The insanity of Broken Social Scene

    It’s a Saturday night at the Casbah, and Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew is buzzing and tripping over wires as he tries to get his gear ready for the last show of the band’s tour. Along with fellow tourmate Stars, Broken Social Scene has set out to prove that Canada, our neighbor to the north is much hipper than we imagined. Its latest album, You Forgot It In People, is a fever dream of space-rock guitars and disjointed vocals. With as many as 14 members writing, singing and playing on the album, it’s a glorious mess and one of the year’s best albums.

    Drew responds to questions with teenage enthusiasm and is both hilarious and polite. He doesn’t even get sore that I got his name wrong. (Give me a break, there are 14 of them.)

    Guardian: There’s a lot going on in this record. The song “”Almost Crimes”” starts out with a piano riff and then gets interrupted by feedback. What’s the process for writing a song like that? How do you know when the song is done?

    Kevin Drew: Well, Billy, you start writing one song that turns into a total disaster. So you decide on the spot that you should start writing another song, and then in 25 minutes, that turns into something great. And then you say, “”Let’s put this, let’s put that,”” and then you say, “”Who hasn’t played yet?”” And then your friend Leslie [Feist of By Divine Right] comes over and says, “”I love it! Can I just try singing on it really quickly?”” And then she sings on it really quickly and you say, “”That sounds fucking great!”” And then someone says, “”I’d really love to do this little piano intro at the beginning.”” And then they do it, and then you’re like, “”That’s great!”” And then you mix it, and that’s what happens.

    G: You obviously have a lot of material and members to work with. How do you put a record together as a whole?

    KD: There are a lot of people involved, with a lot of influences, doing the things that they need to do to make the music that has to be made for them to be satisfied as human beings. It’s a whole group of people sharing their ideas and getting their influences out, and we knew we weren’t going to make one sound of a record because there are too many human beings involved. We wanted to tackle a few things, like pop, which was something kind of strange to a few of us. We just decided we were going to go in and try to see what happens when you put a whole bunch of people together in a room.

    G: Do you think people are more open to different band setups now, like the Poylphonic Spree, which has 20-something people with different instruments? People are generally predisposed to four skinny white guys playing guitars rather than glockenspiels and whatever else.

    KD: I think Œmore is more’ right now. Look at all these people ‹ it’s a whole Œmore is more’ scenario ‹ the more the merrier. We just really wanted to Œramma jamma,’ man.

    G: This is your first time in San Diego and you guys are obviously gaining a lot of momentum. You’ve gotten rave reviews and the Juno [Canadian music award, won for Best Alternative Album]; how is this momentum affecting the band?

    KD: It’s affecting it quite greatly because there’s purpose for us to do things. Before, you just did it because you loved it, but now you do it because you have to: It’s your life and people want to hear you and it just kind of puts the purpose inside getting in a van and eating shitty food across a fucked-up country for so long.

    G: Do you hope for this band to be a long-term thing?

    KD: It’s gonna be a long-term thing. The only thing that can destroy us is overexposure and that doesn’t happen anymore to bands like us. There’ll be ins and outs and ups and downs and all the things that come with life. There’ll be children, there’ll be marriages, there’ll be pain, there’ll be beauty, there’ll be life and death and rivers and oceans and sidewalks and highways and burgers and fries and potatoes and tomatoes and acoustic guitars and acoustic xylophones and saxophones, violins and spoons, you know? Choirs and punks. There’ll be massages, there’ll be lots of sex. That’s what it will be like. Oh my God, this is the end, eh?

    G: One more. You guys are afraid of overexposure, so you won’t be on TRL anytime soon?

    KD: We were on ŒYou Hear It First’ on MTV.

    G: Oh really? Then I guess you guys are done. You’re not an indie band anymore.

    KD: Yeah, you know what? Indie’s just a legend. But you gotta stay true to the legend.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal