Alvvays members Molly Rankin and Kerri MacLellan have been friends since they were really young kids. The two met Alec O’ Hanley in High School and have been making music together ever since. The band has toured recently with The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and Pete Bjorn And John, and are about to hit Europe with Real Estate. Their new self-titled album featuring the single “Archie Marry Me” is now out on Polyvinyl/Royal mountain Records. We had the chance to catch up with Molly for a quick chat.
Northern Transmissions: The band had quite the experience on the video shoot for “Archie Marry Me”. What exactly happened?
Molly Rankin: Our friend’s parents live on an amazing sailboat, and we thought it’d be fun to film us sailing around Toronto Island. Around half-way through, we heard an explosion inside the camera and found out it was the battery. Thanks to Google, we were able to find out how to neutralize the acid and carried on with the day.
NT: As well, you shot in Super 8 again. What attracts to you to this format?
MR: Film is much more forgiving but also a gamble. We actually intended to have a high-def digital video, but the stuff we shot with a full film crew and a nice camera didn’t feel right and so we reverted back to our old ways.
NT: You worked with Chad Van Gaalen and John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr.) on your debut self-titled debut. How did you round up so much talent to work on your first album?
MR: Emailing is a powerful tool. We got lucky in the way that everyone seemed to have the right block of time open when we asked them to help out.
NT: Are you surprised at how fast things are going for the band? NME has said “Alvvays are a band everyone should see.” “Archie Marry Me” has also been the most added song on U.S college radio.
MR: We’ve all been involved with other projects prior to Alvvays and know what it’s like to have things go stagnant and to spend months in a van with no growth or momentum. The record came out way later than we’d liked at the time, but we were also pushing to have the right support for its release. We’re lucky now in the way that we can be more selective about things and focus on stuff we like.
NT: You grew up in a pretty musical household. Did you get a lot of encouragement from your family to play when you were growing up?
MR: My great grandmother used to bribe me with bananas to step dance in the kitchen. At the time, I thought it was a great deal but in hindsight, I was literally her monkey.
NT: Can you tell us about the track “The Agency Group” and the inspiration behind it?
MR: When we were working on the song, we were having a hard time getting shows in Toronto. I don’t actually know what The Agency Group building looks like. I was more so imagining being parked outside the UPEI library, but it’s not really all that exciting, you know?
NT: our songs deal with drunkenness, death, and defeat but come across a bit more light-hearted. Did you want to make a record that was a bit more accessible to listeners, and maybe not so dark sounding?
MR: We didn’t plan anything conceptually about the record. I wasn’t worried if the poppiness of our sound didn’t balance out the darkness of the lyrical content because I didn’t think people would pay attention to the lyrics or the record for that matter.
NT: Which five albums are still inspiring you?
Takes Time- Jim Guthrie
You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever- Orange Juice
ABBA Gold – ABBA
Heaven Or Las Vegas- Cocteau Twins
Crazy Rhythms- The Feelies