The Spill Canvas Paints Montreal Again

The year is 1999. Chris Carrabba launched what was supposed to be a personal project, which eventually led to him quitting his Florida-based rock band Further Seems Forever, and making Dashboard Confessional the poster boy of acoustic emo.

Fast-forward to 2004, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. After having released a solo acoustic album under the name The Spill Canvas, high school graduate Nick Thomas recruited three band members and did the exact opposite: he turned his solo acoustic punk project into a rock band.

The Spill Canvas may have drawn some Dashboard comparisons earlier on, but by now all analogies are irrelevant. On their first album together, One Fell Swoop, released in August 2005, the members of TSC explored the different avenues of rock music. Now, after signing onto Sire Records last year (former acts include Madonna, The Cure and Depeche Mode; some of the current are Less Than Jake, The Subways and Hot Hot Heat), TSC are preparing to deal big-league cards by releasing a new record this coming summer that is going to have – wait for it – attitude.

“We tried to listen to a lot of older music, from the 70s,” Thomas said, referring to the inspiration for the new album. “There’s a kind of music that we never really experienced, because we’re so young – all of us are born in the 80s. So we just never got to experience that, but attitude towards music back then was just so open and vast. So we just took that mindset when it came to writing this new record. There’s a lot of different sounds as well, different styles of rock’n’roll. We definitely explored all that we could do musically, so hopefully it’s a sound that people love.”

Even though they were just in town last fall, The Spill Canvas are debuting a new cross-Canada tour right after Valentine’s Day, beginning in Calgary and hitting Montreal on Feb. 22 “We’ve taken time off after Halloween, up until now, to write 28 or 30 new songs, and getting ready for this new record. Canada is this last stretch that we’re taking before going off to L.A. to record the new album,” Thomas confided. “We’re not sure how it’s going to turn out quite yet, but we know that the new songs so far are definitely the most comfortable we’ve ever been writing. And musically they’re pretty vast: there’s a lot more different areas than we’ve ever tried before.”

Thomas is definitely extremely open-minded when it comes to music in general. When asked about a CD that we might find in his collection but wouldn’t expect to, TSC’s lead singer replied that he likes to keep his iPod music collection “kind of respectable,” just in case someone was to seize it, but still agreed to scroll through his playlists for us. “I do happen to have the new Justin Timberlake record which I really was excited to get. I’m a big fan of Timbaland: the mixing and the beat-making and the song-writing is really awesome, I think, and it’s just very underappreciated. Hum. I have Joss Stone. I have Kelly Clarkson. I just think that she’s cute though, I don’t like her music,” he joked.

If you are impressed – or appalled – by the musicians he listens to, wait to hear whom Thomas parties with. Last summer, at the end of a tour with Motion City Soundtrack and the Plain White T’s, TSC ended up in Orlando, Florida, hanging out with someone who had befriended MCS the year before. “It turned out he was one of the former members of N*SYNC,” Thomas said. “It’s Chris Kirkpatrick, the guy with the dreadlocks. He threw a little party at his house, and after the show all the bands took advantage of it. It was awesome. I actually don’t want to go into details but it’s probably one of the most craziest nights of our band lives.”

He may have gone a long way from being the lonely boy with the acoustic guitar and his heart on his sleeve, but Thomas insists that he, along with bandmates Joe Beck (drums), Scott McGuire (bass) and Dan Ludeman (guitar, vocals), is still just an ordinary, nerdy guy. For further proof, you are being invited to visit the band’s MySpace page and watch videos of the boys engaging in extremely stimulating and challenging activities such as grocery shopping.

“We’re just like everybody else – it just so happens that we’re more musically inclined,” Thomas commented. “But at the end of the day, we’re trying to connect with everyone as much as we can.”

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