Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Elliott Brood

Elliott Brood
On January 24th, Canadian alternative-folk trio Elliott Brood will play Toronto’s The Phoenix with The Wilderness Of Manitoba. Ahead of the show, we gave the band’s Casey Laforet a call to discuss their new album Work and Love, the lyrical influence of being a father, and needing killer shoes while on tour. Enjoy:

Elliott Brood: Hey! How are you doing?

AMBY: Well, thanks. How are you?

Elliott Brood: Pretty good.

AMBY: Before hitting the questions, I have to say thanks for having a chat with A Music Blog, Yea? today. We appreciate it!

Elliott Brood: No problem, thanks for being interested [laughs].

AMBY: I wanted to kick things off by discussing your latest record Work and Love, which you released last October. Tell me a bit about the creation and your journey recording it.

Elliott Brood: Well, it’s our fourth full-length album. Lyrically, we always try to find a theme in our songwriting and this was the first time we had some personal stories and put them into the record. We’re big fans of Constantines — one of their songs is called Soon Enough and one of its lyrics is, “soon enough, work and love will make a man out of you”. It’s been one of my favourite lyrics for years because work and love are the two things that take your youth away, so most of the songs are about failed relationships, becoming an adult, and all of that stuff. We’re pretty old men now; we’re in our late thirties and forties, so we’ve gone through all of that stuff already [laughs]. The creational process was pretty straight-forward, though.

AMBY: During the creation of the album, your son was born and you have a daughter who’s due any minute now!

Elliott Brood: She’s actually here.

AMBY: Oh, wow. Congratulations.

Elliott Brood: Thank you.

AMBY: Things must be pretty exciting at home between your family and the upcoming tour.

Elliott Brood: We’re lucky with the fact that we’ve been a band for ten years and have a lot of experience and touring under our belts before we had kids; now it’s easier because I couldn’t imagine doing this back then and with children when we first started. It’s pretty amazing and we’re really lucky to still be a band, yet alone have six kids be fed from this band. It’s a unique thing and I love it.

AMBY: With all of that said, I really took away a theme of young love and youth on the album. How did this exciting event of becoming a Dad impact your songwriting or lyricism for this release?

Elliott Brood: I don’t know if it was directly or not, but a lot of the songs were being written while my wife was pregnant, so I’m sure that was all in the back of my mind. I, myself, am a pretty nostalgic person anyways and am always remembering first loves and break-ups. Having a baby made me more serious about the job now because there are new stresses involved with making music because we have dependence [laughs]. I think lyrically, the idea to me that I have a son, I can attest to what it was like going through those troubles of heartbreak and working and having shitty bosses and all of the things we go through. I think I was thinking about how he is going to deal with all of those themes.

AMBY: As you mentioned before, Work and Love is one of the most autobiographical records you’ve ever made as it’s filled with your own stories. Are there any stories or lyrics in particular that really stand out or mean something special to you?

Elliott Brood: The songs are all basically children to us, but I can pick favourites.

AMBY and Elliot Brood: [laughs]

Elliott Brood: From the lyrics I contributed, I think the first and last songs are my favourite – Little Ones and End of the Day. Little Ones, for me, captures the idea of kids and being in a hurry to grow up when you’re little. Then, when you get older, I look back and wish I was still a little kid. Those lyrics and that theme were really important to me.

AMBY: In support of the album’s release, you’re playing some shows as part of The Work and Love Tour which has you playing Toronto’s The Phoenix in January 24th. When it comes to packing for a tour, what are some quintessential items you must have with you?

Elliott Brood: That’s funny that you say that, because I’m doing that right now.

AMBY: You’re packing?

Elliott Brood: When I picked the phone up, I was going through some things for tour and am trying to figure out what to take.

AMBY: Well, this works perfectly then.

Elliott Brood: We’ve learned a lot over the years about what and what not to take. You definitely need a pair of killer shoes – something comfortable and stylish [laughs], but mostly comfortable. It’s more about what you don’t need… For many of our first tours, we’d each go out with a full suitcase of clothes and you realize while you’re out there that you only need two or three pairs of pants. However, I got a brand-new Sonicare toothbrush and those are pretty sweet.

AMBY: It’s funny that you bring up the quantity of things you bring while on tour – a lot of the time when I’ve seen a band live three or four times, they’re usually wearing the same clothing!

AMBY and Elliott Brood: [laughs]

Elliott Brood: Absolutely. I’ve seen photos of myself doing sessions from years ago and I have the same cowboy shirt on because I really like it. I don’t buy many clothes now because it’s about buying clothes for kids, so you’ll see photos of us wearing some of the same things.

AMBY: Since you’re soon about to tour, I was wondering –if you could curate your dream concert, who would be in the line-up?

Elliott Brood: Amazing question! Lately, Shovels & Rope are one of the bands I listen to a ton of along with The War On Drugs. I think the main one right now would be Shovels and Rope. I’d throw The Shins in there, too, because The Shins are great.

AMBY: To wrap things up, what about your work do you most love?

Elliott Brood: [laughs] Finally, we’re getting interviews with some fun questions! I like this. I think all of it, really. I’m lucky to travel with two good people who are my friends; I love travelling, hanging out, and getting in trouble with the guys. We’re a family and I love how we have three families raised through this music. We can share all of this and we’re pretty happy about that.

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Thank you Elliott Brood, for giving us your answers!

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Interview by Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

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