Arts & Crafts
"I wanted to get one that said, 'My other band is a trio,'" he jokes with Spinner's RPM.
At some point, it seemed like every Toronto-based musician claimed some connection to Broken Social Scene. At their most bloated, the supergroup boasted nearly 20 members so one can only imagine the bureaucracy that plagued that pirate nation.
Peroff was taking the piss. But now that Kevin Drew and crew have put Broken Social Scene on indefinite hiatus -- and Peroff has hooked up with keyboardist Liam O'Neil and singer-guitarist Dave Hamelin, from the now-defunct Montreal band the Stills, to form the electro-pop-influenced trio Eight and a Half -- the joke seems weirdly prophetic.
Peroff has provided the backbeat for Broken Social Scene since 2000. Unlike his bandmates, he didn't have a project outside the BSS banner, but in the summer of 2009 -- around the time that the outfit staged the concert captured for Bruce McDonald's film 'This Movie Is Broken' -- he was feeling the itch.
"I made a list of musicians that I wanted to work with, and Dave and Liam were on the list," he says.
As luck would have it, a few weeks later at a festival gig in New York, O'Neil and Hamelin mentioned to Peroff they were branching out from the Stills. Peroff jumped on board, and Eight and a Half was born. There was, however, a small issue.
"We were challenged geographically," says Peroff, who at the time had just moved to Los Angeles and was busy recording 'Forgiveness Rock Record' in Chicago. Meanwhile, Hamelin and O'Neil -- who were based in Montreal -- were in the thick of touring behind the Stills' 'Oceans Will Rise.'
However, the opportunity was too good to let slip away. Over the next few years, the trio swapped electronic files and engaged in renegade recording sessions whenever schedules allowed.
Now with the Stills disbanded, Broken Social Scene on hiatus, and both Hamelin and Peroff calling Toronto home, this side project can finally be the priority.
Though you'll have to wait until Feb. 7 to get your hands on the band's eponymous debut, Eight and a Half are offering a free download of the lead-off single, 'Scissors,' now.
As former members of the Stills and Broken Social Scene, the members of Eight and a Half are veterans of the indie rock scene. Yet this new project sees the trio energized and brimming with enthusiasm like any upstart.
"When we got together we didn't feel jaded at all," says Hamelin. "And that's what was so nice about it, we were doing this with no expectations; we are just doing what we love to do. And as a musician, no matter what has come before, or mistakes you've made in the past, that is the best possible position to be in."
"It feels like we are hitting the refresh button," Peroff adds.