CC: Who or what inspired your creative vision?
First and foremost it is a love of music. I remember being really taken with music at a young age. I would wonder, “How do people make music?” It seemed so powerful and mysterious. Almost magical.
Just about everybody loves music and is so moved by it. I didn’t seriously consider writing songs until I got to high school and started playing guitar. A friend who I am coincidentally working on a side project with right now asked me to join him as the singer for the high school Christmas concert.
We started writing songs and I was instantly hooked. I was obsessed with figuring out how to get good at it, and still am. A big part of that has been doing my homework on finding out about the greats and studying them — a lot of those being obscure and under-appreciated writers like Stephin Merritt, Scott Walker, Syd Barrett and many more.
I also think it is important as an artist to be engaged with what is going on in the world and that is why some of our songs reference things like radical religion, psychology and politics. This inspires some of the lyrical ideas.
CC: You guys are from Toronto, Canada. Do you see yourselves getting big over in the states? How would you accomplish this?
Truthfully, I have no idea if we will be big anywhere. I certainly hope so. I think the only way is persistence. It might sound a little arrogant but I do think we deserve a much higher profile than we have. In my mind, we’re huge. We are looking at touring outside of Canada and Europe but that is still down the road. I am very much looking forward to visiting these places. We do have fans in a lot of cities in the U.S. and Europe already. Ireland, Spain, Brazil, England, Scotland and Germany are a few of the places we have been getting a lot of love. All places I would be thrilled to visit, among others.
CC: Would you say that the music scene is different for Canadian crowds as opposed to what you’ve seen in the U.S or abroad?
This one is a bit awkward. From what I hear from outsiders our home town Toronto leaves something to be desired in this area. Haha. I once saw Suede play here in 1998 and Brett Anderson refused to do an encore because the crowd was “all a bunch of bloody stiffs.” There is some truth to this. People don’t usually dance at shows in Toronto. It can be kind of a buzz kill.
Montreal seems like more of a party town, more like other places where people are known to have a little more fun. In the ’90s during the grunge thing people went too crazy at shows and then the pendulum swung too far in the other direction. From what I have seen at shows in London and New York, people seem looser and less self-conscious.
CC: How exactly would you describe the genre of ‘dream pop’?
I think of dream pop as ethereal, pretty, atmospheric and melodic. It is as good a genre descriptor for us as any that I can think of. It’s contemplative pop music. Not really in an intellectual way — more of a meditative thing. Something you can unwind or make out to.
CC: What are the best and worst parts about being in the music industry?
The best is the challenge of making music that you are excited about. I also enjoy the celebratory and communal aspect of music. We all need that in our lives and I think music may be the best way of getting it. It’s a vocation.
The worst is the fact that musicians are still an afterthought when it comes to getting paid. When the Internet took off there was a lot of optimism about musicians being compensated better for their wares, but it seems like it is worse now than before. Perhaps we are in a transition period where the industry is still figuring out its business model but as before, musicians are always the last to get paid — and that’s too bad, because musicians give us so much.
CC: Could you see yourselves embarking on a larger tour? Or even playing music festivals over in the states like Lollapalooza?
I could and hope we do at some point get out to the places I mentioned earlier. We need to start smaller, though. We have a mini-tour coming up, playing in Ottawa and Montreal, and I am looking forward to that. I’m hoping it may be a springboard to other things. We haven’t played any outdoor festivals yet. At the moment we are still under most people’s radar so that may be down the road.
CC: What have you guys accomplished thus far in your career?
Our two albums are our biggest achievements thus far. I’m really proud of both of them and of the fact that we have grown a lot on the 2nd album. They say the 1st album is usually your stronger one because you spend more time on it but for us it was the opposite.
Escapists took much longer to develop and in hindsight I think it is a better record for it. Getting debuted on The Quietus and PopMatters, and getting played on BBC Ulster (Northern Ireland) was a big thrill. My parents are from Northern Ireland so I was excited to tell mom about that one. Generally the positive response that we have received for Escapists has been really gratifying.
CC: What does the future hold for you guys?
We are working on album #3 right now. I don’t think it will take as long to get this one out. We already have a pile of good tunes that we are currently fashioning. Some of our best stuff is on deck so we are really looking forward to getting back in the studio. Hopefully sometime this year.
All answers by vocalist and guitarist Ciaran Megahey
Post and interview by Kayla Rojas
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