“We’re not that cool yet”. Close Talker im Interview

Über die Band Close Talker aus Saskatoon in Kanada bin ich bei der Zusammenstellung eines meiner Mixtapes gestolpert. Ihr Song “For The Sun” erinnert mich an die alten Foals, hat aber eine starke eigenständige Note. Kurz nach der Veröffentlichung von Mixahulababy 346 meldete sich ihr Manager bei mir, ohne zu wissen, dass ich “seine” Band ein paar Tage zuvor schon vorgestellt hatte. Wir schrieben uns ein paar nette E-Mails und ich packte die Gelegenheit beim Schopfe und fragte nach einem Interview, dessen Fragen die Band mir erstaunlich schnell und ausführlich beantwortete. Diesmal aufgrund des Umfangs ohne Übersetzung, aber das sollte ja kein Problem sein, oder?

Hello! Thanks for taking the time answering some questions! Can you please introduce yourself?

Hi there. My name is Matthew Kopperud!
Will Quiring – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Matthew Kopperud – Guitar, Keys, Vocals
Chris Morien – Drums, Vocals
Jerms Olson – Bass, Vocals

You formed your band back in 2012. Please tell me a little bit about how, when and why you formed your band.

We sort of formed by accident and although our intentions as individuals always involved forming a band, Close Talker came together spontaneously. Chris, Will and I had known each other for a long time both musically and socially. Chris and I grew up together since kindergarten and picked up our first instruments in grade 6 and learned Smoke on the Water together. Shortly after we met Will who eventually joined a band with Chris.

After highschool a mutual friend asked us all to form a band to play cover songs at a wedding dance, which is where we met Jerms, our bassist. We only had time to plan an hour-long set which we stretched into two hours, playing songs such as a groovy version of Sunday Morning by K-os and straight up hick version of Sweet Home Alabama which we had to play again so the groom’s dad could bust out an organ to play a solo over the intro.

Jerms was one of the groomsmen and was the life of the dance floor with his infamous finger-wag dancing. That night was definitely a catalyst for starting the band.

The night was fun enough to make us consider pursuing an open mic in Saskatoon but we needed a bassist, so we got ahold of Jerms and here we are three years later still playing Sweet Home Alabama every single set. Just kidding… we wish.

You will release your second album in a few days. Nervous? Happy? Exited?

We are definitely excited to finally share with the world what seems like a well-kept secret. We wrote these songs, what feels like an eternity ago and during the time between recording them and now releasing them, we had time to grow in appreciation for the songs, as there were short seasons where we forgot all about them and then sort of rediscovered them.

It was in that rediscovery that I think our anticipation has grown and made releasing the songs all the more exciting. There is definitely an element of nervousness clinging to the excitement, as I would suspect goes along with any artist putting themselves or their efforts out there.

We desperately want to be cool and artistic enough not to care about what others think, but we definitely do.

Although ultimately we set out to only impress or challenge ourselves artistically and musically, we still want to be well received by our audiences. We desperately want to be cool and artistic enough not to care about what others think, but we definitely do. We’re not that cool yet haha.

With that being said, no matter the nervousness or anxiety that goes along with releasing something meaningful, we are pleased and happy with the songs and feel they represent an honest expression of where we are at both musically and lyrically.

You are compared to Bombay Bicycle Club and Local Natives, which I find a little bit unfair, because you definitely have your own style and sound. What are your main influences? How would you describe your music to someone, who has never heard of you?

That boggles our minds that we’ve been compared to such heavy-hitting bands that we respect so much. It is incredibly humbling and flattering… #blushing. Although both of those bands would fall into a category that has influenced us, we’ve tried to be incredibly intentional about being original and not jumping on any trending gimmicks. We used to have a giant kick drum/floor tom at the front of the stage but soon began hating ourselves for it and ditched it in a hurry.

Other bands that have influenced and inspired us would include: The National, Antlers, and Half Moon Run etc. As individuals we are actually super diverse in what we listen to, but those are some bands that get good airtime in our van. 

Describing our music is a challenge although it is a question we are asked all the time. In short, it would be fair to say that we are ambient, indie, pop-rock.

Words are so limited though and those specific words are incredibly vague. I guess I would urge people to listen and try to figure it out themselves. Not that we pride ourselves in our evasiveness or efforts to not be pigeon holed, but we are definitely intentional about not falling into one particular camp so to speak. Our hope is that we would require at least 3 or 4 adjectives to describe us.

Was it hard to define a band sound with your four different characters or did you just met, jammed and find your way right away?

