CanCulture: So how did you get involved with playing at Osheaga?

Josh Ward: “That’s a good question, usually that sort of stuff is just our managers, booking agents, all that stuff, they kind of deal with it. I kinda just show up, you know. I do what I’m told, I get in the van. But yeah, we played here two years ago, it’s kinda one of those ones that everyone wants to do so it’s in every manager’s best interests to fight and get the bands in here. So yeah, I don’t know how it all goes down but we definitely really wanted to do it, so we did.”

CC: You were shortlisted for a Polaris Prize. How does that feel?

JW: “We did work really hard on the record and we’re really proud of it and stuff so it’s really nice to be recognized that way. Still a little bit baffling, there’s a lot of really great records every year and so it’s really nice to be thrust into that category with all the other excellent artists.”

CC: What do you think your chances are for the Polaris prize?

JW: “I don’t know. I don’t want to speculate. I’ll dodge that answer completely. Honestly, I haven’t actually heard a lot of the records that are on there yet, so I don’t really know. I really like the Arcade Fire record though, and I love love Timber Timbre* so who knows.”

CC: Is Osheaga part of your summer tour?

JW: “Yeah, it’s part of just like a summer of weird little one-off kinda things. A lot of times we leave from home and we get in the van and we’re basically gone for months at a time, whereas this summer it’s been like OK, we’ll fly out here for a couple days and fly home, and then we’ll fly out for a couple more days somewhere else and then we’ll fly home. We’ve done a bunch of shows out West with the Tragically Hip and that was really cool. So it’s just been a whole bunch of weird little bounces around. Really fun, I love that kind of stuff, just being out in the sunshine in different places in Canada, experiencing the different things that each city has to offer, you know. Canada is a really nice place in the summer time, it’s a little different than the winter tours we’re used to.”

CC: What’s it like to see other parts of Canada?

JW: “It’s lovely. It’s one thing to be able to play shows in your own home town, but to then be able to take what you do and bring it out and get it out to people all over the country, it’s really rewarding to know that people actually kinda care and will come back to the shows. We’ve always been lucky. Right at first we had a lot of people from Newfoundland coming out to the shows, so it would be like, my second cousin is here and his roommate showed up. But then after a while, you start seeing faces you don’t recognize and you’re like wow, that person’s not even related to me, this is great. So the more you go out, the bigger the shows get. And what we’re experiencing right now is that, and we do very well in Canada in most cities, and we’re trying to break in down in the US right now and it’s right back to square one, you know. We play these towns and we’re playing for like, four people. It totally depends, you know. We can’t really rely on anything yet, we just keep trying and trying, I guess that’s how you do it. It’s nice to get to see those places anyway.”

CC: What’s your favourite place in Canada?

JW: “I really really love Montreal. It’s one of the best cities in this country, just in terms of it has such a passion to it, there’s the arts scene and the music scene, and film … Everything here is just so energetic and passionate. I lived in Vancouver once when I was in high school, so I kinda still really like that a lot. There’s something very different, kind of laid back, West Coast kind of vibe. Nice weather except when it rains. I like all of Canada, I have to say. There’s never really been too many places where uh, I don’t wanna be here anymore.”

CC: Your latest Album is entitled Seeds. What was the inspiration behind it?

JW: “Tim actually had been exposed to a whole bunch of documentaries like Food Inc., people trying to promote more sustainable eating and survival. We’re all kinda into that idea, trying to reevaluate all those little things you take for granted, you know, how many bottles of water have you been offered in the last couple of days. We have a thing with the band where we try to never drink bottled water unless it’s absolutely the last option, we prefer to have a glass of water. We’re not going to completely change the world on our own but any little thing that you can do to make a difference, it’s in everybody’s best interest to do it. The thing with the seeds, aside from the underlying metaphor behind the record, just the fact that someone buys this thing and says oh wow, some seeds, I wonder what this is all about. And then there’s some info and links inside the record so you can become more informed and more aware about those types of things. And you can plant them and things will grow and that’s kind of cool and different. They actually had a really neat thing in St John’s in a little park where someone got a bunch of people together on Facebook and set up this little page for everyone who bought the album and got the seeds in them to get together. The city set apart little plot of land so everyone could plant them together and grow a little garden. So we have a little garden in St. John’s, it’s kind of neat. It’s about raising awareness, I think. We’re not a very political kind of band, we don’t like to come out and make too many bold statements, but just a little nudge every now and then for people to think to themselves, maybe I should be more aware, how far this particular food has travelled today. Because you can buy local, there are lots of little things we can do to make a difference in the world. And even if just a couple of people change their ways, then maybe it’ll have a ripple effect. Maybe now.”

CC: How is it being in a band with 5 other people?

JW: “Like I said, it’s really great and sometimes it’s not that great. I would think about it as you’re kind of like siblings. I have an older brother, and you just kind of have to take them for granted – not in a bad way – you just to be like OK, this is my family for now and you have to deal with it. If someone’s having a bad day you just stay out of their hair or support each other as much as you can because, ultimately, you all have the same goal. And sometimes if you do get upset or if you’re not feeling right, you can hopefully walk away. You just kind of live and learn through it – I hope. We generally get along really well and we’re kind good, positive forces for each other, I think. You just find a way to make it work.”

CC: What’s next for the band?

JW: “We have some stuff. We have to do the Polaris Gala, certainly. That’s in September, I think there should be a couple of shows surrounding that, because once you go out you might as well play as many shows as you can while you’re gone. We have a little tour around Australia with a great Australian band called the Jezabels. So we’ll hang out with them for a bit, then they’ll come and hang out with us for a bit all around Canada and the US.”

CC: When do you expect your next record to be released?

JW: “Well you’re always thinking about it, trying to squeeze in a few minutes where you can actually write or rehearse. That’s one thing that happens when you tour a lot is you don’t have time for some of those things, let alone hanging out with your family and friends. Even just finding the time to bash out a song. I hear a lot of people write and record in studio, we don’t really work that way. We’ll have an idea for a song and then we’ll try it as many hundreds or thousands of different ways until we all settle on it. On the last record we had a lot of difficulty because we’d rehearse for a couple of days and you’d start to get something really going and then you’re on the road for two and a half months and you don’t ever play it and you forget. It can be really challenging that way. Hopefully we’ll have some little pockets of time where we can be productive musically speaking and then who knows, probably more touring.

Photo courtesy of Tom Cochrane