With the release of You Forgot It In People, Broken Social Scene was catapulted from an unknown Canadian band to one of the most talked about groups in indie rock. Before gracing the First Unitarian Church's basement stage in a green tank top and a "Death Cock" hat, Broken Social Scene guitarist Andrew Whiteman took time to talk to Street outside of the church this past Friday night.
Street: The band has said that this is an album to "recreate pop music." Is this a goal that you set for yourselves or something that developed in the studio?
Andrew Whiteman: It just developed over time. At some points we were wondering whether or not we had a compilation record of some kind. We didn't really know what we had on our hands. We still don't.
Do you ever see the band going to a major label and possibly giving up some control?
I don't know if control of the music is the issue with majors. It's just kind of the record industry is going down. The old model is over. That's one major reason not to involve yourself with a major label. We did a deal with the devil, so to speak, in the U.K. We licensed our record to a major label there. We did it, not completely happy about it. But we did do it to break in there and meet a bunch of people. It's not the longest deal. So we could be off of it pretty soon and then we can go our own way because we made a bunch of friends there.
The album was talked about a lot even before release. File-sharing was a big part of that. What were your views on it before release, and has the album's success changed your views?
My views on it before - I don't really know. My computer at home is hooked up for making music, so for some reason when I'm listening to music at home, I can't get it to come through my good speakers. It just comes through the shitty little speakers. So I never kind of bothered. I don't have an MP3 player or whatever. So I didn't have strong views about it, but the web had a huge amount to do with the buzz that's going on. I'm all in favor of it.
Have you ever dreamed of breaking out like this after making music on your own for so long?
It feels great. Now I can be a musician all the time, as opposed to ESL teacher part of the time, and musician part of the time, or just having no time at all. It's absolutely what I want to do.
Have you been the subject of any "sightings"?
I have one funny story about that. Before the album came out in Toronto, down on one of the major streets downtown, there's a yoga studio on a second floor and they were trying to raise awareness because they wanted to put a Tim Horton's Donuts underneath it and that would have ruined their yoga vibe, right? To have a doughnut store making donuts underneath their Shiva, Ganesh oriented space. So I went to a yoga class -- I had never been to yoga, my girlfriend was into it.
So I went to a yoga class, it was terribly painful, I hated it. At the end, the yoga instructor came up to me and he says, "Hey, didn't I see you play last week? Are you in Broken Social Scene?" And then he gets the other instructor and goes, "This guy's in Broken Social Scene!" Broken Social Scene has a lot of yoga fans....
As for anywhere else, nah.