Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on May 3rd 2010 6:15PM by Simona Rabinovitch
"We wanted to be a band in the room together and just make a record like we did it years ago," drummer Arlen Thompson tells Spinner on the phone from his Mile End apartment, his baby daughter cooing in the background. While Thompson did double-duty as producer of the foursome's sophomore album, 2008's 'At Mount Zoomer,' and their debut, 'Apologies to the Queen Mary,' -- which was "recorded in pieces and put together at the end" -- the upcoming 'Expo 86' (due June 29 on Sub Pop) sees the band getting back to basics.
"We started with nothing and came into the room together for the first time in a year, since the last showed we played, and we worked really hard on it every day for three months," says Thompson, who's pleased with the new songs and arrangements. "For myself, on the last record I did a lot of the engineering. It's fun, but I didn't want to wear both hats again. I wanted to focus on the playing and performance aspects."
To free Thompson up to focus on his drumming duties, Wolf Parade enlisted über-producer Howard Bilerman of Hotel2Tango studios -- who produced and drummed on Arcade Fire's debut and has mixed hundreds of albums, including Montréal alumni Bell Orchestre, the Dears, Thee Silver Mt. Zion and godspeed you! black emperor.
Thompson's not the only one in the band who's been doing double-duty: Dan Boeckner is also one-half of Handsome Furs alongside wife Alexei Perry, Spencer Krug is the frontman of Sunset Rubdown and used to be in Frog Eyes, and Dante DeCaro used to be in Hot Hot Heat, but is now the frontman of Johnny and the Moon.
Essentially, they're a bunch of neighbourhood dudes at the scruffy epicentre of Montreal's incestuous indie rock scene. Hotel2Tango studios even happens to be situated just a half-block from Thompson's apartment. But the band will soon be wandering farther afield -- they embark next week on a European tour that includes gigs in Eastern European cities of Prague, Budapest and Zagreb.
Thompson's also got a a new project called Treasure Hunt -- whose sound he gleefully describes as "super loud and aggressive" -- with members of Wintersleep and Dustin Hawthorne (formerly of Hot Hot Heat). Before getting started on 'Expo 86,' he also mixed records for We Are Wolves, Handsome Furs and Sunset Rubdown, to name a few.
But his favourite project is one he'll really miss on tour: his daughter, who was born in January. When Wolf Parade did a little five-show tour recently, Thompson, 31, felt the distance. "It's weird to leave her," he says. "I came back and she'd changed in a week. It's been pretty crazy!"