Wolf Parade go on hiatus, talk about what's on the horizon
by Anne T. Donahue
November 30, 2010
After announcing plans for an indefinite hiatus following their sold-out show at Sound Academy Friday night, Wolf Parade have left fans in wide-eyed dismay as they attempt to make peace with the fact they may be left without the Montreal four-piece for an extended period of time. However, despite what seems to parallel a breakup or the result of bad blood, frontman Dan Boeckner maintains that the break is a merely a result of side projects and hectic schedules, and that despite the seemingly iron-clad announcement, the band can be expected to appear live at least once more in 2011.
“Wolf Parade’s taking a break, except we are playing Sasquatch in the gorge, so that’s our one show next year,” Boeckner reveals. “I’m making another record with The Handsome Furs. Arlen [Thompson] from Wolf Parade’s producing it again and Howard Bilerman going to work on it. And after this tour’s over, I’m heading to Yugoslavia – or ex-Yugoslavia – with the Furs.”
No stranger to hiatuses, the band took a breather in the late 2000s following the departure of member Hadji Bakara, using the break to determine next steps and to re-establish their focus as a group.
“We kind of had to take a [hiatus previously] because Spencer [Krug] and I recorded [albums] . . . and we had to basically put everything on hold for a year,” Broeckner explains. “We also lost a member at the end of the last tour which was kind of sudden, so we wanted to at least take a year off and just sort of plan out really well what we wanted to do.”
Luckily, following the release of the band’s third full-length record Expo 86, earlier this year, it seems that their tendencies to take time and re-establish their focus have previously yielded positive results, as the primarily live-recorded album received favourable reviews from both critics and listeners and continued to solidify the group as a band true to their DIY ethos and punk rock roots.
“I think Wolf Parade is – in the purest sense – a bunch of dudes getting together to play rock music in the classic garage band [way],” Broeckner shares. “I’ve always thought of Wolf Parade as kind of an artier, fancier garage band. Like a bunch of buddies getting together, having some beers, writing some songs and getting some feelings out. And we sort of accidentally stumbled into touring and getting a moderate level of success, so that’s something we never really planned for this band.”
“We all came out of the hardcore scene, and the idea behind the band was to put as much energy into the live show [as possible] even at the expense of perfection,” he continues. “And I think people picked up on that and continue to come to the shows – because lord knows we haven’t tried very hard to promote the band. We turned down David Letterman three times, we don’t make videos when the record comes out, we don’t generally do a lot of press, and I think it’s just because we have a reputation as being a decent live act that writes pretty good songs.”
Five years since the release of Apologies to Queen Mary, Wolf Parade’s refusal to deign to stagnation is alive and well with the band’s groundbreaking debut having been cited as an integral component to the Canadian music scene; having cemented the group as icons of the Montreal, Canadian and North American musical landscapes.
“I think [Expo 86] reflects mostly just us figuring out,” Broeckner reflects. “It took five years for us to figure out how to record Wolf Parade properly. Not that I dislike the first two records or am dismissive of them, but I just think the way to record this band is live. It just took us a while to figure that out because we were really green when we stared – we’d never been in a studio before.”
“I don’t think I could ever write songs like I wrote on Apologies again, I don’t think I’d even want to,” he adds. “I’m in my early 30s now; I was in my mid-20s then. It’d be like a dog and pony show.”