When I get Bruce Peninsula singer Neil Haverty on the phone, the band is getting bagels and coffee on the road in Newfoundland. After a tumultuous year, the band is back on the road for their first tour in a while, for new album Open Flames, and it sounds so far to be full of a sense of renewal and spirit.
We’ll have more with Haverty on the past year next week, but for now, he gives us his Halifax essentials in our HPX 2011 Questionnaire.
AUX: What would be in your Halifax Pop Explosion survival kit?
Neil Haverty: I don’t know what you call them, but, lobster crackers? You know, the metal things that break open the lobster shells? Yeah, that’s all you need. Maybe some Caesar rim salt. Some Clamato and celery and vodka.
Who or what are you most looking forward to seeing at HPX?
Unfortunately I don’t think we’re going to see much, because we have so many shows next week. But Ivy [Mairi], one of our choir members, is opening the show with her solo project. And I haven’t seen that yet, so I’m excited to see that. And Tamara [Lindeman] is playing across the street with the Weather Station. I’m excited to see them on their own in exotic environments. I’m going to try to squeeze in Rituals and RatTail, who are some friends of ours from Toronto. If I can, I will. It’s hectic!
If you’re familiar with Halifax, what is something you love about it? If you’re not, what is something you’re curious about seeing or learning?
We’ve been a few times now. The diversity of people isn’t something I’d clued into before. But we played with a guy named Nick Everett, who lives in Halifax, and he said ‘Halifax is anything you want it to be, depending on where you put yourself.’ If you wanted to be club-ish, you could. If you wanted to be hippie hacky-sack style, that’s there too. It seems to have every little subsection of people in one relatively small place. It’s weird and maybe dangerous sometimes, but it’s interesting and cool to be around.
Tell us why your show is the show everyone should make sure to see.
We’re nine people. We have strength in numbers. But also, when we play, which you can probably hear in my voice, which I’m losing already, we go as deeply into it as we can. We try and leave everything we’ve got in the club. You’re not going to get half-stepping from us. We’re not going to half-ass it. You’re going to get our whole ass. Bruce Peninsula’s whole ass. Nine whole asses.
Who is your favourite Halifax band/artist, and why?
I have a lot, actually! North of America and the Plan and all the glory days of the math rock scene really come to mind obviously. But I’ll give Nick Everett another shout out, because his set really touched me. But there’s a lot. Back in the early 90s I was all over Halifax. I imagined myself living there. When I was a kid I ran a zine [Elbow Magazine], and we did a road trip to Halifax. Somehow I managed to set up an interview with Mike O’Neill from the Inbreds. And I was like, I can’t believe that Mike O’Neill is not only going to talk to be, but is going to show me around Halifax. I have like 40 pictures of him just walking around with a backpack (laughs). Halifax is very near and dear to me, musically.
What’s happening for the band after HPX?
We were going to go west, but I wanted to see how touring was, as far as my stamina and everything is concerned. We’re playing in Ontario a bit more. There’s a couple of more recorded secrets that we’re going to try to unveil. And who knows what’s going to happen in the New Year. We’re pretty easy going about everything right now.
Bruce Peninsula play Saturday, October 22 at the Bus Stop Theatre, 11:30pm