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Disaster all around

// Jenna Williams
// Jenna Williams

“When I started counting I found out I was in six bands without even realizing it,” says Edmonton’s Ben Disaster. “I’m the kind of person where I need to remain busy or as soon as I sit down I feel like I’m not doing anything and my mind starts panicking and I overthink everything like, ‘Why aren’t I doing this and this person’s doing this? I should be doing that.'”

Disaster realized his extensive music commitments this past December and has since cut the roster down, albeit minimally—”I had my fingers in too many pies and couldn’t really taste anything I was doing,” he says.

These days, Disaster keeps himself plenty busy with his main focus, the band that is his namesake, Love Electric, a punk band called Panic Attack, playing drums for a new as of yet unnamed project and the occasional gig with a country cover group called OK Corral alongside Jessica Jalbert and Brody Irvine from Wool on Wolves, which he’s dubbed his “vacation project.”

“I find when you’re doing music full time and also working you can kind of forget why you do music, and again, watching other people’s success when you’re kind of sitting waiting for things to happen, it’s easy to get bummed out and overthink things, so when we’re doing this it’s a very nice reminder that music is supposed to be fun and it’s just supposed to be played because you enjoy it,” Disaster says. “It’s nice to see the fruits of your labours, but I find planting is just as peaceful and nice as well.”

Considering all of the musical endeavours Disaster has on the go, it comes as no surprise that he’s got several recording projects in the works, too. The most imminent is a seven-inch titled “Close Your Eyes,” a rock-driven collection accented by blown-out sounds that capture the raw intensity Disaster aimed for during the live-off-the-floor recording sessions with Liam Harvey Oswald from the Old Wives.

“We did a short trip out to Winnipeg and we were listening to a lot of glam music and listening to how the snare was so sharp with hand claps and it sounded really crisp and bright,” Disaster says of the blown-out sound he wanted to capture, which was done so in mastering by Matthew Melton of Warm Soda in Oakland, California—a group that piqued Disaster’s interest due to its sonic style. “We didn’t want to capture their sound and imitate it by any means, but I knew that that guy had the idea of what we were going for and a lot of the records that I collect, a lot of it is kind of old ’77 pop-punk stuff and power pop, and a lot of drums are very blown out and the guitars are still very raw, but we didn’t want an overproduced sound; we just wanted to kind of go into the studio and capture everything raw and have the sound blown out to the point where you could still listen to it.”

Next up is an LP called See You Next Spring, due out in late April or early May. The disc was a labour-intensive project for the band, which spent nearly nine months in the studio. Twenty-four tracks were recorded, but only 11 made the final cut.

“When we were recording, we were writing as we were going for the most part, and some of it turned out really well and some of it, it was really interesting but it just didn’t flow with the rest of the songs that we kept,” Disaster explains. “Perhaps later down the road, you know, we’ll end up putting them out as B-sides or something 20 years from now.”

Oh, and there’s another EP in there, too. It’s called Live Off the Lawn and it was released digitally a little while ago, but Disaster hopes to release physical copies alongside the LP. Live Off the Lawn was recorded outdoors near the city centre airport in order to capture the ambiance of the city, and go back to the roots of Ben Disaster.

“When Ben Disaster first started it started off as very simple acoustic music, so I kind of wanted to get back to that and capture a different feeling, so we ended up getting, I think, five songs that I was pretty happy with,” he says. “The rest, again, they were fun to record and I guess for me I was just very picky about overthinking everything and overlistening to everything.”

Picky as he may be, Disaster doesn’t rest on one recording for long—he and the band are already getting to work on material for a future album. Stay tuned.

Fri, Jan 24 (9 pm)
With the Allovers, the Tee-Tahs
Wunderbar ($10)

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