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Library Voices

by admin October 27, 2009

“Pop as fuck,” is the slogan brandished by Library Voices, in an ironically irreverent salute to their punk forefathers, and it suits them. Hailing from Regina, Saskatchewan, this eight-piece array of talented songsmiths kick out the jams in a manner that adds a raw energy to melodic craftsmanship. Instruments range from glockenspiels to a theremin, and stage antics include somersaults into the crowd, rock “n’ roll dance aerobics, and saxophone air spins.
On tour, Library Voices have already shared the stage with the likes of The Most Serene Republic, The Great Lake Swimmers, and Julie Fader. Halifax’s In-Flight Safety have been on the bill for most of the dates and the groups have become soul-mates, or “best band friends forever,” as lead vocalist Carl Johnson told the crowd at Le Petit Campus last Tuesday night.
The beginning of this tour also saw the inclusion of infamous sound-tech Ryan Drabble as a honorary band member. Their Montreal show was his last before meeting up with his band, Slow Down Molasses, of Saskatoon, who are currently touring. They played the same night at L’Hemisphere Gauche.
On top of all the early pre-tour excitement, or perhaps in part because of it, Johnson spent the first leg of the journey direly ill. After three weeks of not speaking, he was put on antibiotics. “And now I’m Superman!” Johnson joked.
“When possible there’s usually a two or three-foot buffer zone from the stage because of all the sweat,” Johnson said. “The girls in the band are just immaculate, but our pants and shirts are drenched because we’ve been hopping around like goof-balls.”
“It’s glandular problems,” stated bassist Hickey-Cameron. “It’s not our fault. We have fun live.”
Sweaty performances need replenishment, and for that, Montreal is a favourite. Despite a lactose intolerance, Johnson’s love of cheese curds has become a real addiction.
“I always sneak away from everyone to stuff my face with cheese curds and go into some sort of curd-coma, stumbling around the streets until they find me, at which point it becomes “How much did you take, how much curds did you take?’ Then they slap me around, throw me inside the van and tell me to sober up before the show. I totally ruined our first show here by eating four bags of cheese curds.”
“And a poutine!” interjected Hickey-Cameron.
“I can’t help myself, I’m an addict,” said Johnson.
The group has recently gone from an absurdly robust ten-piece to a firmly plump eight-piece. Since forming in 2008, they’ve won a CBC Radio 3 Bucky award; reached number three on Radio 3’s charts; and received a nomination for Independent Album of the Year at this years Western Canadian Music Awards for their EP Hunting Ghosts (& Other Collected Shorts).
Touring with that many members is “not as hard as you think it is,” assured Johnson. While hindered by the fact that a group is only as fast as it’s slowest person, LV have adapted small ways to enhance cohesion within the group’s tour schedule.
“It took about a year to make it so that everyone’s bladders are synced,” said Johnson.
“You’ll learn lessons,” said Hickey-Cameron. “Carl and I started sharing coffees instead of getting our own.”
“Also sharing underwear,” admitted Johnson, a joke that is perhaps not completely unfounded.
One benefit to travelling in such a large herd is the social buffer available to subdue inevitable tensions. With so many friends to choose from, it’s easy to implement space between members in a way that is not available to less-populated bands. As well, the bands female component adds “a sensitivity that you really can’t have with all dudes,” said Johnson.
“I couldn’t think of a better career. Or life choice,” Hickey-Cameron corrected himself. “Careers – don’t they come with pension plans and salaries?” He is interrupted by Johnson, who is staring lustily out the window at a depanneur. “Do you think they sell cheese curds?”
Library Voices’ new album is being mixed by Fred Kevorkian, the same man who brought you The National’s Boxer, as well as titles from The White Stripes, Dave Matthews Band, and Iggy Pop. Watch for Library Voices’ 12-song full-length due in March.