Northern Transmissions catches up with Current Swell’s Dave Lang just after winning top spot in the PEAK Performance Project 2011
Big congrats to you guys on winning The Peak’s Performance Project. The win was for $100 500, not to shabby. Is a vacation in order?
A: I think so. Vacations are always in order. Ha. We just got back after being on a pretty intense tour of Canada for about the last month and it wipes you out. We all took this last week off to recharge. As
far as using the Peak money to go on vacation, its a bit more complicated than that. We didn’t get a 100 grand in our banks, we have “access” to the 100 grand, so we have to come up with ways to use it that would be agreeable as a good way to help with our careers in music. A lot of our friends think the same way, “you gonna buy a new car” type thing, and we have to take the time to explain why we are still the same broke ass musicians we were before, just with a lot more potential.
When you guys entered were you really pushing yourselves hard, or did you kind of have a laissez faire attitude of let’s just have fun and see what happens?
A: We definitely wanted to not let the competition change the way we have always approached music. Lets have fun with it, lets not break our balls over it. Don’t get me wrong, we are hard working guys, but we didn’t want our fans to get the impression that we would do anything for this competition. So with those values, we looked at the competition as a team, with our manager and all the band mates, and were pretty objective in getting all the different aspects covered to really give it a good shot. In the end, its helped a lot with showing us where our weaknesses were and how we could grow.
How healthy is the Canadian music scene these days?
A: I feel that it is quite healthy, like in BC with this Peak thing, it really helps fuel our local scene.
Toronto and Montreal and Ottawa have always seemed to have a healthy scene, but maybe it’s hard to tell for us. You can become pretty pessimistic if you hit a town on a Tuesday night during exam period, like,*****town has a lame scene, nobody came to our show”. I think maybe if you look at some of the bands that are making it big or big ish then it’s a pretty good indication that Canada has something cool going on right now.
Have there been a lot more gig offerings lately?
A: Yes we are in the middle of a period of rapid growth, where for the first time, we have to look at a calendar and decide what we DONT want to do, as opposed to “what could we do, what could we find in the next 4 months?” We just looked at this years offer to repeat our Hawaiian tour, which we did last year, but there were dates piling on top of dates, and not enough room for a life outside of music. So we took a run down the west coast of the US to play SXSW. We had to axe the Hawaii thing for now because SXSW is such a good opportunity, and the Hawaii tour is more of an amazing surfing exploring fun “tour” where you get to meet and play for a bunch of amazing people…. wait a minute, maybe i’m changing my mind. Haha.
You guys did a tour of Hawaii, how did that come about, and how much fun did you have?
A: It came about in the most interesting way. We have a fan over there named Jason who out of the blue emailed our manager saying, Hey guys, Come to Hawaii! He said he knew all the venues and had a lot of friends who loved the band too, and we would have a great time. Our manager literally forwarded the idea to us and we said “go for it”. Jason and our manager spent some time booking a little tour on Maui, and some radio spots, and next thing you knew, we were flying over. I love when things come together in that way, so organic. We did that whole tour with Jason as our tour manager and we stayed at his house and ended up becoming good friends over the whole thing. It was such a fun trip, getting to see new things in cool places is what we live for almost so getting paid to do it is insane.
Tell me about the big differences in recording “Long Time Ago” compared to previous releases?
A: We took a much closer look at the idea of making a good album, front to back. How it should be “cohesive” was daily talk, as opposed to talking about what songs our “old fans” would like our our “new fans” would like. We boiled down about 25 songs, or song ideas into a 10 song record based on the idea of making one great listen. The songs turned out to be most of our favourite songs anyways, but we were way more aware of the shape of the album as a whole. We also took a long time working on arrangements and structure of songs and songwriting for this album because it can be so rewarding when you feel you got the song right, and when it’s on the album, packaged and sold, there is no turning back, so we tried to get it right. In previous releases, this was never an issue, because we took the approach that a song is a song, and it is how it comes out. No big deal if there is no pre chorus or whatever. This was for sure part of our bands charm, but we didn’t want to do it on this record like we did before.
Are you guys still based in Victoria, or have you moved to a bigger city?
A: Still based in Victoria. It’s a great little city with a good music scene and an awesome spot to have
a life. With Vancouver and Seattle only a ferry ride away I don’t think there is any reason to live in a
How did your Bass Player “Ghostly” get that nickname?
A: It’s actually “Ghosty” or “Ghosty Boy”. I think he got it when he was much younger, but I’m not certain exactly why. I’ve heard a couple different stories so maybe keeping the mystery is better than
me getting it wrong. It comes from his days in Barrie/ Toronto where he got started in music.
You did lots of shows this past year, any memorable ones?
A: For sure, headlining Canada day on Victoria’s parliament lawn. There were like 40 000 ppl there, it
was a sea of people and quite a memorable experience.
How excited are you for worldwide release of “Long Time Ago” in 2012
A: It’s very exciting to see what will happen in 2012, and we are all excited to see where it will take us. When you are recording an album you always look forward to finally being able to release it and tour it. We are playing most of the songs off the album live so it feels new and fresh for us to be supporting the album.