Julie Doiron divides her time between Montreal and Sackville, New Brunswick. She is an established artist who has recorded on arguably one of the best indie imprints ever, Sub Pop, with her old band Eric’s Trip in the early 1990s. Nowadays, she plays with drummer Fred Squire as a solo act, and is definitely someone to watch in 2009. The Concordian spoke with her over the phone in New Brunswick about the past, politics, working with Herman Dune, the new album, and how to avoid hangovers.
I’m sure you’re always asked about Eric’s Trip, being that it was a seminal Canadian indie band. Do you look back on that experience with fondness?
Yeah, I feel really good about that experience. For the first few years after we broke up I was really frustrated by the fact that I had to start all over again, and I didn’t really realize that that band was as important as it seemed to be, to some people. I can look back on it now and realize how it was really important, and I do remember it really fondly.
Was there anything in particular that made you realize it was important? Was it the fans?
I think it was probably because I have toured all over the place for many years, under my own name, [and] every time I would tour in France, or Sweden, anywhere, people were always really excited about Eric’s Trip. I started to realize as the years went by that way more people knew who that band than I had ever realized.
I know you guys still record together. Do you still find the creative process is just as fun, and just as easy as it was almost 20 years ago?
They recorded with me for Woke Myself Up, that came out in 2007, and that was really fun to try. It was a different thing than actually working on an Eric’s Trip album – they were all my songs. So it was a little different because it was my project with the Eric’s Trip guys, but it was really fun. With this new album, it was just Fred Squire, who’s been playing drums with me for a couple years and Rick, so this one was a little different, but working with Rick [Rick White from Eric’s Trip, who recorded the new album – ed.] is really great.
How did I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day come together? I read in your press kit that you would draw ideas from what was happening to you on a daily basis?
Yeah, definitely. I think for this album, it was the first time I’ve been lucky to go in to record an album, and already have a lot of the songs [written]. We had already been playing quite a bit of the songs live. I’ve always dreamed of doing that, because in the past I used to make the records, and it would be the first time anyone would hear the songs, and then I would play them live [for the first time], and they would change quite a bit from when I would [first] record them, to what they’d end up being after a couple of years touring.
So this is kind of the opposite process?
Yeah, so this time I had a lot of the songs written before hand. Fred and I had been touring them as a two-piece, [so] it wasn’t as daunting going into the studio – I knew how they’d at least sound. I wrote three songs at Rick’s house, while we were there recording. I think most of the songs like you said, come from the day-to-day experience – thinking about what I have to do tomorrow, thinking about what I did today. It seems a bit lame maybe in some regard, [but] I wouldn’t want to try to be political or anything like that. I wouldn’t feel confident in finding a poetic way to be political.
What’s it like working with Herman Dune?
They’re awesome. They’re really great guys, they absolutely love music. It was a real thrill to not only have them back me up, but to play bass with them for quite a while, and then be on one of their albums, that was really fun. When I met them, they were full-on university students – I don’t think they were really intent on becoming a rock band.
Since the new album is about to drop, how well do you take criticism?
I haven’t read any of the reviews yet, I have a manager that does, and he told me the other day that I got my first bad review. I used to read the reviews a long time ago, like 10 years ago, and unfortunately even if you have 60 good ones, the one bad one will overshadow them. I haven’t read reviews since then.
One last question, what is the best advice you’ve received lately?
A good friend told me, for every drink, regardless of beer or wine or whatever, you should follow it up with water, before having another!
You can see Julie Doiron playing a live show at Il Matore on March 28. Her new LP, I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day, is out March 24, on Jagjaguar/Endearing.