After releasing their critically acclaimed (and much buzzed about) debut full length Meet Me at the Muster Station on one of our favourite labels around CJLO, Paper Bag Records, Kingston noise-pop duo PS I Love You dropped by the CJLO studios to record a session and interview.
NOTE - Audio for the interview is available below. Transcription courtesy of Alex Rabot.
Omar: Thanks for coming down to the studio, guys. This was kind of a stripped down set for you cuz we just had a small little practice amp for you...
Paul Saulnier: Yeah, a little bit.
O: I guess that's not what you're usually used to playing live.
P: Not really... I mean, a lot of people will say that any good song will hold up, no matter what the instruments you play, but... that's not true of our songs though.
P: At all.
Benjamin Nelson: Should be loud.
O: So, you guy's've been around for a couple of years now, right?
P: Uh, yeah.
O: And you have a 7" (Starfield 7", 2010) and an EP out...
P: We have two 7"s, one we did a split with Diamond Rings, that sold out, and we have a couple of copies left of our Starfield 7", and we have a full length album out on Paper Bag Records... sold out of the vinyl, but we're gonna make more!
B: Yeah, we're gonna make more, thank God, and we'll be putting out more 7"s on Paper Bag.
P: Yeah, soon! Plus Paper Bag is re-issuing our first EP (EP, 2008, first released on Apple Crisp Records), that I did a few years ago, that I just did in Kingston, on my own... it's already available digitally, but we'll have CDs at our shows coming up soon.
O: And you just finished a tour with Diamond Rings recently.
P: We did just a week in Southern Ontario, then Montreal was as far East as we got. That was amazing.
O: Are you guys old buddies with them?
B: Yeah... we've known them for a year and a half now, and it's been best buddies ever since we met.
P: Total best buds.
O: Both of you seem to be getting a lot of press these days, is it kind of bizarre that all of a sudden people are starting to write about you?
B: It's a little weird... it's nice, but I think, we're so busy that we haven't been able to fathom anything, but... it's a little strange...
P: I've tried to fathom.
B: It's more... I've tried to fathom.
B: It's more strangers coming to our shows, I guess. Coming to see us and being really into us, it's really nice.
P: It's too many strangers, and our friends who don't buy tickets can't get into shows.
B: Yep, it's true.
O: It must be cool though, after a couple of years of doing this, that all of a sudden, it almost seems like in just a few days or so people have heard the new album and are all over what you're doing.
P: Yeah, I guess that's pretty cool, it is encouraging.
O: Have you, FATHOMED IT, Paul?
P: No. *laughs* I'm not fathoming things, and I could probably find things to complain about.
B: You probably could.
O: So you're in Montreal and you're playing the M for Montreal showcase tonight, have you done industry showcases like this before?
P: Uhh, sort of, we played CMW in Toronto.
B: Is CMJ like that?
P: CMJ, in New York, is pretty industry-driven, so yeah, we're familiar with, I guess, this type of crowd.
B: This one seems a little more... focused. Way less bands playing.
O: *laughs* That's a good way to put it.
B: There's less.. there's more focus on finding out which bands people are gonna come see, I dunno. I like it, I really like it. It's short.
P: Yeah, we're good at doing short sets! Our songs are short.
O: A short blast?
O: Is it weird to be playing to people like that [in the industry] as opposed to fans or the general public.
P: I'm sure it'll be the same... When we play I never look at the crowd...
B: Me neither.
P: ...It's just a bunch of people, right? What's the big deal?
P: Are they all going to be wearing suits, with clipboards?
O: Who knows? With ponytails, and afterwards, they'll be all "we're gonna make you guys STARS". Gene Simmons (The Demon, Kiss) might be there.
B: Yeah... we'll see how that goes.
O: With Gene Simmons?
P: I don't have any comments about Gene Simmons.
B: He's ok.
O: Aww... I was hoping for haters. I hate the guy.
O: So much.
P: Yeah, it's kind of a GIVEN...
B: He might be listening.
P: Yeah... he's definitely not listening. We have a lot of private, fun-times hating on Gene Simmons.
P: Is this the proper arena to hate on Gene Simmons? Maybe.
O: It's more for private time? And not for public time.
B: I like some Kiss songs! The man, I don't know him. So maybe I'll meet him tonight, and give you my opinion later.
