- Posted on Mar 4th 2011 6:00PM by Emily Tan
While Diamond Rings helped PS I Love You gain popularity outside of Kingston, Saulnier and Nelson have done pretty well for themselves, sharing stages with such artists as Japandroids, Wavves and label-mates Born Ruffians.
Before heading to Austin for SXSW, Saulnier chatted with Saulnier about his childhood obsession with 'Ghostbusters' and how he feels about people confusing his band with the Hilary Swank film that shares its name.
PS I Love You was originally your solo project. How did Benjamin Nelson come into the mix?
Going from solo to duo just seemed like the natural progression of things. I already played with Benjamin in a different band. He's such a good drummer. I thought it'd make things sound a lot better. Since then, we've been writing songs together. It made the sounds of my songs bigger, better and sort of simpler, in a way.
Your record sounds like there are more people in the band than you two. How do you approach the music so that songs sound like there are twice as many people playing?
On the record, it's a slightly different approach than in the actual concert, because on the record, we play the song live, then I track a bunch of keyboards and guitars and mix it into the song to get a big sound. We're kind of cheating like that, but in a live concert, I play the bass and keyboard as well as playing guitar. That gives it a nice base going in, and the guitars are really loud, so it ends up being a big sound, just by playing all the instruments.
Why are you called PS I Love You?
I've been using that name for a long time. It's something some friends made up as a joke on my name, a play on my initials. I started getting attention really fast before I had a chance to change it, so I'm stuck with it.
Nowadays people equate PS I Love You with the Beatles' song or the Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler movie. What's your experience with your band's name being associated with those things?
It's kind of annoying, and it's kind of funny. It doesn't get me down too much. I was hoping there's room for one more PS I Love You in the average person's attention span.
What's your first music-related memory?
I think it was listening to the 'Ghostbusters' soundtrack over and over again. First I had to learn how to work my sister's Walkman to play the cassette tape.
How old were you then?
I was probably 4 years old.
Were you into the movie, or was it just the soundtrack that hooked you?
Between the ages of 3 and 7, 'Ghostbusters' was more than just a movie; it was a way of life. I was into the tape. I was into the movie. I was into the toys. I was into pretending I was a Ghostbuster. But that soundtrack was the first thing I listened to on repeat over and over.
And when did you realize that you wanted to pursue music as a career?
When I was a really young child, I took piano lessons, and even though I didn't like practicing, I loved learning how music was created and how it's played. I decided to be a lifelong musician when I probably around 10 years old. It was the only thing I could think of, and I was never really good at finishing school or jobs or anything really besides playing rock music. I had no backup plan. It's always been my dream.
You recorded the song 'Leftovers' with Diamond Rings. How did that come about?
Over the past couple of years. I wrote these guitar chords for that song quite a long time ago. It always felt like a good song to me, but every time I would write melodies or vocals, I failed. I always just held onto these riffs, but they never really materialized as a PS I Love You song. After John and I became good friends, we were jamming one day. I showed him the song and asked him to write words. It worked really well for his voice, and he wrote amazing lyrics and vocal melodies, so it ended up being an amazing collaboration. It was kind of like, if you believe in destiny or fate or something, I wrote those chords years ago, before I even met John, and it was almost like he was fated to be the singer of that particular song.
What's the biggest misconception you've noticed people have about PS I Love You?
One misconception is that I have bass and keyboard parts on looping pedals. People are always freaking out [and ask], "How do you make those bass loops?" There's actually no looping at all. I'm just playing a keyboard on the floor. Another misconception is people think there are more than two people in the band and they think we're rockstars because we're on the Internet so much. That's actually the number one misconception.
What are you looking forward to at SXSW this year?
Everything I've heard from friends and other bands, it almost sounds like it's going to be a hellish nightmare. Everyone's warning us to take it easy and not party too hard. It's like you've got to play a show, then pack up your gear then play another show. It just sounds like it's going to be this grueling, intense kind of double decathlon every day. That sounds like an amazing challenge. I know it's going to be fun and the weather's going to be hot, which I'm not used to. There's going to be a lot of good food and a lot of good bands, and hopefully we'll get to see other bands and party. But I think I'm mostly going to be focused on performing well and making a good impression on all the people that go there.
Catch PS I Love You's SXSW Set on Tuesday, March 15 at Emo's Main Room (603 Red River St.) 12AM.
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