Getty | Daniel Boud Two years after they announced their break up, Canadian…
- Posted on Sep 20th 2012 2:00PM by Aaron Brophy
After all, they won the prize -- which goes to the best Canadian album of the year, based on "artistic merit without regard to genre, sales history or label affiliation" -- in 2009 with their sprawling The Chemistry of Common Life record.
To hear Fucked Up lead singer Damian Abraham tell it, though, the band doesn't figure on becoming the first ever act to win the Polaris twice.
"I was going to say the Yamantaka// Sonic Titan," when Abraham was asked by Spinner on who he thinks will win the Polaris. "That was one of my favorite records. I bought that on vinyl and I usually buy only used records.
"Grimes, Handsome Furs... honestly all these records have a chance. Like, the Drake record, I think is a fantastic record. Kathleen Edwards. Everyone here has made an amazing record and I can conceive of a scenario where everyone wins... except for that band Fucked Up."
In addition to Edwards, Grimes, Drake, the Furs and YT//ST, the short list includes Cadence Weapon, Cold Specks, Feist and Japandroids.
The Prize, which gets determined September 24 at the Polaris Gala in Toronto, Ontario, will be decided by a grand jury of 11 music critics selected from a greater juror pool of over 200 Canadian music writers, editors, broadcasters and radio people. The conventional thinking is that a room full of music critics aren't going to reward the same band twice.
"[Us nominated] means that there's a list of nine this year that have to be up for the Polaris Prize," says Abraham. "And the one token 'Hey you're back again. Nice to see ya. You're not gonna win twice.' But, yeah it's awesome.
"And once you win it's like... fair enough, I'm just excited to be there again. I'm not just saying this in a false modest sense. I looked at that long list and I really conceived a scenario where we don't make the list. I counted 10 records where I thought based on how the voting's gone in the past, would make it. And I'm honored to be here again."
Fucked Up almost didn't make it into the building for the actual Gala when they were last nominated.
The event is traditionally held at CTV's Masonic Temple, which is used as a venue for shooting MTV Canada programming. In advance of the 2009 Polaris Gala Fucked Up performed live in the building and destroyed a venue bathroom with help from Death From Above 1979's Sebastien Grainger. It got them temporarily banned from the building and nearly blacklisted.
"We were on a list," starts Abraham. "They didn't want us in the building, as a band. MTV was not like that... it was higher above any of the people at MTV, higher above than any people at Polaris, that really did not want us in that building. That just added to the excitement for us. I honestly thought that they were going to shut us down, the [Gala] performance.
"They were worried I guess that we were going to beat people up? They wanted to search my baby. They were terrified. Which was awesome. 'Cause it sucks that it feels that way, but in another way that's all I wanted, I wanted to be like Fear on Saturday Night Live. I've always wanted to touch that moment where somehow you found a back door into a big stage and you're still trying to be you."
The big fish among this year's Polaris nominees is Drake, whose album Take Care has been a lightning rod for praise, scrutiny and hatorade in equal measure amongst prize watchers. The rapper has also yet to confirm whether or not he'll actually attend this year's Gala. But if he does Abraham is quick to suggest a collab.
"We'll happily get Drake to come drop a verse and ruin both of our careers in one fell swoop," says Abraham. "Not that associating with Drake would be a bad career move for us, but rap and aggressive music have been mixed together with some disastrous results in the past, so far be it for us to do that on the Polaris stage.
"It would be amazing if we came out and did a rap metal cover of some shitty Canadian rap metal project from the '90s like Kittie or Project Wyze. If Drake wants to come up and sing 'Dying on the Inside' [the song 'The Other Shoe'] I will be happy to collaborate with him on that, absolutely."
Drake collab or not, Abraham is anticipating good times. Because he's not worried about winning.
"It's fantastic," he says. "It feels like you get to relive the dream but with none of the pressure because you don't have to win this time."