P: It would be great to meet him... I would like to touch his hair. I bet it's like soft steel wool.
O: The full-length (Meet Me at the Muster Station, 2010, Paper Bag Records), how long did it take to put this together?
P: Uh, that actually took a couple of years, because we didn't really go into a studio and record an album in a traditional sense, we kinda, we had friends come into our jam space and record us playing songs, then I would do some overdubs, and we were sort of recording it as we were writing songs. The past couple years.
A couple [songs] were really old ones, Benjamin and I did together. We just took our time, we had it all recorded before we had a record label and stuff, too. We were just recording it because that's what we wanted to do.
B: When we [decided] "let's make a record", we didn't have any full-length plans, at the time, but it gave us a reason to just go ahead and do it and finish it. Document it.
O: Is it hard to find a common thread for all the songs, when you're recording in that manner?
P: Uh, no. There's already common threads between the songs, no matter when they're recorded, they're all mixed and produced by the same person, our friend Matt Rogalsky. We mixed it all in a small studio, and made it sound like all one session. Through the magic of mixing boards. And reverb.
O: It must have a bit of different texture, based on how there's songs from different times...
P: It all represents the way, Ben and I, we play live... We always played them the same way live. So they're not going to be any different, one to another.
O: I'm sure people have asked you before, but have you thought of playing with more people? How did it only end up being just you two? Cuz, you're pretty loud for only two guys.
P: Yeah, I sorta... I started this four years ago, when it was just me, it was just for a fun, sort of a weird pop thing, we only started to get really loud when we got Benjamin to play drums, it was like...
O: You had to keep up with him?
P: Yeah, it got gradually louder and louder. And I think we can both agree it's gotten better and better?
B: Sure, yes.
P: *distracted* Um... I've... lost track of what I was saying. What are we talking about?
B: "How did I change your life?"
P: *laughs* THAT's what we were talking about? The question?
B: Yeah, Paul and I, we were in another band, we had a good musical thing, and he had a solo thing, and there was a concert where he was finally gonna play live to release his EP, and I played drums, and it was great, and, I dunno... Paul, you have something to say?
P: I remember what the question was! Why don't we have any other members.
B: Oh, right.
P: I think it was because I'm actually, crazy? It's kind of amazing that I found...
O: Ben can tolerate it?
P: No, no, it's not that, it's not like I'm maniacal, but I'm obsessed with the sound of our band.
P: It's kind of amazing that Ben and I work together so well.
B: But if somebody else came into the mix, it would kind of screw things up. Probably.
P: Unless there's, like, a really special person out there.
B: Like John O'Reagan?
P: John O'Reagan, that would be great, but...
B: But that's not gonna happen, no.
P: We're still a duo, we'll always be a duo. Sometimes we'll have guest musicians. And sometimes John O'Reagan, aka Diamond Rings, joins us onstage, and plays guitar, and sings, and stuff. But mostly that's just for fun, excitement, comraderie...
B: And we can't fit another person in the van, so... not gonna happen.
P: No. We really can't.
O: In the band name, the PS, is actually your initials, I think?
P: Yeah, that's the sick joke behind it all...
O: Alright, cool... thanks guys, I think I touched a nerve...
P: No, really! You didn't!
B: No problem.
P: It's just I was waiting for you to ask about that movie, but you didn't, so I'm glad!
P: I'm really glad.
B: Paul found out recently, though, that there is a Perfect Strangers fanclub that's also called 'PS I Love You'.
O: My sister actually got me Seasons 1 and 2 of that for my Birthday, I was JUST watching some!
P: Yeah, check it out! Perfect Strangers fanclub 'PS I Love You'. It's all online now, but they used to make zines in the 90s.
O: On your next album you could have a picture of Balki on it... you should cover the theme song!
B: We could do something. That's a tough one... did you know, there's Full House, there's Step by Step, and then Urkel, and Perfect Strangers, they all had the same band?
P: Family Matters.
B: Yeah, Family Matters, I know. It was all the same band. You can look that up online.
O: Fun facts with PS I Love You.
P: Was it Jesse and the Rippers?
B: It was not, in fact, Jesse and the Rippers. It was way better.
O: Thanks guys, for coming by!
P: We'll be back.