The Living Proof, the new album from Toronto roots-rock duo Sunparlour Players (Andrew Penner and Michael “Rosie” Rosenthal) encapsulates shared influences of folk, electronic and punk, creating tracks that are firmly planted in the present while embracing the future. Oh, and there’s a song that explains how to make your own version of the Sunparlour Players’ infamous Sunparlour Preserves. Prior to the duo’s show in Edmonton, Penner answered a few questions for Vue about the process behind The Living Proof.
Vue Weekly: How long did it take to make The Living Proof from the initial songwriting through to the end of the recording?
Andrew Penner: About a year. Although some songs are a few years old and some where written two weeks before we recorded them. But I’ll go with a nice answer of around a year.
VW: When you were writing the songs, did you come at them in a particular way? Lyrics first? Music first?
AP: It’s often a melody that comes first. Then the lyrics uncover themselves as they’re thought [out]. Then we get together and create the full sound that ends up on record.
VW: Where did the lyrics begin for you and what did you want to express with this album?
AP: I was looking to create the feeling that we are looking forward and not back. And that there’s a moving, raw and living nerve we’re tapped into.
VW: What were the recording sessions like for this album? Is this the kind of thing you recorded live or did you piece it together one track at a time? Why?
AP: We track the core of the songs together and then build on that with all the fun stuff. If you don’t get a strong and interesting core, you’re just pissing in the wind.
VW: Were there any other songs written that were left off the album?
AP: Yes. We always overwrite. We’ve found some songs just don’t want to be on certain albums. “Erie Lake Moses,” for example, I wanted on every record, but the song just never came together until now. They’re hard things to catch sometimes. Other times groupings of songs bully other songs out, no matter how much you like them. It’s an entertaining process.
VW: How did you decide which songs to include on the album? Did you have an idea of what you wanted The Living Proof to be when you started, or did the finished shape emerge as the writing and recording went along?
AP: The shape of a record has always shown itself during the process. It may sound a bit odd, but it (the album) kinda lets you know what it wants.
VW: You worked with Chris Stringer to produce the album. What drew you to him and what did he bring to the process?
AP: We did our last record with him, too (Us Little Devils), and we had a blast. This time around he was our first choice and we don’t regret it. He’s doing amazing work and he did it again with us. His love of old country and metal is close to our hearts. I’m not really joking about that either.
VW: If you were to trace the musical map that led you to The Living Proof what would it look like?
AP: It would start with our live show and end with our live show. It has to translate in front of people. The record has so many textures and dimensions, but its gotta work as a living thing. V
Fri, May 2 (8 pm)
Artery, $18 in advance, $22 day of show