depopulated:

WOMEN

Posted in interview, music by Trevor on March 12, 2009
Left to right: Matthew Flegel, Patrick Flegel, Chris Reimer, Michael Wallace

Women, left to right: Matthew Flegel, Patrick Flegel, Chris Reimer, Michael Wallace

Calgary’s hardest band to google, Women, played at the Bottom Lounge with Chicago acts Volcano!, Thin Hymns and Bengal Lancer last night. The four dudes from Canada squeezed onto a little couch in the freezing back room to say a few words about gear-hunting, inexplicable small-town European crowds and would you please stop calling them lo-fi.

Phoenix: So, you guys just got back from Europe, right? How long were you there for?
Christopher Reimer [Guitarist]: Yeah. We were there for three weeks.

P: Did you get much time to do anything besides travel and play shows?
CR: Yeah, we actually did a lot. We had a couple of spots where the drives were really short, so we ended up in the city the night before. We rode around Berlin and went to museums. We were on this island in Spain, where we rented bikes and just rode around this island for four or five hours.
Patrick Flegel [Guitarist, vocalist]: It was the best day of my life.
CR: Yeah it was probably the best day of all of our lives.

P: Did you draw a big crowd overseas?
PF: Somehow — Yeah, it was really weird, being in a not-very-big city in Spain and —
CR: And having like a hundred people show up.

P: I’ve noticed sort of a big lo-fi movement across the Atlantic, and I could see you guys as being kind of part of that — your record was recorded in Chad VanGaalen’s basement on, like, boom-boxes. What draws you to that sound?
PF: We wanted it to sound like recordings that we really like from the ’70s. But we definitely, definitely don’t feel a part of the lo-fi thing. It’s not like we’re trying to do that at all. A lot of people say we’re similar to acts such as Times New Viking and Wavves, stuff like that, but I don’t really feel like that’s what we’re doing. We’re really just trying to make our music sound old.

P: I, for some reason, was looking at your stage plot on the Internet, and noticed that you keep it pretty simple. For instance, you only use a four-piece drum set. Is that just easier to travel with or do you like having it —
Michael Wallace [Drummer]: Yeah — I don’t know — it’s nice to not have a lot; just the simplicity of it and working within that is nice. It’s funny that you say that, because [four-piece drum sets] are totally common. But yeah, I only use one cymbal: it doubles for a ride and a crash.
Matthew Flegel [Bassist, vocalist]: We were going to kick him out of the band if he used a crash.

P: You guys are going to be in the van for a couple of more months now —
CR: A month, on this tour, and then a few weeks off. We’re going to try to do some writing; we haven’t really had a chance.

P: You said earlier that you have four new songs. Those came from before this tour, then?
PF: A couple of them, yeah. A couple we arranged while we were on the road.
CR: We had the parts, we just kind of slapped them together. One we’ve been playing since our first tour — we wrote it half-way through our first tour.
PF: So they’re not really new.

P: Well so how do you pass the time on the road? Do you have some favorite road tunes?
PF: It’s pretty awesome to have an iPod with your entire record collection on it at once. Endless options as far as music goes.
CR: It’s pretty hard to get tired of listening to music.
PF: If we had twenty CDs we’d probably be sitting in silence. But we can just cover so much ground — you don’t really get sick of it.
MF: We found a Patsy Kline tape at the gas station
P: New or used?
MW: New, actually, which is nice because it sounds good. It was five bucks.
MF: We got a Billy Joel cassette, Bill Cosby — which, the tape is fucked, so it’s the funniest thing in the world.
MW: Sounds like the antichrist.
MF: Or Electric Lady Land.

P: You’re on Jagjaguwar in the states and Flemish Eye in Canada. How does that work out? You’ve known [labelmate] Chad Vangaalen for quite a while, right?
CR: He doesn’t actually run the label. A guy named Ian Russel does.
PF: Ian’s a champ.
CR: Ian’s probably the reason [VanGaalen] got his act together to put music out.
PF: It took him to say ‘Hey, this is really good, do something with it.’ Ian’s been a really good friend to us for years. We used to go see him play in a really great band named Fake Cops in Calgary every time they played.
We were playing in a post-math-rock … -whatever … when we were really young — like 17, 18 — and he was really into that. When he heard that we were starting a new project like six or seven years later, he was interested in putting it out, and it kind of took off from there. And there’s no way we would have ended up on Jagjaguwar if it wasn’t for him.

P: Did you guys kind of grow up on that sort of math-rock thing?
PF: No … Velvet Underground
MF: The Everly Brothers
PF: Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins. Oh, and I was crazy into Radiohead, too. I saw them when I was in grade 7, in Calgary — it was fucking insane. It helps that [Matthew] got me high for the first time then. And sent me home on the bus, alone. [Laughter].
And then we went through kind of a metal phase. We listened to a lot of Mogwai, Converge and shit like that.
MW: Dillinger Escape Plan …

P: Are you going to do any recording this summer?
PF: Hopefully.
CR: When we get some time off at home we are going to try to get some space and do some recording. We bought a two-track reel-to-reel in Minneapolis for a hundred bucks, and we’re getting excited. We’ve been finding a lot of really great gear in [U.S.] shops.
MW: That’s really what this tour is about: scouring the nation for gear.
CR: It’s impossible to find stuff in Canada.

P: I’ve had sort of the opposite experience. I used to go to Canada to buy my hockey equipment.
PF: Is there a game tonight? I saw a lot of dudes in Blackhawks jerseys earlier.
MF: Fuck it, lets go to the game.

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