When we last spoke with Royal Canoe back in February, they were telling us about how excited they were to release their debut album into the world. Now that debut record Today We’re Believers has been unveiled, and is a true showing of this band’s creative talent. With songs as dynamic and diverse as Bathtubs, AMBY was delighted to catch up with Royal Canoe and see what they’ve been up to. Have a read as we spoke about using an onion as a keyboard weight, next level shit sandwiches, and that bizarre roller coaster called touring.
AMBY: Hello Royal Canoe, it’s been a while since we last spoke in February! What’s the band been up to lately?
Royal Canoe: A lot of the road. We recently flew to LA to play two pool parties. That was pretty ridiculous. I dunno I guess just working hard at getting our music into new ears and writing new material as much as we can.
AMBY: Your debut record Today We’re Believers will be released on CD and digitally September 3rd. What was the inspiration behind the LP’s title?
Royal Canoe: It’s a reference to the love/hate relationship we have with the city we live in. Deciding whether it’s a good or bad place, whether we should stay or abandon it…the god-awful winters vs the euphoric summers. When the snow finally goes away there is this day where it’s like the city has a city-orgasm and everyone is prematurely wearing shorts and tank tops and we all hit the streets like we survived together…we’re all believers that day.
AMBY: Which songs are your favourite off Today We’re Believers?
Royal Canoe: My personal favorite is Birthday. Possibly because it’s the last song we recorded so it’s the most fresh for me. It just articulates a similar situation both me and the other Matt happened to be going through at the same time and sort of acts as this physical thing that sums it up quite nicely.
AMBY: Bathtubs is a wicked sounding track. What’s the song about?
Royal Canoe: The practice space we record in used to have bathtubs that were put in the hallway after the residence was turned into jam spaces. We would always have to drag all of our gear past these eight bathtubs in the hallway. At one point they came to metaphorically represent that thing, whatever it is, that you’re trying to get past creatively. Whatever obstacle that is in your way that is so easy to use as a crutch or excuse for not trying to get your work out there or do whatever it is you need to do. So “The bathtubs in the hallway are here to stay” is sort of a reference to the idea that these sort of obstacles won’t necessarily go away and if you want to do something of any worth you need to push past whatever your bathtubs in the hallway’s are.
AMBY: The video for Bathtubs is pretty bizarre, yet very neat. How did you come up with the concept?
Royal Canoe: The beginning of the idea was conceived by Nathan Boey, the director. He proposed the idea of bizarre vignettes that would be cut rhythmically to the song to sort of visually represent the music. The loose theme of the vignettes was the idea of tension and struggle which plays into the lyrical content of the song. When we brought this to our art director Seth Woodyard he really made it come alive with props and a bit of an aesthetic tone and that pretty much how it happened.
AMBY: You’ll be touring the US with Alt-J and Tricky this fall. What’s your favourite part of touring?
Royal Canoe: Touring is a weird life. There is a sort of emotional topography to each day. Wake up disoriented, remember whose kitchen you’re in, get in the van and it suddenly feels as if you had never left. You spend the afternoon beginning a bit of a ponder of your life and what you’re doing with it which peaks at a low at around 6 o clock. You wonder how the show will go, if anyone will like you etc. Then when you finally play the first note of your set it catapults to just pure bliss suddenly, you remember why you do what you do. This often results in you wanting to celebrate that realization most of the night until you end up right back in that kitchen…and I love every second of that bizarre roller coaster and all of it’s ever changing cast of characters and variables.
AMBY: What’s the funniest thing to happen to Royal Canoe at a gig?
Royal Canoe: I once lost a weight I use to press down a certain key and ended up using an onion I found in a bar pantry to play my Eb for the second song of our set.
AMBY: If you could hang out with any of your influences for a day, who would you be with and what would you do?
Royal Canoe: I’d hang out with Justin Timberlake and I’d get him to teach me how to delete my old MySpace account. I just can’t figure it out.
AMBY: Which bands or artists have you been listening to?
Royal Canoe: Grandkids, Fiona Apple, De La Soul, Justin Timberlake, Ava Luna, Efterklang, MF Doom, The Knife, Tame Impala
AMBY: What’s the best song of the year?
Royal Canoe: Why Won’t They Talk to Me – Tame Impala.
AMBY: And lastly, what’s the best part of being in Royal Canoe?
Royal Canoe: The sandwiches we make in the van are sometimes pretty next level shit.
Thank you Royal Canoe, for giving us your answers again!