Friday, August 27, 2010

Interview Outtakes: Broken Social Scene drummer Justin Peroff on Weird Drum Sounds, The Band's Origin and the Clown-Car Effect

Posted By on Fri, Aug 27, 2010 at 9:00 AM

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Tomorrow night's LouFest headliner is Broken Social Scene. In this week's issue, Ryan Wasoba interviewed drummer Justin Peroff about the band's new LP, Forgiveness Rock Record. Here are some outtakes, complete with some drum geek-outs and info on the genesis of the band and its latest album.

Ryan Wasoba: Why the five year span between the 2005 self-titled album and Forgiveness Rock Record? Justin Peroff: You might get a few different answers depending on who you ask, but the break between records wasn't necessarily pre designed. With the [Broken Social Scene Presents Kevin Drew] Spirit If record, the songs had been kicked around as Broken Social Scene songs for a forthcoming record. Most of the songs were sort of a Kevin record and you have a lot of BSS proper members on that record, so we did the Broken Social Scene Presents thing. After that, everyone was kind of broken off into their own projects; Andrew [Whiteman] was off touring with Apostle Of Hustle and Charlie [Spearin] ended up touring with Do Make Say Think. I was getting antsy and Brendan Canning was writing songs. He called me at the perfect time and asked me to play on his ...Presents record [Something For All Of Us]. Once those touring cycles ended, everyone was available and present so we just decided it was time. I never thought of it as a break because we were active the whole time.

The band has gained a reputation as a jumping off point for the members' other groups, but the core who played on Forgiveness Rock Record are mostly members who haven't branched out past Broken Social Scene The thing a lot of people don't know is that Feist, Stars and Metric existed before Broken Social Scene was a band. We were all friends in the Toronto music community and we all celebrated each other and the music we would make. It was just a bunch of people who got together to make music together who also happened to be in other bands. Then there was some activity after You Forgot It In People and we were scrambling to do these tours that manifested. People would come in and out as they were available. Feist was there sometimes and Emily [Haines, of Metric] or Amy [Milan, of Stars] sometimes.

Since BSS gained popularity first, it's sort of like a supergroup in reverse. You could definitely say that, but I never know what supergroup means. I guess it's the idea of a bunch of people playing music together in one thing that are also in other bands.

I think it's a side project whose members are individually successful. I do want to say that jealousy is never never an issue when it comes to success. When all of the members' own bands saw success, it was a high five. There was more popping champaign bottles than scratching our heads looking at pie charts and wondering why them and not us.

It seems like the transition between producers for Forgiveness Rock Record would be particularly hard on you, since the previous Broken Social Scene records have such a distinct drum sound. It was a little shocking and made me a little nervous at times. I couldn't sit there and be selfish and only listen and focus on the drum sounds, I had to listen to the song as a whole and how the parts communicated with each other. It was stressful and nervous and an exercise of democracy within myself, and a bit of a brain massage and heart massage at the same time. I'm very proud of the record and those drum sounds.

You should be proud. The snare drum on "Forced To Love" is awesome. One of the things I did was put a bunch of cutlery on a frying pan, it's a combination of those things and John doing whatever damn thing he did. It's probably the first song in our catalog to have a verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure with guitar solo that ends within 3 minutes and 30 seconds. I think everyone was pretty happy about it as a song, and happy about it being fairly conventional as far as singles are concerned.

When Broken Social Scene arrives at the venue and everybody gets off the bus, do you get that clown-car effect of "How many people did they fit on that bus?" I'm usually wondering that when I wake up in the bunk, "Who exactly on this vehicle?" Touring really is a bit of a circus show, a circus survival mission you get off the bus and you're wondering where you can shower or eat or just "Where am I?" in general. More than people staring into the bus from outside, it's us staring out wondering what's going on around us.

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