Arts and Crafts Broken Social Scene, the Canadian indie rock collective…
- Posted on Feb 3rd 2011 9:30AM by Jenny Charlesworth
With acts like Arcade Fire, Caribou, Crystal Castles, Shad, Chromeo and Owen Pallett also receiving nods from the Juno committee, the indie contingent will be strong at this year's awards on March 27 in Toronto. And while many may be toasting the changing tide in Juno land, Drew doesn't see the presence of so many indie artists on the Juno bill as such a dramatic turn of events.
Drew talks to Spinner about the Juno cycle, Molotov cocktails and why, when it comes to music, Canada has actually already "arrived."
Broken Social Scene scored four Juno nominations, how does that feel?
I think there were a lot of great records this year, I really do. And I think there was lots for them to choose from, so it must have been difficult -- I'm happy to be in there. We've been in there before, and if we didn't [this year], it would have maybe hurt a little bit, made us question our relevance as we're "veteran" indie rockers now.
Is a Juno nod the benchmark as far as your band's relevancy then?
Brendan [Canning] and I both put out records that weren't recognized by anyone -- some years you get recognized and some years you don't. Broken Social Scene made a huge effort going into this; we made a huge effort making it; we made a huge effort marketing and publicizing it; we made a huge effort distributing it; we made a huge effort touring it; and I'm sure there was a huge effort by the label with the Juno people, "Like, please," you know?
So I think it's good the way things turned out, and I'm happy that there's a lot of other people involved in the nominations besides us -- there's the DVD and the artwork and the video. We didn't make the video, we didn't make the DVD, we didn't make the artwork -- I mean, obviously our drummer Justin [Peroff] had so much to do with it -- so there you go, that's what Broken Social Scene is about: other people. So I'm happy for all those other people that they got their nominations.
This will be Broken Social Scene's third time at the Junos, what do you do to calm nerves on the big night?
Before we perform this year I won't pace in the changing room smoking cigarettes because it didn't really help me sing too well last time. I was nervous last time, it was a song that I can't get the notes on unless I'm really in the zone, and I didn't hit the notes because I was too nervous. As long as my guys are there, the people I've been doing this with, they're my good luck charms.
Surveying the "indie" bands nominated in 2011, the list is pretty substantial. Do you feel like the Junos are finally more representative, like they've caught up to the indie-sphere?
I don't think they caught up as much as it's just you can't avoid it now. You have to remember that in 2005 they switched [the] Alternative [category] -- they usually do it the night before -- and they brought it on television, that was for the 2005 nominees. And then in 2007 they didn't do that again, so they're bobbing and weaving.
We're no longer underdogs anymore. Most of my bands -- there's a few of us in our 30s and most of us in our 40s -- we've been doing this a long time. It's been great for [our label] Arts and Crafts and lots of other friends of ours. I think that this is what it is now. But there's going to be something else that comes around where it's like, 'How come we're not recognized!' It's the cycle, it's how it is. There's always a new generation coming in, changing s--- up.
What do you make of the fact that the Junos and Grammys are both honouring the same acts this year? Is that a major win for Canada's music scene?
Good bands from Canada have always been at the Grammys. Arcade Fire should be there, and I hope they win. I was there when Feist was nominated and I was pissed -- four nominations and she didn't win -- I was ready to throw a Molotov cocktail down on the Staples Center. But the point is, the people that have extreme popularity have always been recognized by the Grammys. It's unavoidable. Once you get domination of most of the roads, most of the stereotypes of most of the classes out there, then you're going to be recognized.
I think the whole notion of us being a country where we're like, 'Oh, look, look at what we're doing now' is irrelevant. It's been irrelevant for many many years. If you look at the legacy of what we've done in the music or entertainment industry, we've done a lot. You know how many times we've heard, 'We've finally arrived'? It's almost as if it's a broken record that we can't turn off because it's engraved in stone. So I just think a lot of people know that we've moved on and don't want to live in the shadows of our own apologies. It's just not necessary anymore.
But when we come to an event like this, we have the history of that happening. But that history came from the idea of small population and not many ways to distribute. We're quite a large population now and there are countless ways to distribute. So it's anybody's game. We're on the map more than we've ever been.