Hmm… That is an excellent question. I would say that we’ve very much been on the same page in regards to the band and its sound, but with that, we’ve all collectively turned some pages together. For example, when we started out we played simpler music with lots of hooks and toe-tapping moments.

We’ve since moved into a direction that we feel has more depth, a little less “safe” and a little more sustainable music and style for our artistic needs. What I mean by that is, we have hopefully matured in our song writing and strayed away from melodies or parts that we know are incredibly sticky and that our moms would love.

We’ve tried to be a little more abstract lately verses where we started as a band. Although we’ve progressed as band, we’ve always remained “in tune” with each other (just a little friendly pun there to keep things light haha).

Which are your 3 main struggles as a musician today?

Myself personally… I struggle with musical ADD haha. In particular with playing some of our older and simpler songs and my arrangements and parts. I am constantly getting on the guys nerves and changing my parts due to boredom. Luckily that isn’t the case with our new tunes because they are incredibly hard to play.

Another struggle I have, if it isn’t too deep or personal, is remaining connected with all those I love while touring or arguably too far-gone into the band and/or music. Music is very consuming for me and I have to constantly be having reality checks and making sure that I am accessible to my friends and family and those I love most. Music is a passion of mine, but doesn’t hold a candle next to my fiancé, family, or friends.

Not to speak on behalf of my band mates, but I think that is a shared struggle we all have and much of what the album “flux” is about. The struggle to find balance in a season that is jam-packed with change in all areas. As a band we are currently super focused yet we do have a strong understanding and support for one another in our individual social lives. BUT to say that we have a perfect balance that caters to our passionate music needs or “chasing the dream” and our social needs and respecting those we love most would be a lie.

We are a young band and trying to find that balance, as the demanding music scene is new to us. We will likely never get it right and constantly sway back and forth only grazing that perfect medium from time to time, but then again, maybe that is the perfect balance.

Do you think it can boost your popularity if you give away your music for free?

I think, at least for us, the name of the game and our greatest efforts are focused on exposure. So… yes is the answer to your question I suppose. We simply want to be heard in contexts and demographics beyond our own personal reach. With that, we understand that to have any fighting chance of making money or being semi-professional (whatever that means) you have to do some intense grunt work and put your head down and go for it. That is where we are.

We haven’t made a dime as individuals and are at peace with not making a dime for a while. Any financial strides we make just go back into investing in the band, which at this time means investing in exposure. We don’t mind being hungry and smelly. I am always hungry and smelly regardless of financial comfort haha. If I were to compress my answer… we just want to be heard. In these modern times, that often means giving music away for free. It doesn’t bother us really. Hopefully people will get behind the music and support us when the record comes out!

Close Talker – HEADS from Nathan Boey on Vimeo.

What are your goals in the near future concerning your music?

Letterman… haha. One of my personal goals is to see the world, granted in the context of touring it isn’t always very glamorous and you often don’t have time to see too to much. I still very much enjoy seeing new places and new things. I think that is a shared goal we have as a band, to see the world for free haha.

Beyond that, we hope to get on some good tours and play for more and more strangers. We would love to land some cool festivals in the summer and ultimately grow as a band. A goal that is on the horizon is hopefully getting to a point as a band where we can pursue it full-time. That would be the dream, for music to be on the “front burner” and our primary focus across the board. It may never happen, but because you asked, I thought I would be vulnerable and answer.

Concerning the very near future, we would love for the new album, “flux” to do well. Not necessarily with sales per se, but with fans. Hopefully our music can win over the hearts of some cool people that we will someday get to meet when we’re seeing the world for free via touring J

If you had to spin only one record on repeat for the rest of your life, what would it be?

That is an intense question… truthfully, I would probably stray away from one of the records I am currently infatuated and pick something timeless or classical like Chopin, Tchaikovsky or maybe an old album that has some classic Hymns. Those songs get me haha. But because it is an awesome question, I must have some honorable mentions. High Violet by The National, Big Echo by The Morning Benders, Small Reveal by Aiden Knight. The list could go on.

What has you most excited for the rest of 2014?

I am really looking forward to playing our hometown CD release show. I love playing music in any location, but it is truly a treat to play at home. Concerts have turned into these beautiful reunions where I get to see all my friends from various “worlds”. Friends from elementary school, friends from sports growing up, friends from church etc.

It is always the craziest combination of people and it is always an amazing honor and humbling experience to see everyone and that they would take the time to come out. I guess that is the case anywhere we play. We are always so grateful that people would take time out of their busy lives to come see some skids from Saskatchewan play the music that they love. I suppose I just wanted to give our beloved Saskatoon a shout out!

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