New research out of UC Berkeley reveals some interesting tidbits about how the human…
- Posted on Dec 17th 2012 5:00PM by Dave Jaffer
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Montreal's recently-reformed Statue Park are messing around with that very idea: they're musicians who write music about architecture. The dancing part is optional, but encouraged.
"I think there are a lot of similarities between songwriting and architecture, life and architecture, relationships and buildings," Statue Park's Toby Cayouette told Spinner during this year's M for Montreal. "They're all about the process of building something, and they always turn out differently from what you'd hoped, and inevitably, at some juncture, they fall apart.
"In a way, I think relationships are the one creative act every human being partakes in."
Shackleton, the band's recently-released EP, takes its songs from a yet-to-be-released album tentatively titled The Cities We Planned, The Cities We Made, a title which gets to the heart of a lot of the lyrical content on the album itself.
"[That title] implies that they're different, that nothing ever turns out in the nice, idealized way blueprints look," says Cayouette. "There's a lot about loss, devastation, but more idiosyncratically, there are songs about architecture, urban planning, deep-sea diving."
Cayouette knows a thing or two about building, about how long it takes to make something; though Statue Park formed almost a decade ago, the forthcoming full-length will be their first, and was precipitated by a years-long period of inactivity, which was prompted by a breakup, which itself was the product of some bad luck.
"We put out two EPs [in 2004 and 2005]. We had recorded demos for a full-length, our hard drive got stolen, and after a shitty cross-Canadian tour, everyone quit."
For a while, he spent time in Chinatown, a Montreal-based franco-pop band which had its own successes. Then, in 2010, a heartbroken Cayouette hit the road to do some soul-searching, and the songs that he wrote during that time helped put Statue Park back together. Unsurprisingly, a lot of the songs are about the concept of relationships. Shockingly they're not overwhelmingly happy in tone.
"I don't come from the west coast, so it's hard for me to write about having fun at the beach, but it's not all 100 percent about the negativity," he says. "I just tend to be more interested in struggle, conflict, being at odds with your environment [and] with yourself.
"I could write about a diver who really likes his job, but I find it more interesting to write about a diver who finds it more and more difficult to find reasons to come back up."
It's pretty dour-sounding stuff, lyrically, and yet the music itself is calmly but clearly alive; spare and sparse, it almost necessarily can't be soaked in bad moods. Still, one can't help but think Cayouette has to work hard to shed the "downer" label.
"Sometimes," he says, "but it doesn't really come through all the time, only in my writing. If I want to have fun, and I do, a lot, I'll go dancing to soul music, not write a song."