daydream that you won’t want to wake up from. We caught up with Alex at home fresh off a tour with his longtime friend and band mate Mac DeMarco to discuss tour life, relationships, and borscht.
AMBY: Hi Alex. How was the tour?
Alex Calder: The tour was really fun! Definitely the craziest one we’ve been a part of yet. Really fun to tour with a big group of friends.
AMBY: What was your favourite show?
Alex Calder: I think my favourite show might have been in New Orleans. It was my first time going to the city and it’s such a crazy place. Essentially the whole city seems like it’s just shut down for people to party everywhere. We went skateboarding and had daiquiris in the streets before the show. The crowd was also really responsive and fun. So that might have been my favourite. I also really enjoyed most places on the West Coast, Portland, SF, etc.
AMBY: What are your ideal qualities in a tour mate?
Alex Calder: Somebody who doesn’t fart in the car. But in all seriousness, someone who doesn’t stress over things is pretty important to me. Once somebody gets put into a foul mood about something on tour, it kinda reflects on to everyone, because you’re crammed into this car forever together, sleeping in the same spaces every night, and constantly hanging out, so it can get tricky. I think we all get a bit like that as our band, but we’re definitely getting better about it. I’m just mainly happy touring with friends that also realize it’s sort of a job at the same time and not just a relaxed party every day.
AMBY: Any memorable show moments?
Alex Calder: Yea there’s a lot. In Vancouver for Halloween we all got dressed as Darth Maul from Star Wars. Mac paid to have professional makeup artists come in and do everyone’s costumes. We were all pretty tired by that point in tour, but it was pretty fun. Also nice seeing a lot of our Vancouver friends.
AMBY: After-show moments?
Alex Calder: That’s hard to think of. I think the most fun I had directly after any show was when Walter TV was also opening for the first half of tour and Pierce and I would work merch together. It would be extremely overwhelming, and also really fun messing with people with him.
AMBY: How do you deal with a crazed fan?
Alex Calder: For this tour, there weren’t so many crazed fans talking to me about my music. It would mainly just be about Mac’s music, which could be frustrating and tricky to be around sometimes. But also totally made sense. So dealing with insane teenagers, trying to get attention, I wouldn’t mind being up front and rude with them because they weren’t really there to appreciate my music. Most people that like our music that would be at our shows would be super cool. Pretty relaxed and not trying to be too weird or anything to get my attention. I think for the small fan base we have, they are mostly pretty cool people, so I’m lucky.
AMBY: What’s your favourite meal to make right now at home?
Alex Calder: Hmm, right now probably my favourite thing to make is Borscht. It’s definitely always my go to recipe when I don’t know what else to make, because the recipe is pretty loose and you can really do whatever you want in terms of adding veggies. I’ve also realized that the secret ingredient that isn’t in the traditional recipe at all is tomato. That really makes it the best. There’s probably gonna be a borscht snob out there that disagrees, but they don’t know shit.
AMBY: What’s your favourite bath recipe?
Alex Calder: I keep it pretty simple with the baths. Just really, really hot. Sometimes I add some lavender oil which is nice.
AMBY: What did you listen to in the car on tour?
Alex Calder: Ah I dunno. We listen to so much shitty music in the car, it’s pretty crazy. One in twenty albums that go on will be something we legitimately like that isn’t Barenaked Ladies or Big Shiny Tunes or something. The other day Thomas (who plays bass) put on an album by Julia Holter. I ended up really liking it, so I am listening to that right now.
AMBY: What’s the key to maintaining a “successful relationship” while you’re on the road?
Alex Calder: It’s definitely tricky. I think what I’ve learned is that it’s important to realize that when you are touring, you go into this like completely fake and weird world that’s completely unnatural. So you definitely have to step back and just always remember you have a life at home that’s legitimate with a person. I think it’s important to be in a relationship with someone who is pretty independent as well, and I’m lucky to have that.
AMBY: What’s your favourite song to play live at the moment?
Alex Calder: I’m not really sure. We have a new song called Morning Ritual that I really like playing right now. It’s definitely the most upbeat song in our set, so I enjoy that. It should be on the next album!
Thank you Alex Calder, for giving us your answers!
Interview by Rosemary Fairweather