North By North East has started off on the right foot and I had a chance to interview a few bands in anticipation for some shows. First up, the Chicago-based trio of Bailiff; they are a indie rock band with folk roots from around the world in their music.
I interviewed them over the phone while they were getting ready to leave Detroit for Toronto.
Me: Overall, with Bailiff, what are the main musical influences?
Josh: I’m gonna say…. Richard Thompson.
Owen: It’s hard, there’s a lot of stuff. Definitely recently, it could be just one song that grabs our ears and makes it’s way into our songs. I mean, as probably a foundation, definitely like rock bands from the late 60s and early 70s and pop stuff from the 80s are two general touchstones.
Josh: that and Richard Thompson.
Me: How was recording the newest EP compared to the other two?
Owen: The material for the EP, we recorded it in the same studio and with the same engineer as Red Balloon LP. Beau Sorenson (Death Cab for Cutie, Yellow Ostrich, Tegan & Sara) he has a strange sense of humour so we were able to get along for two weeks, which was important.
Josh: We knew the songs a lot better, so we were able to spend more time just messing with the songs where the other times we had last minute solutions to make them happen and that was exciting, but also incredibly nerve-wracking. We were alot more prepared going into the studio.
Me: Cool, compared to American fans, how do Canadian fans differ? Do you have a really good response up in Canada?
Ren: I’ll say that every time that we play Canada, we have a tremendous response. Always felt like we just played good shows and the audiences are very respectful. We’ve played in Toronto twice and this is our third time, and we’ve played in Vancouver and whether it was a Friday night, Saturday night or Tuesday night, the audiences were ready to hear original works and show their support, so we have had a really good time playing in Canada. And not saying it doesn’t happen in the States, just we have had awesome exchanges in Canada.
Me: Nice, and it’s the last question: For you guys, what does “Indie” mean for you?
Owen: We probably all have separate ideas on it. For me, I think that it’s kind of two things, that are sort of related. There is definitely the fact that our albums are self-released and that we are self-managed. We work with a booking agent, we work with a publicist, but we are still directing our own careers, and the band as a business and as an art collective. I think that is the career side, and that is reflected in the music too in that we sort of are not writing the music towards a chart, we are writing the music that excites us and with the hope that it excites our audience.
Ren: Sums it up for me too.
Josh: Did you want to know for the rock scene or for Bailiff as a band?
Me: Kind of both.
Josh: Well, I think originally, the first band that I heard of described as “Indie Rock” was Modest Mouse. So I always interpreted it as a lead singer with a quirky voice and then I always think of indie rock as band with pots and pans instead of cymbals. I don’t even know, I always think of it as catchy but outside-the-box type of music.
Me: Thank you so much for doing the interview and will see you guys in Toronto.
All: Thank you.
Check out their show at The Hideout tomorrow (June 20th) at midnight, as well as the NXNE BBQ on Saturday (June 21st) and at the Cavern Bar Saturday night.